Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

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siankisr
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Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by siankisr »

Hello Bogleheads community,

I'm considering purchasing a home and the houses that we saw in the desired community has a step-up from the hall to the kitchen. I'm not sure if this is a significant drawback and if it can be modified easily.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the following:
  • Is a step-up to the kitchen generally considered a no-no in terms of home design and resale value?
  • What are the potential safety concerns with this feature, particularly for families with young children or elderly members?
  • How much of an inconvenience is this feature in day-to-day living?
  • Has anyone had experience with modifying this type of design? If so, how feasible and costly is it to eliminate the step and level the floor?
Thank you for your insights and experiences!

Edit

Looks like it is a step down and shouldn't be called a step up. Sorry for the confusion.
Last edited by siankisr on Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by firebirdparts »

It’s impossible at any price to lower a floor. You raise the lower one up. Structurally that is child’s play, but look around the room for interferences. Steps to the basement in that room would be the worst interference. All the doors outside would also be affected and basically that becomes the new hazard.
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bombcar
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by bombcar »

Can it be ramped? How high a step-up?

Almost certainly that indicates the kitchen part of the house is an add-on - which could have all sorts of fun foundation issues.

If everything else is on the up and up it still could be an issue if mobility becomes a problem.

I’d take a step down into a den but a step up into a kitchen is weirding me out.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by ladycat »

I wouldn't want a step between the kitchen and any area where you'd frequently be eating food. Too much of a hazard carrying food and dishes up and down a step, and more difficult to access by anyone with mobility issues. Maybe it would be OK if the kitchen is large with a seated eat-in area.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by bd7 »

I would dislike any raised or sunken rooms, they are trip/fall hazard. So there are going to be buyers who reject it on that basis and that dings marketability. How much? IDK.

What is the structure of the house? Is it on a slab, poured foundation with a basement or ??
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by cheese_breath »

siankisr wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 8:40 pm ... step-up from the hall to the kitchen....
How many other rooms does this hall connect to?
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Sandtrap »

siankisr wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 8:40 pm Hello Bogleheads community,

I'm considering purchasing a home and the houses that we saw in the desired community has a step-up from the hall to the kitchen. I'm not sure if this is a significant drawback and if it can be modified easily.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the following:
  • Is a step-up to the kitchen generally considered a no-no in terms of home design and resale value?
  • What are the potential safety concerns with this feature, particularly for families with young children or elderly members?
  • How much of an inconvenience is this feature in day-to-day living?
  • Has anyone had experience with modifying this type of design? If so, how feasible and costly is it to eliminate the step and level the floor?
Thank you for your insights and experiences!
to op:
Can you take a picture of this and post the picture?
What part of the building code does this conform to?

Can you give a better description or draw a line drawing?

Why does this step up exist?
Cosmetic, structural, utilities, etc???

I have seen many awkward and unsafe floor transitions in homes, townhouses, condos, and high rise apartment units.
Also, architectural plans, engineering designs, etc.

j :D
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by 123 »

siankisr wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 8:40 pm ...I would love to hear your thoughts on the following:
  • Is a step-up to the kitchen generally considered a no-no in terms of home design and resale value?...
If you're asking so will everyone else, including resale time. Level floors throughout a home are generally desirable. A step-up to a kitchen is likely the sign of remodeling (the remodeling may have made things better than they were).

Is the step-up entry to the kitchen from the hall necessary? Are there other ways of entering the kitchen that will meet all needs? If the step-up entry from the hall is not essential it could be walled off and eliminated.

Residents of a home can get used to all the quirks and make adjustments in how they do things. But the step-up still would remain a hazard for guests and visitors.
Last edited by 123 on Sun Jun 09, 2024 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by ResearchMed »

ladycat wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 10:15 pm I wouldn't want a step between the kitchen and any area where you'd frequently be eating food. Too much of a hazard carrying food and dishes up and down a step, and more difficult to access by anyone with mobility issues. Maybe it would be OK if the kitchen is large with a seated eat-in area.

Even if there is "a seated eat-in area"... is there a separate "dining room"?
ANY steps involved when carrying liquids (especially hot liquids) or heavy/bulky items can be dangerous.

IF you do get this house, please consider two things:
1) Have something like short diagonal handrails on both sides of the steps. This is as something to hold on to, or to grab if one starts to trip, and also as a visual aid to the height transition;
2) Clearly mark the edge of *each* step, even if it isn't the latest and greatest for interior design. Some thing both visually very obvious and also textured so there is "feel" to the "edge".

How often would this particular path be used? It's one thing is it's only the "back entrance to the kitchen". It's something else if it is likely to be used frequently every day.

Note that you are worrying about whether you should purchase this house because of this.
When you go to sell, others are likely to have similar hesitation.

