refinished Craftsman staircase
Photo: Gene Pollux
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The Staircase

The staircase just needed to be cleaned with denatured alcohol and waxed. You can tell that the carpenter saved all the best pieces for it and cut each one by hand.

Remodeling the rest of the house was more involved. It needed all new systems: plumbing, air-conditioning, heat, and electrical, all of which I subbed out. We also had to put on a new asphalt roof. There had been some water damage to the southern-pine floors, but the last thing I wanted was shiny new ones. So I patched the really bad spots and sanded and coated all the boards with a tung-oil finish. The floors have character, to say the least.

What Judy loved most about the house when we first saw it was that it had every one of its 44 original Craftsman-style four-over-one windows. So she made it her project to restore them. It took four months, but she took each one of the sash out of its cypress frame, removed the glass, then stripped, reglazed, and repainted. I ran all new sash cord and, in some cases, rebuilt the frames. It seemed like it would never end.
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