back/servant stairs/front balcony

terryrJanuary 15, 2006

Hi everyone,

I've sat here typing, retyping, to make it understandable what my back stair case looks like when you walk up them. I'll give it another try...upstairs is a hole in the floor, with the staircase in the hole. This "hole" is approximatly 6 ft. long and 4 ft. wide. At one time, there would have been hand railings going around the "hole" upstairs as to not fall down into the stairs. Downstairs, is just a typical doorway, with the stairs there. I was wondering if people had any pictures of what the upstairs part looks like, intact. Fancy handrailing or ?? The floor upstairs was covered over and in the kitchen, drywall covered the opening. It's now just an area, not really a room where the staircase is. It's at the rear of the house, at the end of the hallway and beside the bathroom. I don't know how to explain it!

In the front, upstairs, is a door. Opening the door, you go onto a little balcony. Neighbors (wife grew up in the home her and her husband live in) told me the PO redid the roof on the porch. It used to be octanganol, with most of octaganol part being the balcony. I would like to put the roof, the porch roof, back to how it was. I've searched, but the only thing I found similar, had the octaganol part on the front porch also. Mine doesn't or isn't like that. As it is right now, the balcony is only 3 ft. deep, with a partial wall top and bottom. Neither wall is supposed to be there. She made what was an octaganol roof into a peak. The peak now blocks off seeing the balcony from the street. I don't see another house in town that looks anything like this. Can anybody direct me to porch roofs with balconies? Or does anyone have an old house with a balcony like this? The octaganol part would have only been about 1/3 of the whole porch roof.

I hope I'm understood.....if not, just let me know and I'll try and clarify it better.

Oh, and the house was built in 1896.



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The kind of railing that surrounded the backstairs opening would be simpler in design than the front or main stair railing. It would most likely be either plain turned spindles or even just squared off posts. I've seen examples of staircases where the spindles just suddenly changed as if they had passed some invisible line...sort of....this is the primary portion of the house, this is the secondary portion and it really doesn't matter what the spindles look like.
Funny, I was just now reading a book from 1875 in which the question came up, should we box in the back stairs from the kitchen or leave them open? and the pros and cons of either solution.
It would help a lot if you could post a picture of the roof/balcony. I can't quite visualize what you have. If a saw a picture, I might recall seeing something that could be similar to the original setup.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 7:03PM
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Front of the house, the lowest peak is where it was changed.

and here's the side, you can see the boxy thing that is now the balcony.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 6:01PM
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    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 7:35PM
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Can we assume that the small balcony was originally several feet deeper, partially under the roof overhang and partially open, sort of deck-like?
Offhand, I can't recall seeing a configuration like that without a corresponding octaganal shaped porch area underneath. I'll keep it in mind in case I happen to run across one, though.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 8:11PM
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Have you tried to find pictures - historical society, newspaper, old arial tax maps, etc.

Looks like PO thought the gable on the porch would match but it's a different angle.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 9:25PM
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kennebunker, yes, it would have been a lot deeper. The neighbor couldn't remember if there was some sort of railing around it or not. I agree with the porch being the same, but according to people on the street who've lived here a long time, it's always been as it is. She did have it rebuilt, but rebuilt as it was. Except for the porch roof.

glassquilt, yes, I've been all over this little town looking for anything. There is nothing. Their is no arial tax maps...they only did those for farms, historical society is housed in the library and there is nothing. The way I understand it, the PO did it this way to save herself some money. I haven't gotten the abstract for it yet, that's my next stop. I asked the PO if she had any pics of the house before siding, before new windows, before she changed the porch roof, she claims not.

On another note....the baby blue siding the PO put up there. Why would anyone do that? Neighbors say it's the scallopy type siding under....we get a new roof next spring (had hail), so while they're here, I'm having that removed. Even the foundation was baby blue!


    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 9:51PM
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I'm not sure if you are still interested in a picture I have a similar setup but the stairs go to the upstairs inside the house.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 3:33AM
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