Remove That Railing! ~ Making A Home Appear Bigger

Neighbor C has what we call “off-site storage” for all her power tools and table saws and she wanted a home improvement project done in her house. Silly girl came to me for help (mostly because that “off-side storage” means she doesn’t own tools but we do and her dad does).

We both live in a circa-1980s two story house with a sunken family room. The family room and dining area are separated by an outdated wood railing, breaking up the entire area. With that railing up, we’re only given four feet to enter the family room. What if I had a tray of snacks that didn’t fit through?

We took ours out years ago and Neighbor C was getting jealous. So I said I’d come help as long as Max was there to assist. You’ve met Max. He’s the world’s cutest dog and we rent him a lot.

Yep, that’s me starting demolition.

We employed the ‘any means necessary’ to get the railing out. This is me using an oscillating saw. It was loud and messy and started smoking a few times. We scared Max so he had to be held.

Remember the ‘any means necessary?’ We couldn’t get the post leveled so ended up just destroying it to get it where we wanted. This here is Maxwell the Supervising Eight-Pound Ball of Fluff sniffing out the demo progress.

The way this project went down was to demo first, plan for pretty after. In hindsight things could have gone a little different had we thought it through but we got ‘er done. We were up against a tile floor that was now significantly higher than the stripped down ledge of the step and had to fill space while also covering our spacers. We needed the lip of a stair tread to cover things up. We needed it a certain width. We didn’t have a table saw.

Enter Bob.

He wasn’t ever part of this project but we needed him to rip the treads on his table saw. Taking several attempts at measurements, this was the shopping list for Bob. Note up the right side we actually just wrote, “Dear Bob: Cut. Thanks.”

Miraculously Bob figured out our chicken scratches. We used parts from the treads to fill in the space between step and tile. After having everything measured fourteen times, written down as per above, and assured Neighbor C I [basically] knew what I was doing, she started measuring again.

“I’ve read your blog. I’m measuring again.” Touch√©.

Since this part got covered by the final treads, I used screws all over the place to make sure it’d stay put.

Viola! Ripped stair treads are now attached to the step and a “T” transition piece was used to cover the change from tile to wood.


The room is so much more open now, not having that railing breaking up the visual expanse.

And I’m certain little Max loves the ability to take that step anywhere he pleases, with or without a tray of snacks.