Saturday, February 6, 2010

Stairs, no snow.

We are not getting a snow storm in New York. It seems a little unreal to be hearing about someone else getting 3' of snow. I almost miss it. Almost being the key word.
But it's cold, bitter cold.
I want February to go away, and I want March to bring a "hint" of spring, and then April, lovely April. I don't care if there's mud.
Luckily I am busy in the studio. I am getting enough orders to keep me working every day, without much time to worry about the weather. That's a good thing.

Last month, in addition to a new back door, I had the cellar stairs replaced. That part of the house was built in 1790. I think the stairs were original. When you walked down them, you could feel how the treads were 'scooped' out in the middle. I worried that someone was going to crash right through them, and I would either have a husband with broken bones, or some unhappy person filing a law suit, or it would be me in some awful kind of traction.
So they had to go.
When they were all taken apart, and my carpenter asked me where I wanted the old boards, I said I wanted to keep them. I didn't exactly know why, I just knew I couldn't throw them out.
One tread was cleaned and slightly sanded, and I propped it up to take a picture of it.
From Crazy as a Loom

I have no idea what to do with these treads. My friend said that I should make benches out of them.
I find myself thinking about those stairs. Imagine how many people have been walking up and down those stairs for the last 220 years. They seem to be made of hard wood. How many steps does it take to wear down wood like that?
I find myself wondering about those people. What they were like. How they lived. What they thought about.
I wish my old house could talk. I wish these treads could talk. They have seen so much life. So much has happened in this country, in the world, since 1790. It is incredible to me.
I couldn't throw them away. I am not sure what to do with them. But I won't throw them away.

Anyway, I have said before that I am a challenged photographer. But I take LOTS of pictures. And sometimes, by sheer accident, or by the grace of God, I take one that makes me say, ahhhh.

This next photo did that for me. It is so much more than just a stair tread. And somehow, I hear that tread talking to me in this one.

From Crazy as a Loom

But then, that's me. A little warped, I know.

So any ideas?? What wonderful things can I do to give these pieces of wood a new purpose?

I would love to hear your ideas.

From Crazy as a Loom


T said...

I like the idea of the benches.
How about a garden box (pots in the box so as not to ruin them) or I'd even have then along a wall just as is!

LA said...

I just had a little giggle when I saw the slope in the tread....just the right size for a bum! LOOM BENCH!!!! Seriously though, I had the same sort of thoughts when I toured the Tower of London and saw the stone steps that had been almost worn down to an incline. How many footsteps does it take to do that????

Country Girl said...

All three photos here are good. I can't believe the tread on those stairs! My house is that old too and I often find myself wondering how they weathered things like the storm we had. Even with a sleigh and a horse, the snow is deep down that driveway. I wonder sometimes what they thought, how they lived, did they do their own housekeeping?

Anonymous said...

What about a table? You could put glass over it and always see the beautiful wood underneath.

Anonymous said...

Table, shelves, benches. I wish I could think of something more original.... Are they heavy??


Michael said...

Ok, that is such a cool piece of wood. That sounds weird, but I'm quite sincere. I'm green with envy at the age of your home too. And if you want snow, we've acquired 14 inches I'd gladly FedEx you! Btw, you have the COOLEST blog music of any page I visit. :)

Gail said...

I would almost try a wall display if there are not too many. I would not like to think of cutting them.

Touch them and maybe they can tell what they would like to be. The right answer will come.

You have a treasure there. I noticed you have a cat shelf, how about extending your window sills with these?

Sharon said...

Maybe the idea will come to you after you allow it to simmer for a while. I can't believe how many times a solution will pop in my head while my mind is free-wheeling in the shower. You're right though. They are very cool and definitely keepers.

Tina J said...

What about a shelf unit type thing to display your retail? That would be cool don't you think?

Theresa said...

On one at least I would record what I know of the house on the back. Let the others sit for a bit and think on it. They are lovely. The old house we had in West Pawlet had a diary with it. Made for wonderful reading about the house and the area. We donated it to the historical society. You never know, the local historical society might have something on your old beauty if only in mention from a long ago neighbor or craftsman that worked on it.

Hilary said...

I agree with a couple of the previous comments. That beautiful, aged wood speaks to you, and given time it will tell you the perfect use for it. Thoughts that came to my own mind were a display shelf for living art - feathers, pine cones, carved objects. Its natural dips will make a display more interesting than a flat board. Another thought - an outdoor shelf where you can put birdseed, nuts and fruit for woodland critters to enjoy. But I do think a wonderful idea will hit you out of the blue. That photo is indeed beautiful.

Valerie said...

Do you paint, or know someone who does? At least one of the stair treads would make a really cool "canvas" for a painting, perhaps of your home?

Or, use it as the foundation for a collage: use decoupage to put on a photo of your home, or a collection of home photo's, with other memorabilia from the home....a nail, some glass, a key...etc.

Benita said...

I love old worn steps and treads like this, and, like you, wish they could talk. I don't have any ideas what they could be used for, but I wouldn't throw them away, either. There is too much history in them just to dump them. How long are they? Long enough to become half walls for a room?

Joyce said...

I don't have any ideas about what to do with the treads. However, I wanted to tell you I can relate to you wondering about previous occupants.....what those stairs have seen....who has been up and down them. I think about things like that as well. I'm not sure there are many of us.


ethelmaepotter! said...

I agree that the scoop is perfect for seating. Would the wood hold up for outdoor benches? Maybe shorten the wood on each end and make chairs? Or you could flip the treads over and use the flat sides as shelves. Do you have a place where you could use a bookcase? Or how about a shelf above a few windows? Or even below the windows, ala cat shelf?

tea4too0 said...

Hi I'm Terry from Okla. I have been enjoying your site for a short time, and I really like it. Your music is Sweet, I sometimes come here and visit and then open another tab to keep listening to your tunes. I hope you don't mind.
Your steps are awesome. I am seeing them put on the wall, floating and in a stairlike sequence. Maybe staggered. That would look so cool, and you could use them for some of your favorite things to be displayed.
Well I think I have lingered enough for one day,

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Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts