The staircase design is all about personal preference and budget. It is one of the main non-changeable style items you can have in your house. Some people love the modern day metal and glass look and others prefer the warmth of carpet.
The Forsyth has a limited range of staircases and I think this is because it spans over the top of the walk-in pantry, however, I could be wrong as to the reason. Other double story PD houses have the options of oversize bottoms steps and curved side and handrail that open up at the bottom – stunning!
Top 5 things to consider
- Do you want to walk on carpet or wood treads? Carpet is quieter but both show wear in their own ways.
- Do you like the Fung Shui look or believe in its powers of channelling energy?
- The Baluster styles, are you a glass, stainless steel, cast iron or painted wood kind of person?
- Do you like painted wood or Stained treads and/or risers?
- Do you like it when the side of the steps are open or do you like it closed in with a stringer?
- We chose the Classic Staircase Option 2
- This has wooden treads, no paint, with a black, wrought iron balustrade and a closed in stringer. I like the stringer as its one less area to dust.
So it’s going to look like the pic below in terms of colour, stringer, UGLY connoisseur swirls and black wrought iron uprights but with a slightly different configuration as this photo is of a Waldorf and not a Forsyth.
I tried to get rid of the connoisseur rails on ever 4th upright, I really really tired. However, if you want the black wrought iron uprights then you have to take them. The stainless steel options don’t have them but I’m not a fan of the polished silver.
So if anyone one reading this likes them and has a staircase that currently has black wrote iron bars – then I will pay you to swap some with me. I would love your plain bars and trade them for my fancy dancy swirly ones.
Porter Davis has a selection of stains you can choose. They have specific woods they use for doors, windows and staircases, as they all come from different supplier. The same stain can look different on different woods.
There are samples at World of Style for you to look at. My recommendation is that if you like the look of one or two of them, ask your Sales Consultant or Building Co-ordinator what house you can view that colour staircase in. Like all samples, they look different under different lights.
We really liked the front doors stained in PD black but we never would have chosen it off the sample board.
In the end, we chose to go with English Walnut
Below are 3 photos of English Walnut, 1 is taken of the sample board from WOS, and the other 2 are at a display home showcasing the stain. The 2 photos are taken of the same balustrade, one with the curtains beside me open and the other with them closed – look how different the stain is under different lights.
Alternatively, if you want your staircase to match your hardwood floors you can do it post-handover. We found a company that does stair treads and rises in the same wood that they sell for your floor coverings. Apparently, it’s called Stair Nosing. You just take the standard inclusion staircase, tell PD to skip the carpet and have it prettied up post-handover. I kind of wish I had known about this before I when through WOS, as I think I would have done this option and it would have saved me money.
Carpet and underlay.
Early on, we were unsure if we could afford an upgraded staircase, so looked in to carpet and underlay pricing. Cat 1 carpet comes with the standard staircase.
This is what I could find in terms of pricing in our old quotes. Stepmax is their Cat 5 underlay and is 10mm thick.
Feng Shui Staircase Option
We were also accidentally quoted a Feng Shui Staircase in the first quote. This is where the bottom step is larger and a plaster wall is built to stop the energy coming in your front door and going straight up the staircase. Personal I think that the Forsyth has a wide enough foyer area (2.5+m wide) leading to the living and kitchen area that a Feng Shui staircase is not needed. But hey what do I know, I read a book about Feng Shui when I was 12 and googled a bit about it for half an hour – I’m sure that makes me an expert.
When I find the old quote I will add in the pricing.
The saga of the 2nd Hand Rail
My Husband has a paralysed leg, he wears a full leg brace to aid walking and uses a walking stick for any distance over 10m. Climbing the stairs is no easy task. He always likes it when a staircase has a handrail on each side so that he can hold on with both hands going up and down the stairs.
We asked during one of the first meetings with our Sales Consultant if we could add a 2nd handrail to the wall side. It would make sense to do it at the time of building, that way the two handrails match and are coloured are the same.
Our Sales Consultant told us it wouldn’t be an issue and added $1,500 as an allowance to our quote. You might think this is steep for a piece of wood but I would happily pay it to know that my Husband is safe coming up and going down the stairs.
Unfortunately, this safety feature got no further than the first quote. Our Sales Consultant was told by his boss to remove it from the quote as they would never do it. No other explanation was given.
I get that Porter Davis is a volume builder, it means they have set floor plans and you can only make limited changes, but come on! A building company is unable to install a handrail on a wall so a disabled person can traverse a staircase safely – RIGHT-O!
It may sound like I bag PD quite a lot, but in general, we are very excited about the house they are building for us. However, there are a few things that really pissed us off along the way and get marked up in the negative column. Not being able to install the 2nd handrail is one of them.
During the build, we will take lots of photos of the wall’s studs before the plaster goes on so we know where the supports are. Post hand over we will have to get in another builder to install a 2nd similar looking and hopefully similar coloured handrail to our staircase.
A little extra painting
Some builders have the expansion joint between upstairs and downstairs exposed. I like that PD run a 1×4 architrave around inside the staircase void, I think it looks neat and tidy.
Dave wants to paint this cloudy sky – the same colour as all of our skirtings. It was way too hard to get PD to paint it during our WOS appointment, so I guess I will be getting up on a ladder post hand over to do a little cutting in and painting. I think it will also help break up the wall, you know – the one that’s getting a handrail put on it 😉
Under the stairs
We upgraded our Kitchen, this meant our walk-in pantry used the space under the stairs and our I-Hub was pushed out into the hall. The two display homes of the Forsyth (Habitat and the now-closed Mernda) have had their I-Hubs pushed back into the WIP area. This does shorten up the WIP a little – but it’s already a massive room.
We plan to put a beautiful antique carved writing desk in this area that my Dad will be shipping from New Zealand to me. We have extended the depth to allow for the writing desks depth plus skirting board. A made to measure space!
A dwarf wall or a wrap around balustrade
I understand that PD used to have two charges, one for the staircase and one to do the matching balustrade around the staircase void.
This was very confusing for us as I think we were in the middle of this internal PD change.
We chose the Classic Staircase Option 2, and the quote said it included a balustrade to first-floor void area. However, our plans showed the note, dwarf plater wall to first-floor void area.
Our Sales Consultant did not know if there would be additional changes and neither did the 2nd salesperson that was working alongside him, nor did our BCFH.
This really worried us for months and could have potentially meant we wouldn’t have been able to put in a beautiful staircase like we had planned because of the cost.
We got all the way to Day Two of tender before our minds were put to rest, having brought it up again at Day One tender (5 weeks prior). Our wonderful Tender Presenter found out the answer for us and gave us the good news that it was already included in the cost and that the plans would be updated. We scratched off the line in our budget that we had put aside of $2,300 and gave each other a high-5!
World of Style Price List
Sales Consultants Forsyth Staircase brochure.