Saturday, May 2

CopyCat Extraordinare

Before I explain by extraordinaredness.... ps, I know that is not a word, but it works!

I carried around my dream house plan for 10 years. We were in Nebraska, going to dental school... I was at a Piggly Wiggly checkout stand and a Southern Living House Plan book called out my name, seriously, it sweet talked me!!! We were so very desperately broke and yet I HAD to have this book. I seriously could have been an architect, or interior designer, or landscape architect and been deliriously happy... not saying I would have been any GOOD at them... just happy.

I remember the guilt I felt when I got home and unpacked the few groceries we could afford and then pulled this frivolous house plan book out of the bag. At $11.99, I wondered if Piggly Wiggly would take it back. Ugh!

Several days later, Shawn was in Honduras, and I decided to cuddle up in bed... alone with my guilt inducing gold and diamond dust plan book. I didn't feel awful for long... because on page 66, there it was. I fell in love with the simple, cottagey, yet modern elements of the 'Country Chickering House'.

For the next 10 years I carried this plan # around. It was packed and moved to California, and Mississippi, and then made it home to Alabama.

So by the time we were ready to actually build our home, I was pleasantly surprised that the house plan was still able to be purchased. We removed a few walls that were in the original plan but otherwise everything stayed exactly how I had seen them all those years ago. Until....

'the great stair debate of 2007' aka, 'the stair saga'!!! I got a call from our builder one day and he simply stated... we have a big problem. I met him on the land immediately.

Seems that stair codes had changed quite dramatically in 10 years. The original stairs, the ones I loved dearly, were no where close to current code and we had to come up with a second option. No lie, I cried! Because the original design was so perfect and I especially loved where they exited on the second floor. I regained my composure and asked my builder along with the head carpenter to give me some options. I hated both options offered. This was the only time, other than taking my kitchen cabinets clear to the ceiling, that our builder and I were polar opposite on a resolution. They were pushing me for a decision. I dug my heels in and refused both options... There had to be another alternative that would give me at least some of the features I loved about the original plan.

2 weeks later, yep, I stalled out the whole building of the stairs for 15 days... but they finally came back with a 3rd choice. It included a slanted ceiling in my foyer (builder hated) and I lost height to my coat closet (carpenter felt was unacceptable) but otherwise... plan 3 gave me most of the features of the original except for the ideal exit at top. SOLD!!! Builder and Carpenter shook their heads, looked at each other, sighed dramatically, and said...'if your sure!?!!' Yes, I'm sure fellas...!

When the stairs were done, I got apologies from both those fellas, because it worked out near perfect. The unimaginable task of finding walnut handrails and steps (to match flooring) was even accomplished.

And this is the base of the stairs. Love the flair of the final steps, very important point as the foyer would have seemed very plain and boxy with out the width of the base.

The handrails were custom built for this job. I'm so thankful I gathered the gutsoes to fight this battle. Else it could have looked very patchy.

In essence, for the amount of space we had, and the steps required, and the landings required, we did not have enough room. So originally the top exit of the stairs would have been perfectly situated in the middle of the hall upstairs. Central for all the kids bedrooms. In the end, the exit is on the right side at Savannah's bedroom and the boys have to turn and walk back down the hall to their rooms. But for as big of a deal as I made the exit... I've never heard a complaint from the sons. Go figure.

Now, to my world-class Copy Cat skills. Because the stairway opening to second floor is 20+' high... I have struggled with what to do with that! And I might add that the drywall is a tad 'off' here too so it always drew my eye to it. I didn't want to hang a light here because it would have been off centered to the tray ceiling upstairs. Yet I needed something... something architectural... something huge!!!

I was searching ebay and saw a 12' orchard ladder for sale. Loved it, wanted it, got giddy... until I realized it was in England and with shipping would have cost me $2600.00!!! At least it was so CRAZY that I was able to easily walk away from it. But I looked real close at the pictures the seller posted and made detail notes.

Thursday, I made this 'knock-off' 12' orchard ladder. It fits perfectly!! The landing is so huge yet when I put baskets or floor vases there, they came too far out into the pass space. The ladder hugs the wall and adds that needed 'interest' without taking up too much landing space. Stinkin' happy, I mean s.t.i.n.k.i.n.........and hubby thinks it is perfection. Never want to have to make another one, very heavy and unruly, but I'm so glad I attempted it. Task done! And while I fully embrace that I am not one for original creativity (you know who you are.... DANA)... I am one first class Copy Cat... meowwww!


Mandi said...

That ladder is FABULOUS! I say, so what if you are a copy cat.... if I copy your ladder what does that make me? :)

Mike and Carrie said...

Yes Miss Thang! you did it again. Beautiful.

Lisha said...

Looks great!

Beth said...

I love it!

Sandy said...

Holy Cow! You made that! I am totally impressed. Good for you sticking to your guns about the staircase. It looks beautiful!

kg said...

I loooove it!! I was just showing Mark and explaining all the loveliness of your home.

Quincy Sorensen said...

You are no copy cat, Dawn. You are the real thing. What a talent you have to possess a vision and the abilities to carry it out. Your home is just so beautiful!

Cari said...

By 'never make another one' you mean 'after I help Cari make one, I will never make another one', right? Ha!

You constantly amaze me at what you can do when you put your mind to it.

MaioCampo said...


Who gets to dust the top rung?

MrsMama said...

Those are some *beautiful* stairs and railings. And that ladder is divine! I'm so impressed that you made it.