is getting even less cool.
When we bought our house, the staircase to the second floor was open on one side. On your way up, you might put your hand on the railing against the left wall, but on your right side was a sheer drop to the kitchen floor. This is all well and good for those of us taller than five feet; by the time we're high enough on the steps to fall off and hurt ourselves, we're high enough to catch ourselves on the overhanging ceiling. No problem.
Except for a toddler. As she learned how to crawl, then toddle up the stairs, Gwendolyn could easily have pitched off the fourth-to-top stair and fallen to her death on the kitchen tile below. So in July of last year, we did something to change that.
With the help of my father-in-law and the hemlock from our property (yes, we're still using this wood), we constructed a railing and spindles in order to make it just a little harder for our daughter to hurt herself.
I failed to take photos of the project in its early stages, so here are the images of the last few steps. In July we had the unfinished railing and spindles in place:
Since that day, of course, its muster has been tested over and over again by the most important user.
It turns out that spindles make good hand-holds for someone shorter than four feet tall.
Instead of the usual polyurethane, which chokes the user indoors and requires thinner to clean, I tried out "polycrylic," a water-based acrylic sealer and protectant. It went on smooth, dried fast, cleaned up easily, and did not yellow the wood as polyurethane does. Awesome.
And since I had more than enough for the railing, I decided to put a protective layer on the table top I made two years ago for GBaby's room.
Now at the top of the stairs, the only way to get to the kitchen floor is down a forty-five degree slope, rather than a vertical drop. (She's taken the forty-five degree route as fast as possible twice now, and come away with nothing broken except her sense of security.)