Fool for France

Attic Stairs

That’s enough depressing stuff for now. There will be plenty more to come. Let’s take a break. Let me show you something that I hope will give you an idea of why I got myself into this.

This is the upstairs landing, showing the stairs to the attic. Notice the light coming from below? Notice that they have walled off the access to above, so it’s relatively dark there? I’m sure that was for climate control but it looks dreadful. My plan is to rip out the walls and that green door. (Green Door, really: for San Franciscans of a certain age, depending on your interests in such matters, this either definitely goes or definitely stays. In my house, it goes.) This will leave a fairly nice staircase leading to the attic. We will insulate the attic and put a skylight over these stairs. This house has big windows anyway, so we don’t need a light well, but I think the visual effect will be quite nice.

Can you see the cracks in the ceiling? It is possible that this indicates structural damage, but I don’t think so. When you walk on the attic floor, it is solid. I think those are expansion cracks. There is significant heat gain at the roof. Of course when we insulate, that won’t be an issue, so I expect that the cracks will not return.

And then? My plan, of course, is to become the crazy lady who lives in the attic; Jacques is even learning how to get his stubby little legs to climb the stairs. This floor will be an office for me, guest rooms for you. One of you may have to share your room with a piano — not until my funding recovers, of course.

6 Replies to “Attic Stairs”

  1. I don’t know the meaning of a green door. The wood floors look good. Is there a nice view from the attic.


    1. What? Are you too young to remember the Mitchell Brothers? They made porn movies until one of them was shot dead one day. The best known of them was thing starring Marilyn Chambers, called “Behind the Green Door.” That’s all I know about it. I can’t tell you what was behind the door or what Marilyn got up to. But back when people had to go to a theater to see porn, that movie was a big deal.

      There is, get this, no view from the attic. The reason is that there are no windows. My architect is negotiating with the powers that be to allow us to put in a couple of dormer windows up there. If we get our permit, which I think is likely, I’ll be able to report on the view.

      On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 8:33 PM, French Country wrote:



  2. Sounds good to me
    I can see that you have the bones of a great house-nice stair rails too!

    You can always find features to add, and why not? only you will know that they didn’t come included with house!
    I am working on that basis, although the two buildings that make up our house have very old bones, it wasn’t a house until the 19th century

    Believe me., even a small project like ours is hard work, you are very brave and intrepid- bonne chance and bon courage!


    1. Thanks. I love the stair rails. One day I should print a photo of some of the details.

      I think I’ll be taking lots of liberties with the original. I have always liked that old SCA joke: “If Queen Elizabeth had known about zippers, she’d have used them.” So while I want every new thing in the house to be compatible with the original building fabric, I want it to work in contemporary life as well. Keeping that balance will be an interesting challenge. Plus, as you know, in addition to bon chance and bon courage, I’ll be needing beaucoup de fric. We’ll see how it goes.


      1. Yes I want that balance of original and contemporary and convenient too, tricky.
        I read somewhere year ago that whatever you pay for a renovation project property, you spend again on work. That doesn’t make sense from a logical perspective but we will have spent the purchase price (with notaire’s fees) of the village house almost to the penny- spooky .


  3. No question I’ll spend the purchase price on renovation but that was the plan. I wanted the house but not the tacky “improvements” that one so often finds in these houses. I feel lucky to have found a place that was just what I had in mind.

    If I were doing this for profit I would look for something that just needed some cosmetic work. Those can be found, too. There, of course, you freshen the finishes and put the place back on the market, ideally within a couple of months. Fast and cheap, just what my Lutheran school education taught me not to be.

    Liked by 1 person

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