Who: Doug B.
Where: Cambridge, Massachusetts
When I bought my house, an 1896 worker's cottage, it was in need of a lot of help. In particular, the stairs were a dark, crooked mess. Besides tilting and close to collapse, the staircase was buried under layers of faux paneling. No light reached into the space, and on my first night home alone, a waterfall of rain cascaded down the stairs into a heating duct below. Out came the paneling, the plaster, and the worn rubber treads. A new LVL beam opened up the stairs. A farm jack brought them up to level, and a new post added support. A local carpenter and I used a collection of inexpensive parts to rebuild the stairs together.