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bombcar
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by bombcar »

One common reason for a “step up” is converting something that was slab on grade into something needing plumbing. Easier to built a false floor and run pipes than jackhammering the slab.

Still, I’d investigate. It wouldn’t be an instant write off but I would be hesitant.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by LittleMaggieMae »

To answer your question about buying the house - it's actually another question: "Why is there a step up to the kitchen?". Is it an original architectural design of a Mid Century house? (in which case it's possible a very ccol retro house and you do NOT want to change it.) Or is the dividing line between an original house and an addition? Or it is due to a "remodel" where a room/area that was NOT a kitchen was converted into a kitchen (and the raised floor is due to plumbing for the kitchen)?

If it's an addition or a remodel - you want a good inspection and to consider the workmanship AND longevity of what was added to the house.

I think all the earlier posts covered the pros and cons of having a "step" up or down as part of the design/floor plan.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by OnTrack2020 »

You do not want this! Haven't read through the posts and not sure how old you are, but, at some point, it may become a mobility issue. We have a sunken living room. It was great when we bought it nearly 25 years ago, but, now, over time and with foot "issues" over the past several years, am looking at moving somewhere else---one level.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by doobiedoo »

I have a step-down from the entryway to the rest of the house.
[Right step-down to kitchen, center step-down to living/dining room, left step-down to family room.]
It doesn't bother me. I've lived here 33 years.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Watty »

siankisr wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 8:40 pm What are the potential safety concerns with this feature, particularly for families with young children or elderly members?

Insurance companies can be quirky with non-standard homes and they may charge more or even decline to insure the house because it is a tripping hazard.

In addition to being a problem for older people or people with mobility problems young kids tend to run or be in walkers which could fall down the step and that has not been mentioned yet.

I would be especially cautious if this house looks like a flip and they may have cut some corners which resulted in the kitchen floor being raised. In addition to it being a flip now it might have also been flipped five or ten years ago.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by siankisr »

Thanks all. Based on all the replies, it is not a step up, but a step down. It seems that this was one of the cool retro feature in the 80s, so all the houses in the community are built like this. This is in a nice location and good school district.


Example Image:
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by ResearchMed »

siankisr wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:12 am Thanks all. Based on all the replies, it is not a step up, but a step down. It seems that this was one of the cool retro feature in the 80s, so all the houses in the community are built like this. This is in a nice location and good school district.


Example Image:

This looks more like a "step down living room" rather than some unusual "step up to the kitchen".
What about other doors, between kitchen and other rooms AND between LR and other rooms? WHere are the "step up/downs"?

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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by siankisr »

I didn't see any other step up or step down. You enter from the main door and then there is hall and then you turn and go into the kitchen and then the step down.

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Normchad »

siankisr wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:28 am I didn't see any other step up or step down. You enter from the main door and then there is hall and then you turn and go into the kitchen and then the step down.

Image

Image

Image
That is very common design from the 80s. I wouldn’t let it stop me from buying the house.

Yes, if you really wanted to, you could raise the floor of the sunken room to match. It would be a bit pricy, but not insane. And for me, I wouldn’t do it. I think the sunken family room is pretty cool.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by InvisibleAerobar »

siankisr wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:12 am Thanks all. Based on all the replies, it is not a step up, but a step down. It seems that this was one of the cool retro feature in the 80s, so all the houses in the community are built like this. This is in a nice location and good school district.


Example Image:
The house we just bought has this feature as well. The family room is stepped-down from kitchen, and the rest of the first floor is at the same elevation as the kitchen. Slightly "better" than what is shown is the fact that there's a railing running halfway between kitchen and family room, so at least there's something on which to hold. Perhaps by coincidence, it was built in the late 1980s, though some others from the same era don't have this stepped-down "feature". Others have sunrooms, whether three-season or fully insulated four-season, stepped-down from the prevailing elevation of the first floor.

Since we are redoing the flooring, we are also considering just making the family room at the same elevation as everything else. A few flooring contractors are stopping by tomorrow, and I'll ask them about cost in my MCOL locale.

ETA: here's what a set-up similar to mine looks like.

Image
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by bombcar »

The cost to raise a family room shouldn't be terribly hard - but BUT make sure you talk to a few about HOW they are going to raise it.

If done "cheaply" you end up with the squeaky floor of doom. Perfectly safe, but moves and squeaks. You want it torn down to at least the subfloor, and then built up firmly.

I guess you could add floor safes or something at the same time. :D

If the room has NO doors, it's quite easy. If it has a door that opens to a deck or stairs, I'd raise the door and the deck, too.

