easy upgrade custom look boat oar stair rail
Photo: Mark Lohman
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8. Oar Stair Rail

The inspiration: A love of all things nautical
The project: While poking around under their newly acquired bungalow, in Newport Beach, California, Sue and Burr McKeehan found a cache of boat supplies, including an oar so old that it had a leather binding. Burr painted 
the blade nautical red and white and hired a carpenter to hang the oar along a set of steep stairs. The project prompted other seaworthy improvements around the house: Oars now also adorn a guest-room ceiling.
The payoff: A piece of history you get to hold on to
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