Restoration and Reproduction

Designed Stairs' Unique Combination of Craft and Technology

The art of stair building can be traced back to 6000 BC. To this day, staircases are frequently the main focal point of a home's interior and an artistic expression of the owners' taste.

Because historic staircases are a part of our heritage, we respectfully consider all possibilities for maintaining, restoring, or reproducing each part of the project.

Designed Stairs craftsmen are proficient with historic hand tool techniques, capable of producing any detail from the past. By using our CNC technology, we are able to efficiently produce custom parts with amazing speed and accuracy. Our CNC lathe can economically produce vintage balusters and newels that perfectly match the originals.

Due to our "full spectrum" approach to woodworking technology, we are able to replace, partially replace, or reproduce any staircase design.

Restoration

The first step toward your staircase restoration will be an inspection and assessment of your historic staircase. We will then recommend the processes required to return your stair's original beauty and structural integrity. Some projects can be disassembled and rebuilt with modern wood adhesives and some replacement parts, while others may require complete replacement. Some of these decisions are made on the importance of keeping the original parts versus the cost of replacing them.

Abraham Hoffman Home (1870s)

Originally built in the 1870s as the Abraham Hoffman Estate, Cook County's Trailside Museum provided a challenging staircase restoration. Read more …Major pieces of the staircase had rotted over the years and become unstable. Every piece of the staircase was measured and photographed before being completely disassembled and brought in to our shop for evaluation. It was determined that the entire staircase would have to be rebuilt, while the newel and balustrade could be restored. While the staircase was being re-built from scratch, the balustrade components had the old varnish and finishes professionally removed. The original balustrade was then refit to the new staircase and reinstalled into the exact position in the house. The staircase was so closely rebuilt to the original that very few people are aware that any work was done.

Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Trailside Museum
738 Thatcher Avenue
River Forest, Illinois

Read less …

Wilder Mansion (1868)

The Wilder Mansion in Elmhurst, Illinois was built in 1868 and featured a "continuous rail" design without the use of newels. Read more …Over the years the rail became unstable. Due to the high traffic within the mansion, the loose railing was a concern. After having several other stair companies try and fail at their attempts to strengthen the railing system, Designed Stairs, Inc. was called. Designed Stairs, Inc. designed newels for the system and placed them where existing balusters could be removed. Once the structural newels were installed and several joints in the rail were repaired, the entire balustrade was finally solid.
Read less …

Orleans (1874)

Our customer needed the historic railings raised to meet modern code requirements and the staircases re-enforced structurally. Read more …Designed Stairs raised the railings, produced new balusters, extended the historic newels and strengthened the original staircase. All of the work is practically undetectable and the history of the foyer was preserved.
Read less …

Colby Mansion (1900)

The lower section of this historic home had dilapidated and become dangerous. Designed Stairs was able to dismantle and rebuildRead more …the lower section without moving the original rail system. The balustrade was then anchored to the new stair section, greatly improving the rail stability.
Read less …

Reproduction

When a staircase requires a complete replacement we can build a new reproduction to the exact specification of the original, or offer you cost-effective alternatives to build a similar staircase. We have also built new staircases to match historic stairs.

Goldstein Mansion (1920's Era)

Our customer designed and built a new home that appears in every detail to be a 1920s vintage mansion, from hardware to lighting fixtures accurate for the time. Our task was to build a staircase from historic drawings that included an intricate, handmade turnout for the balustrade.

Handcarving

A historic Chicago area home was being remodeled with the addition of a new staircase. In order to match the existing staircase, Designed Stairs was hired to reproduce the hand-carved mahogany newel posts. Once finished, it was virtually impossible to discern the reproduction from the original.

Period Detail

Another historic home from the early 1900s had been built with an elaborately decorated oak balustrade. The home was expanded and additional stair and rail work were needed. Designed Stairs meticulously measured the existing work, reproduced it with our CAD drawings, and built the additional balustrade with detail that the original craftsmen would be proud of.