Restoring the original staircase was one of the more drawn-out jobs. To allow for a private entrance to the second-floor apartment, previous owners had taken out the bottom three steps and shoved them beneath the staircase to make the stairs go straight. Then they cut a second entrance into the front wall. One of the first things we did was close up that wall and retrieve the hidden steps. Matt replicated the landing, railing, and treads out of oak. The job would have taken about a month to do, but since we knew we'd be carrying heavy stuff up and down, we decided to live with plywood treads and rails during construction—which ended up taking two-and-a-half years. It was the first project we started and the last one we finished.