A Construction of Convenience

Posted by Nick  | 17 Dec 2014  | 2 comments

The main entrance to our cottage is located up a ramp on the side of the building. So whenever we want to go to the garden, laundry, or tool shed (located on the other side), we have to take an inconvenient and indirect route around the house. It can be a little annoying because we’re always having to pop back inside to fetch, say, a drink bottle or a hat, or take a mid-morning poo.

There’s a small deck on the north… Now wouldn’t it have been smart to include some stairs there?

So, one afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I decided to build some.

In the above picture you can see the small deck on the north of the cottage. You can also see the cloak room attachment on the right, which has the main entry on the south. Doesn’t seem like too much of a hassle, but when all your activities are undertaken on the other side of the house, it can become a little tedious going back and forth.

Luckily, thanks to the supply of wood left from the previous owner, I was able to scavenge decent scraps for what I needed to build some simple stairs. I had a rudimentary plan in my head, and was confident I could pull it all together on the go. The first step was pencilling the forty-five degree cuts in the supports.

I then took a skill saw to it. Mmm, don’t you love the smell of sawn macrocarpa?

I used the first one as a template and made a second.

I dug a post into the ground and tamped it firm, then nailed on the first support.

Before putting on the second, I made sure to cut five equal lengths of the correct dimensions for the steps. They’re old and rough but solid, and will come away with a good sanding.

After taking some measurements and fluffing around with a cumbersome drainage pipe, I dug the second post in and nailed on the second support. Then came the easy part of biffing on the steps.

I called it a day at this point and beckoned Char to come see. She’d had no idea what I’d been up to, as I’d wanted to surprise her. I was a little nervous, because I had made a structural change without first consulting the Woman of the House. Lucky for me, she was impressed by my work and excited at being able to access the yard more easily.

The next afternoon I set out to add a railing for safety and support. I made measured cuts into the steps to secure the railing post.

Yus, it fits!

I then counter-sunk some long screws to secure the post.

I hurt my brain trying to get the angles right for the railings, but I came out on top in the end.

All it needs now is a bit of a sand to smooth those hard edges and faces. I was surprised at how easy this little project was – I expected to run into more trouble considering I hadn’t made a proper plan, let alone ever built stairs before. It’s super solid, and although forty-five degrees is a tad steep for stairs, it’ll do the trick for now. It is a temporary solution, after all, until we renovate for real. I look forward to doing it all properly in the future and getting my build on!

Since the creation of this construction of convenience, we’ve rarely used the main entrance. The porch slider is preferred ninety-percent of the time because of the stairs now; the main entrance only ever being used to fetch gumboots. It’s great, because it means we’re more inclined to just pop out to visit the garden or chuck on another load of washing. It’s funny how such a small convenience can impact your motivation like that.

2 comments Leave a comment

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Awesome man! The builders intuition force is strong in this one.


Haha, thanks bud 🙂

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