Before & After: Under Stair Storage Redo

Like many other small space dwellers, we have almost no closet or storage space in my home. The tenants before us took the first step to maximize the dead space under the stairs by removing a partition wall to open up the area, and installed a drop down hatch under the stair. Unfortunately they didn't install a railing and instead only those awkward, sharp rectangular boxes — after several falls down the stairs it was painfully obvious something needed to change!

I'm sure there are people who prefer the 'before' design, and we really did appreciate the previous tenant's efforts, but it wasn't really our style, and wasn't functioning well. The exterior grade painted treads were really slippery, and without a railing to grab on to, we'd tumble down into the edges of those sharp boxes. So we ran with the original concept, but totally overhauled the implementation:

• Replaced painted plywood treads with stained oak
• Boxes and out-of-scale newel post were replaced with new railing and handrail using scrap wood
• Structural post was recovered with finish-grade stained wood
• Drop-down hatch was replaced with better functioning, and more discreet doors
• Reinstalled some old hooks and a closet rod to hang out of season coats

We could've gone really fancy and further customized the storage, but we wanted to keep the space flexible for our constantly changing storage needs. For us, refinishing the under stair storage was a much needed improvement on an already good concept.

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(Images: Rachel Wray Thompson)