But a step up at a door is the best place for it, from a "not tripping" point of view.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by FeralCat »

I cannot imagine that this would affect resale value. Well, you could tell immediately from your house search. Are houses like this discounted as compared to other houses of the same square footage? Lots of houses create mobility issues as we age. Would you also, for example, preclude any two-story homes from your search?

As an aside, split-level houses from the 1950s and 1960s typically have lots of rooms that are both step-up and step-down.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by cheese_breath »

Thank you for the pictures. Nothing wrong with this house. This is a very common design. My last two homes, one built in 1980, the other in 1968 had similar designs. But your description was confusing, at least to me. I think of the kitchen as ending with the cabinets, and the informal dining area between the kitchen and the step down into the family room not to be part of the kitchen.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by siankisr »

Thanks for all the replies. As we started looking for the houses, we zeroed in on the community and then realized that the houses in this community have a step down to the family room. As we have an elderly person with us for sometime of the year and my kid likes to run around the house and as we age, we thought if this would be a problem down the road. So wanted to gain everyone's experience on the same.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by bombcar »

siankisr wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 11:29 am Thanks for all the replies. As we started looking for the houses, we zeroed in on the community and then realized that the houses in this community have a step down to the family room. As we have an elderly person with us for sometime of the year and my kid likes to run around the house and as we age, we thought if this would be a problem down the road. So wanted to gain everyone's experience on the same.
Just because this was the style at the time (he says as he eats his belt-onion) doesn't mean it's the right style for you.

The kid, that I would say is fine. Kids are adaptable and flexible. But elderly would be at a minimum annoying (you'd know best the current mobility, but it will almost always get worse).

From what you've said, unless literally everything there is that style, I'd pass.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by fasteddie911 »

I've lived in or been in houses like that and it was never a problem. In fact I went to a party at a house like that just the other day. But most notable is my grandparents house where they lived for 50+yrs, raised kids and hosted many grandkids and family parties. I can't recall myself or anyone actually falling.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by oldfatguy »

siankisr wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 11:29 am Thanks for all the replies. As we started looking for the houses, we zeroed in on the community and then realized that the houses in this community have a step down to the family room. As we have an elderly person with us for sometime of the year and my kid likes to run around the house and as we age, we thought if this would be a problem down the road. So wanted to gain everyone's experience on the same.
Our house has this same design (step-down family room off the kitchen), and it has never been a problem for us. Our child went from infancy to 12 (so far) in this house, and until a few years ago, her great-grandmother (in her late 90's at the time) was here a couple days a week, going in and out of that room multiple times a day. This is a very, very common feature in a lot of houses.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by EnjoyIt »

My opinion:

Is it a problem? No.

Do I want it? Also no.

No house is perfect so you decide if this inconvenience is worth it to you. Personally I would prefer not to have a house with a sunken living room. Especially where the step is so close to the dining room table.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by siankisr »

Yes, the elderly person lives with us for half of the year and we already have a stairlift in my current house and so I was more worried for her mobility than my kids.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by mjg »

siankisr wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:28 am I didn't see any other step up or step down. You enter from the main door and then there is hall and then you turn and go into the kitchen and then the step down.

Image
As others have mentioned, the kitchen floor step isn't an issue provided it works for you.

It's hard to tell from this picture's perspective, but what's the difference in height in the picture above between the landing two steps up to the ceiling before the ceiling height opens up going up the rest of the stairs. That looks like that's a issue that might give me pause.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Sandtrap »

siankisr wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 2:37 pm Yes, the elderly person lives with us for half of the year and we already have a stairlift in my current house and so I was more worried for her mobility than my kids.
To OP:
Does the elderly person also use a walker or "rollator" or cane(s).

One fall and you will regret buying this home.

Something to consider.

What age is "elderly"?

This home is not ADA or "elderly" friendly. IMHO.
j
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Jun 10, 2024 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Sandtrap »

mjg wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 2:51 pm
siankisr wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 9:28 am I didn't see any other step up or step down. You enter from the main door and then there is hall and then you turn and go into the kitchen and then the step down.

Image
As others have mentioned, the kitchen floor step isn't an issue provided it works for you.

It's hard to tell from this picture's perspective, but what's the difference in height in the picture above between the landing two steps up to the ceiling before the ceiling height opens up going up the rest of the stairs. That looks like that's a issue that might give me pause.
Building code is a minimum of 80 inches above the stair "nosing". Some stairs that transition like this one look really close, and they are, but they pass.
The 2 steps without a side handrail is a concern. A short railing can be put on the front door wall to conform.
These stairs are borderline 7/11 legal run/rise. They are very steep. With the landing transition, this is common for stairs that need to be put into a limited space per the house design.

Often, landing transitions are 36 inches square. This one looks cut back going up to a partial. Strange. They really were tight on space.
A "stairlift" would have to be installed on the far wall of the stairs, so, 2 steps to get up to the landing, then on to the stairlift.

