One of the long term goals we had for this house – we’re going back to 2013 now – was to add interior attic access. At the time, we only had a horrific exterior staircase to gain entrance, but now? Attic Access! Inside!
The attic, aside from housing the new furnace for our second floor, is mostly empty. Scary, but empty. We have a few bins for our holiday decor, some college-day art projects (I was into big art back in the day; nothing could ever be simple for me – what else is new?), my wedding dress(!) and old yearbooks. We purchased this aluminum attic ladder, and although we toyed with the idea of installing it ourselves, our contractors (who would be demolishing the exterior stairs – more on that in a minute!) cut us a deal that would save us the time and energy. Done.
Installed at the top of our second floor landing, we decided it was the least offensive spot in our home. It leads to the front half of the attic, which is the most open for our stuff, and eventually, we’d like to add shelving up there for a bit of organization. The problem? Once our contractor was complete with his part of the job, it wasn’t very pretty.
We remedied that pretty quickly with thin pine lattice, caulk, spackle and paint! Scott made simple mitered corners with the lattice, using our nail gun to secure it around the perimeter of the door. I followed that up with a line of caulk, spackle for the nail holes, two thin coats of primer (this water-based Zinsser is our favorite) and two coats of regular ol’ ceiling paint.
For the finishing step, we replaced the cloth cord for a simple white pull:
Two days a year – you know, taking down the Christmas tree and then putting it back – the pull will make it a little less easy to open the attic door (we’ll need to get a step stool to pull it down), but for the other 363 days a year, it’s practically invisible! Worth it. The ladder can safely extend with enough room at the bottom to maneuver our bins, but that said, we agreed that attic duty will always be a two person job. One of us on the ladder, the other to spot.
So, let’s go back to why we needed interior access in the first place! There’s a reason why our backyard never, ever makes an appearance on the blog. For one, we’ve paid it absolutely no attention since the day we moved in – three years ago. More or less, it has acted as a giant puppy potty. And two, there is – um, was? – an unsafe behemoth of a staircase. Because our home was initially separated into two apartments, the stairs acted as a back fire escape from the first and second floor apartments, and all the way at the top was the scary attic door:
If you’ve been with us for a while, you know that we’ve slowly been turning our two-flat into a single family home. We nixed the second floor back door for a wall of windows (what was once a kitchen is now our master bedroom!), and with our freshly installed interior attic access, it was finally time to take down the deteriorating staircase! On a related side note, afterwards, we picked up this safety ladder.
We had been waiting for Operation-Tear-Down-the-Stairs for so, so long, and a small team of three men had it down and hauled away in 4 hours. 4 hours! Despite the backside of our house going from horrible to slightly-less-horrible, we are enjoying the massive amount of light streaming through our windows. The backyard is still very far from pretty, but we’ve completed a massive first step in the right direction. We’ve been working with a local steel fabricator on a new staircase that will lead into our yard, and we have countless paper scraps and napkins with makeshift plans-to-be. We’re in the early stages, but every day brings new challenges – siding repair and/or replacement, for one! – and new ideas. We are excited, overwhelmed and hopeful. Right now, we’re taking this one day at a time.
We’ve been pinning our backyard ideas on this board, although it’s too soon to tell how far we’ll get this year. In our minds, we’ll be done with everything by October. Reality will likely have a different idea, so we’re promising each other to take it in stride. (I say with hesitation!)