If I had a giant eraser, I’d rub out the stairs in our house. But, of course, there’d be no way to get to the second story. The problem lies with how steep and narrow the stairs are.

Just after my hip operation, climbing those stairs was like climbing a mountain. And while it’s better now, it’s placed a big question mark on our future ability to stay in the house.

To improve the access to the second floor, the stairs would need to start on the front porch. That would lower their pitch. Not a great idea. So I began to think of other approaches.

All of these have been considered:

  • Gutting the house.
  • Eliminating the small kitchen bathroom to put in a lift.
  • Widening them so that a stair lift can go in.

All have significant issues fitting into the narrow nature of the century-plus-old house.

I am thankful to my hip for alerting me to this issue while I still have time to think about it. But unfortunately, there will be no spontaneous or instantaneous solutions. 

A few nights ago, I had a “thinking outside the box” sort of dream on the issue. I had rigged up a kind of ski lift device that lifted me to the second floor; then I created an outside glassed-in elevator, the sort you see in the movies. The view of my garden was lovely from the glassed-in splendor of the elevator.

I am sure I am not the only one with these issues; if you have any suggestions, let me know. 

8 Replies to “Stairs”

  1. I’ve no suggestions (our own house is 90 this month). Gutting the house seems so drastic! Husband is iffy on stairs, so he’s now in the small first floor bedroom. He removed the utility closet in this floor’s 1/2-bathroom and installed a raaather narrow shower (it hardly affected existing plumbing and did not affect toilet, heater, nor even 2 windows). I’m moving from the living room to an upstairs room asap (in only weeks, I hope), and would hate to have to come back down here permanently someday, so I’m hoping there’s a chair lift for narrow stairs, if needed! If not, I’ll create a room within a room–with a wall or two.

    1. I looked into the reliability of lifts, and found that there were two issues,availability of parts, and the reliability of the installers to actually show up and do the repairs. Being that once you depend upon these things it’s sort of mission critical reliability is a big issue.
      Moving may eventually become an option. I’d lose my shops, office and garden, but sometimes hard choices are necessary.

      1. Idk if this helps, but bobvila (dot) com (slash) angi-review says Angi is specific need search-friendly by zip code (offering local customer reviews) and seems fairly well worth looking into.

  2. My friend and I were discussing steps vs stairs yesterday in our house and other aging people we know. I for one never liked stairs way before I had a back injury that affects mobility. Thank goodness dwelling has no stairs.

    As for people I know that are having this challenge, they moved to a place with no stairs. Selling their abode.

  3. Just had the contractor in to estimate the rehab on the back downstairs room. If worse comes to worse that can become the new bedroom – with access to the carving shop and garden. You can see where my priorities are.

  4. All a friend of mine ever wanted was a house on the water so she and husband bought one. It wasn’t until one of her three big dogs had to be carried up and down the outside steps that she counted them–17 steps! They did some remodel and sold the house during the Covid housing surge. They now live on about 5 acres with a house with no steps. No more moves for them. It can be a tough consideration.

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