The new custom fabricated sleeping loft railing is in! And it has a gate that latches! And it’s paired with new handrails on the retractable ladder! And it’s all safe and sturdy and beautiful! If it’s not immediately apparent, we’re thrilled with the work of the company that we contracted. (In or around southwest Michigan? We worked with Ken out of St. Joseph, MI.)
We’ve been working toward a vibe that is both modern and relaxed for our little Tree House fixer-upper, and we’ve (very) slowly but surely been dialing in the details to bring that vision to life. After a year and a half in the space, we finally decided that the wobbly old log railing had to go. We tried to love it, but it always felt a little… forced? Rustic? Plus, it wasn’t the sturdiest structure on the planet – not even close! – and it always felt just a little too low to be safe. After researching fabricators in the area, we found Ken and felt at ease with him immediately. We had a lot of ideas for how we wanted it to look, borrowing a big chunk of design inspiration from our friends Chris and Julia, as well as Simply Simple’s modern farmhouse railing. He seemed genuinely excited to take on this project, which is always a good sign!
May I jog your memory?
And now we’ve got this sleek, sturdy masterpiece!
The new railing is almost 4″ taller than the structure it replaced, and it’s sturdier and safer with an integrated gate that can be latched to remain either open or closed. To keep the gate open, a small notched tab flips over the top of a threaded bolt that is inserted into the vertical framework of the railing:
The integrated ‘bullet’ hinges are simple, understated works of art. Much like the rest of the metalwork, they’re powdercoated in a matte black finish and also feature a small brass washer between the top and bottom hinge portion. The design is simple and clean and the gate just plain feels nice to open and close.
The baseplates of the railing cover the gaps in the floorboards where the old log railings were mounted. If you’d never seen the ‘before’ photos, you’d never realize this design wasn’t original! We’ve got a bit of wood trim work to finish up between the flooring and the lower face of the railing (as well as a few small areas of floorboards to restain), but it should be a pretty straightforward process.
The winch-operated loft ladder also got an upgrade in the form of a pair of sturdy custom handrails that allow for a continuous handhold all the way up to the loft. Finally! Medium-toned wood and matte black metal have become a running theme in the home’s design, and this image shows how well the new railing and handrails play off of the existing bed frame, door hardware, and counter stools.
At some point during the design process, Ken added the vertical grab handles to the inside of each gate section, and we were blown away by the simple functionality of the design. After using them countless times over the course of a long weekend, we couldn’t believe that we ever lived without them. They inspire confidence when making the transition from the top step of the ladder to the flooring surface of the loft, and they also help to narrow the gap between railing sections.
Below, you can see the tab that latches the gate closed is just visible from the outside. This allows a person entering the loft space to operate the latch easily without having to reach over the railing from the small platform at the top of the ladder. It’s all these small details that make the design so intuitive, which, isn’t that the whole goal of a great design? Psst: There’s a wallpaper sneak peek in these photos, but more on that project shortly!
Ken knocked this project out of the park, helping us to achieve all of our goals for the new railing and handrails. It’s sturdier, safer, and fits much better with the overall aesthetic we’ve been working towards. During our last visit, we read books and played with Lucy in the loft without the need to block off the stairs with a big basket or plywood panel. It was a big relief to be able to enjoy low-key family time without constant worry.
We’ll be calling the loft ‘done’ shortly, so be sure to keep an eye peeled for the big wallpaper reveal!