Dormer and Staircase: Before and After

Jan 15th, 200915 Comments

A bit later than I hoped, but as promised here’s the before and after photos of our new dormer and staircase. This part of the project was by far the most complex and hard to live through. I almost forgot about those days until I started compiling this set, but now that I remember it is pretty much our one year anniversary of the project start (Jan. 12, 2007)! We’ve come so far!

View the full photo set on my Flickr.

Right away, the roof was ripped off and at the same time the duct work, heating, electrical and plumbing were all being re-routed. We lived through windstorms and rain flooding the staircase, part of the attic, kitchen, basement and the ceiling of the room we were living in. This was to be expected since we started in a bad season, but the lack of central heating and any plumbing for a few weeks was the worst. Our friends loaned us space heaters that we used on the few circuits still intact and we showered every chance we could at the gym, and brushed teeth with bottled water or at work.

Boy, I am so thankful for that to be over and to have a beautiful master suite to wake up in every morning thanks to the access this new dormer gave us. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to make the basement or attic a legal living space because you couldn’t move any furniture up or down the poorly designed original staircase. Walking into the basement before you would hit your head ala Tim Allen on Home Improvement, but worse. Anyways, on to the pictures!

Before: The back side of the house

During: Ripping open the roof

During: Dormer in progress and a brand new roof overall

After: Sided and painted to match the exterior

Before: The staircase inside

During: The staircase all opened up

After: The finished product

After: Going up the stairs

Before: Going up to the attic was tight with a wall barrier in between

After: The new view into the attic/master bedroom. The curved staircase is supported structurally by the half wall in between, otherwise I would’ve preferred a spindled staircase with wood treads. There was no avoiding the structural engineering work necessary to make the stairs legal so we compromised by doing the more modern carpeted staircase

Before: The crawlspace on the right side of the staircase

After: The new landing/nook where the crawlspace used to be

After: Staircase wall and looking up into the dormer

After: Looking down the stairs, salvage door hardware and custom handrail


Next up: The pantry/nook, main floor bathroom and new basement bathroom.

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15 Responses to “Dormer and Staircase: Before and After”

  1. Stephanie says:

    It’s fantastic, Dawn. You should be SO proud! :-)

  2. albmhrk says:

    Beautiful work. You both should be very proud of yourselves. What an inspiration. I have all fir woodwork original to the house (1906 bungalow) and I am very lucky that the living room and dining room have never been painted – it is in excellent shape. I just need to refinish it. What stain colour did you use? I have been having such a problem with paint colours matching and not taking away from the traditional look of the house. The colours you have chosen blend so well with woodwork they compliment each other beautifully. What paint colours did you use in your kitchen/stairwell and master bedroom? Take care and I look forward to seeing how you tackle all that pink!!!!

  3. Dawn says:

    We used Mohogany Minwax Gel Stain with waterbased Satin Verathane Diamond Polyurithane. I would probably do Semi-Gloss if I had to do it again. We did an extra coat of Satin finish (3-4 coats total) to get it perfect, which was easier to obtain with 2-3 coats of Semi-Gloss.

    The color in the kitchen/staircase is Kilz “Kelsey” shade. We used “Mint Tint” in the bedroom. I don’t have the swatch on me, but it was a brand sold at Lowes.

  4. Tommymmy says:

    That is amazing!!! Your house looks great. How much did not dormer cost, if I may ask? We have a dormer on our bungalow, but want to make it bigger. It really looks good.

  5. Dawn says:

    Tommymmy: We did a major renovation that included the attic, basement, dormer and three baths. The cost wasn’t itemized by area, but instead by tasks like framing, plumbing, electrical, insulation, etc.

    Dormers can be reasonable or astronomical depending on your city’s permitting requirements and whether you want to make one so large it would include re-engineering your whole roof. We did the most minimal one we could without reengineering the whole thing. We did spend about $4000 on drafting design and the general required structural engineering work anyway, though . :( It gets pricey.

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