Archive for the ‘ interior design ’ Category

This is a 6″ newel that we made for a customer on the East Coast.  The home owner  had an older newel that he really liked and asked if we could reproduce.  The difficulty on making an exact reproduction of any large piece is in either having it shipped to my shop in South Louisiana or in some cases removing it from a finished stairway.  Such was the issue here. The best that could be done was to take a good resolution picture and email it to me.  So after the picture arrived I made a rendering using Google Sketchup.  The original image is below with the model and changes desired by the home owner.

original image and my first model

original image and my first model


And finally the finished soft maple newel.  The cap was provided by the home owner.

Soft Maple Newel

The lighthouse newel for this project was similar to a newel that we made for a customer in North Carolina. This particular stairway went to a customer in South Florida. The architect wanted to match the balusters to the newel so we created a simple taper with matching beads top and bottom.

lighthouse stairs

The wood paneling on the walls is salvaged heart pine as well as the stair treads. The stair handrail, however, is mahogany. We turned the balusters and newels from poplar.

lighthouse stairs

The challenge for the installer was to “cope” the handrail fitting unto the radiused newel (not shown). Most handrails attach into a “flat” on the newel or over the top in the case of an over the post newel. This one, however, attached to the round part of the newel.

Other images of the balusters and newels can be seen here: Lighthouse newels and balusters

These marching newels and balusters went to a home in Key West, FL. Because Key West is a coastal city, the architect wanted to use a maritime design for the stairway. We had designed a lighthouse newel once before for a customer in NC and turned this one in a similar pattern. The balusters were designed to pick up the same lines as the newel. The handrail and fittings are in mahogany. This should make for a very fine staircase.

lighthouse newels unprimed poplar

lighthouse balusters

primed lighthouse newels

By the way, the large newel measures 9 inches wide by four foot 10 inches.  The smaller newels are 4 3/4″ and 5 1/2″ wide.

poplar rope moldings

alder rope moldings

These 4 inch wide rope moldings were made for a customer in CA.  The images are taken of the three footer and the  eight footer.  There was also a 6 footer and 4 footer.  The longer molding was made in poplar to be painted.  The shorter piece was from alder.  To make these the two halves were glued with news paper between.  After the pieces were turned and roped one simply has to use a hammer and chisel to split them with little trouble.  Presumably these will be used to apply to cabinet fronts.  Should look great.

Barley Twisted Table Legs

Pictured above are four barley twisted table legs turned for a customer in Florida.  They measure 3 1/2″ wide and 30 inches high.  Normally table legs are made 29 inches in high to produce a 30 inch overall high with  the table top thickness of one inch.  But my customer needed the extra inch to make a wider apron (the horizontal member that connects the legs and supports the table top).

For a table with a 30 inch height normally you would not have less than 24 inches from the apron to the floor for knee space though most would probably consider 24 inches a tight squeeze.

One of the realities about the footprint of any staircase design is that it takes up a lot of space.  One of the solutions to this reality is to incorporate usable storage beneath the stairs.  The has an article on making this possible.  The image they they have used is reason enough to go there to read the article.  One of the first projects I ever worked on was to add a drawer system into the space under a stairway.  You’ll find some practical ways to do this yourself or hire someone else to do it here: Stair Storage

If you are really into stair design and stair ideas like I am you will get a “fix” on your addition at This site is about architecture and design but has quite a huge number of posts related to stairs. Most of the stair posts, I should add, are “modern” in style and will turn traditionalist off. But even traditionalist should come away with a few clever ideas that will work into the traditionalist mind set. You can see their site here:

Hooked on Houses has a posted an interesting set of stairway possibilities.  These “possibilities” are not for the faint of heart but may give you some creative ides on finishing your staircase.  The finishing ideas are not ,in fact, painted but peel and stick paper that can be easily removed and changed to a different pattern.  You can view the images at their blog and the peel and stick material at

In my search for some of the better interior design blogs (yes, I love to read what others are saying) on the internet I came across They have compiled their list of the 25 of the best interior design and furniture blogs out there. I was familiar with, and but had not ever visited the others. I you have an interest in design trends, design ideas, where to buy or just inspiration you’ll do yourself a favor by visiting Padstyle

I received a request to make these poplar balusters by a customer in South Alabama. His wife had a liking to an image in a Pottery Barn catalog. I did my best to replicate these from that catalog image. They are, of course, an alternating series. They measured 3 inches at the squares.

Alternating Poplar Balusters

Alternating Poplar Balusters