Roe Osborn

We renovate kitchens quite often, but I've rarely seen a renovation as dramatic—and yet as simple—as one that we completed recently. The key to the renovation was relocating the basement stairs. The house was originally built with the stairs to the basement and the stairs to the second floor in two completely different locations, most likely to provide a more direct route from a nearby breezeway door to the basement. The basement stairwell interrupted traffic flow to the front door and turned the kitchen, dining room, and living room into spaces that felt cramped. Stacking the two staircases allowed us to open up the entire space while creating a roomy kitchen.

In the original floor plan, a hallway ran behind the kitchen to access the basement stairs. A truss roof directly above that section of the house meant that the interior partitions were non-structural, so first we removed the walls that separated the hallway and kitchen. Then we tore out the chaseway walls, exposing the stair hole while leaving...

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