Innovative Idea: Trapdoor To The Basement
2010 @ wobuilt.com
Innovative idea: Trapdoor to the basementMartina Ernst
We are always looking to introduce a special design element and often the best ideas come late in the project. As long as it hasn’t been build it can still be changed (within reason). Often drawings don’t convey the whole picture and once the spaces take shape we need to find innovative solutions in keeping with the spirit of the design.
In one of our recent projects we encountered the question of what to do with the railing for the stairs opening to the semi-finished basement (great utility space, clean, large and comfortable, but not a living space). The drawings called for a fixed railing and anything other than the elegant glass railing installed to the second floor would not have been in keeping with the aesthetic look. However, continuing the glass railing for the basement opening was found to be too expensive and the owners and us felt that the permanent railing around the opening would be too intrusive and make the passage from the kitchen to the living room too tight.
So we put our minds together and came up with a TRAPDOOR solution. The owners loved the idea of just being able to close the opening and preserve the feeling of spaciousness in the open concept living room. In addition, a closed opening hides the view to the basement and makes the whole space look more finished.
Our challenge was how to build it. We had to make it sturdy enough so that the trapdoor could be walked on, but thin enough that it would not be too heavy to lift. It had to be secured safely in the upright position to satisfy the building inspector, but we did not want to introduce vertical elements above the top of the trapdoor. It had to have a railing at the proper height in its upright position and had to look integrated with the floor when closed. Not easy.
The construction: The baseboard is the handrail for the trapdoor and can be extended to the proper height when in the upright position. The trapdoor is secured to the staircase via strong magnets and at the mouth of the stairs it has a reinforcing steel bracket that can be lowered when the trapdoor is closed. The trapdoor sits securely on a wooden frame and has a pulley system for easy opening.
The result: Very happy clients! Very proud contractors in having solved a difficult problem!
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build
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