The basement appears to be the flavor of the month – let’s stick with it for a little longer. How many staircases do you need to go into a basement?

Well, we currently have three ways to get downstairs. There is a staircase directly connecting the first floor unit to the basement. There is also a ‘front door’ to the basement [LINK – Basement front door] and a rear exit through the back porch.

That back porch is in bad shape and we plan on rebuilding it. This gives us the opportunity to improve the staircase layout as such that the first and second floor units will directly connect to the basement.

Going back to the question of how many staircases we need to the basement, we decided that one really would do the job. And that would be the one in the new back porch. I am sorry to say, but this was the death sentence for the existing stairs leading to the first floor.

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Charming as that staircase was, the good news is that we now have an extra space on the first floor, which we can now convert into a closet or pantry.


About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

5 thoughts on “Staircase(s)

  1. Yes, we should have to exits – and we still have: The basement front door exit remains in place and we will have a second exit in the back through the porch. We just eliminated the third access, the stair case from the 1st floor into the basement.

  2. I misunderstood. I thought you were eliminating the front one as well, but that makes no sense because you just fixed up the masonry around it. Love what you’re doing and I hope to follow in your footsteps some day.

  3. Hi- Brian Shea pointed me towards your website. It’s fantastic! I met Brian when I was giving a tour of the green home I’m building in Bucktown- if you are interested you can check out my website (yours is much better !- I love the stop action photos).

    One thing I wanted to mention was a study on the downsides of ‘blue board’ (extruded polystyrene) insulation done by environmental building news (the Consumer Report of Green Building). A reference to the article is here:

    If you haven’t yet installed the blueboard you might want ton consider the alternate polyisocyanurate.

  4. Tom, its good to know that the number of sustainable rehabs is increasing! Thank you for taking the time to put up information in your blog!
    Regarding the ‘blue board’ or XPS: The rationales of adverse environmental impact make sense. I tend to agree that there are better material choices. That said, I will use some ‘blue board’ (XPS) in my project, but it will be only salvaged material – I have no plans to buy it new. By keeping it out of the landfill and giving it a second life, I feel that I can justify its use.
    That said, I recently discovered sources for salvaged polyisocyanurate (ISO) sheets. In any case, wheater XPS or ISO, if it is salvaged, it makes me and my wallet happy!
    Thanks again for sharing the info!

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