Dreaming of a stairway to heaven

Our story so far: During demolition, Tyler revealed the choir loft on the second floor of the 126-year-old Methodist church we were converting our home, and he suggested we extend the balcony into the main sanctuary, our future great room.

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But the grand expansion of the second floor wasn’t in the Tequila Budget. We’d be adding square footage that needed to be built, carpeted and railed. We also toyed with the idea of adding a second, more decorative stairway to the second floor. (Technically, we already two stairways to the second floor—an interior enclosed wooden stairway and an exterior metal fire escape. The fire escape, an eyesore not required if the church were residential, would be removed and sold at a future date.)

And naturally, our taste ran toward the expensive.

The next day, Tyler made an early morning stop at a nearby spiral stairway manufacturer. They’d been making custom stairs and rails for nearly seventy years, right in our village, only blocks from the church.

spiral staircase
Spiral stairways on display outside at a nearby manufacturer.

On display, both inside and out, were a number of functioning spiral stairways to show off different spiral widths, spindles, treads and handrails. As you might imagine, a spiral stairway is a custom project that is designed to an exact height. One does not pick a stairway off of a big-box shelf and install with an Allen wrench. Besides the height, one can choose the materials, all the decorative elements and which way the stairs will run, clockwise or counterclockwise. Immediately, our creative juices were flowing. And as long as we’re building a spiral staircase, why not also order a wrought iron balcony railing, right?

Being custom, neither of these design features would come cheap.

Since we were still in the middle of demolition and the spiral staircase manufacturer had been making stairways for the better part of a century, it was safe to take the wait-and-see approach to the staircase and railing. They weren’t going anywhere, and neither were we.

But it was fun to dream.

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Tomorrow: We’re reminded our church was built before the Wright Brothers learned to fly.

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