Staircases Are Not Furniture
I have a new pet peeve – though I need a stronger way to express my disdain for this practice but I’ll keep the blog clean. The removal of historic staircases from homes that are not being demolished is a low way to secure extra bucks. Owners are irreversibly removing a piece of a home’s character, history, and beauty by doing so.
I understand the benefit of taking them out when the house will be seeing the wrecking ball, but when the house is going to live on? Come on.
Architecturally significant staircases are not furniture. When you move out you don’t just take it with you or sell it. I don’t care if the staircase is going to live on in another property. That’s not the point.
The money is nothing to sneeze at, I’ll admit that. The Lockwood Mansion profiled on this site is an example where the owners are mulling a $100,000 offer for their 3-storey staircase that you see to the right. Yes, $100k, or enough for a new Mercedes S-Class. In the context of a $2.2 million home sale, however, that represents a 5% kicker. It’s all relative. I don’t know where the owners currently stand on the issue, but I hope they decide against it.
There is also an estate sale coming up with lots of Victorian furniture and the home is being sold as well. They describe the home’s beautiful quartersawn wood details in the sale description and then go on to explain that they’ll be ripping out and selling the home’s original staircase at a later time as well. Might be able to squeeze out another $10-$20k by doing so and $1,500 for the auctioneer who may have suggested it. I won’t be profiling the sale on this site as a result.
All too often no respect is given to these historic properties and once they’re raped of their interior details, it is very difficult to put back. Then once you’ve removed enough of the home’s character there almost isn’t any reason not to demolish the home.