Chapter 93: Stairway to Heaven

January 5, 2019 • Written by Christina Berry

Next up, we needed to make the balcony and stairs a little bit safer with a railing. We reached out to our friend Andrew Miller, who does some really great ornamental welding, and he got started right away.

As I mentioned before, the inspiration for our yard and the new building is New Orleans, French Quarter courtyard, and one of the main features of this architectural style is all those lovely balconies and galleries with ornate iron railings.

Well, we definitely have a lot of balconies and railings.

And obviously, we had to do something pretty special for our balcony railings, right? I mean, we’re not going for all that frilly fleur-de-lis fru-fru stuff, but we did want something unique and standout.

So, when we talked to Andrew about it, he came up with some ideas and suggestions for materials. And that’s how we found these railing pickets with badass circles and loops, and totally fell in love.

Then we worked out a pattern with Andrew, and he got busy welding it all together.


Another detail we worked out with Andrew was the riser design for the stairs. We decided to do a perforated metal style, aka more circles. Love it!

Especially love the design during sunsets when the western light comes through just right. So hawt!

Hey look, it’s Sarah! She came out for a few days to help with the risers, grinding down the edges.

Another feature is a small balcony that sits just above the stairs for the front french doors. Here are the corbels to hold up the weight. More circles, pretty!

Then Andrew built a tray for the balcony to rest in. Errek painted it black. By the way, all of this railing will eventually be black. The rust color is just a primer coat to prevent rusting.

Then a little grate to sit in the black tray.

The railing for this tiny balcony is on hold. We have to get the window trim up first, and remember we’re waiting and waiting and waiting for those windows.

In the meantime, it was time for the pièce de résistance of our railing design, the spiral staircase which will lead up to the rooftop deck. Andrew hired this out to a guy who specializes in spirals, using the same railing design we’d chosen.

Then he recruited help from the regulars at The Lost Well (our local watering hole) to get it out to the site and then up into place. Gotta love those Lost Well regulars, it was wonderful to have help from so many familiar faces.

Tim, Andy and Daniel helped Andrew to get it out to our house.

Oh my god, I love it! I love it!

Then a few days later Courtney, Aaron, Cary, and Steve helped Andrew and Errek lift it into place. That was not an easy thing. The stairs came in two pieces which each weighed about a million pounds and were super unruly to carry. So many cuss words and near death experiences.


For the top half of the stairs, they used the material lifter that the steel guys left in our yard for a while for no discernible reason.



Then they lugged the material lifter upstairs in order to fit it onto the bottom half of the spiral.

Then Andrew welded the two pieces together. Lookin’ good!

And of course, the first thing we did was have a happy hour on the roof where we didn’t have to climb a ladder.

You guys! It’s a work of art. I love it so much.

Next up, some decking to float over the roofs!