.....why is that door painted green?....

j :D
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Jun 10, 2024 3:09 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by BrooklynInvest »

I think it's a step up AND a step down, no?

;-)

I have this in my house. The floors needed replacing and I had no money so we raised the kitchen. We've had one incident in nearly 20 years - someone who shall remain nameless tripped while holding a glass of red wine. It hit two walls and the ceiling. Spectacular.

Other than the grapes, no one was harmed.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by cheese_breath »

Issues to raising the family room floor, and looking at the pictures you provided:

Image

The fireplace would need to be raised. Does it have a chimney which would need reworking? Or is a simple decorative gas fireplace, in which case the gas line would need to be relocted?

Image:

The exterior doorwall would need to be raised. There is likely a header above this door which would need to be raised. Structural rework.

If can't tell if the window goes all the way to the floor. But there might be a header there too.

edit: I forgot to mention, if you do this, then you'll have a step down onto your outside deck.

edit 2: After researching more on headers I believe I was wrong on their placement. They are installed at the roofline, so they shouldn't require relocating.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Tib »

I'm a retiree and wouldn't buy a 2-story home anyway, but I'd also rule out a one-story home if it had a sunken LR. In fact, a few years ago I did decide against a condo I liked because of its sunken LR (which it shared with others in its 1980s community). As we age, falls are (even) more likely to do serious damage. And we are at greater risk of falling due to balance problems, decreased strength, and increased distractibility. Even if it never happens, it may always be in the back of your mind, and a source of constant, low-level anxiety, that someone living, visiting, or working in your home might seriously injure themselves. One trip could bring someone's good years to an end.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Big Dog »

fwiw: a colleague had a similar design but it was a step down into the Living Room. Finally got tired and wanted to flatten, so he had the lower floor poured to make it flat as can be, and the contractor build a sub-floor on top of that. No doors into that room. It was cathedral ceiling, so not noticeable. Of course, the windows are now ~6" closer to the floor. No squeaks after 2+ years.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by cheese_breath »

As I stated previously, there's nothing wrong with this house. But on second thought I do have one concern; not from a design perspective but from decorating. Having the same floor on both upper and lower levels complicates seeing the drop from the upper level, and might lull one into forgetting there's a step there. I confess this happened to me once, from entry door level to lower living room.


Image:
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by EnjoyIt »

cheese_breath wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 5:11 pm As I stated previously, there's nothing wrong with this house. But on second thought I do have one concern; not from a design perspective but from decorating. Having the same floor on both upper and lower levels complicates seeing the drop from the upper level, and might lull one into forgetting there's a step there. I confess this happened to me once, from entry door level to lower living room.


Image:
I just hate how one of the seats of the breakfast area backs to that step. I’m not sure how far away it is, but it bothers me.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by cheese_breath »

EnjoyIt wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 5:55 pm
cheese_breath wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 5:11 pm As I stated previously, there's nothing wrong with this house. But on second thought I do have one concern; not from a design perspective but from decorating. Having the same floor on both upper and lower levels complicates seeing the drop from the upper level, and might lull one into forgetting there's a step there. I confess this happened to me once, from entry door level to lower living room.


Image:
I just hate how one of the seats of the breakfast area backs to that step. I’m not sure how far away it is, but it bothers me.
From the picture it seems ok to me. We had a similar designed house, and nobody backed their chair over the cliff. But of course, that doesn't mean it couldn't happen.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by ResearchMed »

cheese_breath wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 6:03 pm
EnjoyIt wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 5:55 pm
cheese_breath wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 5:11 pm As I stated previously, there's nothing wrong with this house. But on second thought I do have one concern; not from a design perspective but from decorating. Having the same floor on both upper and lower levels complicates seeing the drop from the upper level, and might lull one into forgetting there's a step there. I confess this happened to me once, from entry door level to lower living room.


Image:
I just hate how one of the seats of the breakfast area backs to that step. I’m not sure how far away it is, but it bothers me.
From the picture it seems ok to me. We had a similar designed house, and nobody backed their chair over the cliff. But of course, that doesn't mean it couldn't happen.

A lot of the concern depends upon just how far that cliff is from the back of the chair when someone is comfortably pushing back, and not paying a lot of attention. Is there a big space buffer, or... not?

IF we had this house (and I emphasize that I tend to err on the side of caution, especially when safety is involved), I think I'd consider putting in a little railing on the left side of that upper "cliff", perhaps halfway across? Or a third? (It's difficult to get a sense of the measurements or how it would work, from the photo.)
Anyway, that would be on the side where the chair would be.

Importantly, it would also provide a very obvious visual reminder of the transition... that there IS "something there", that step.

RM
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Mr. Rumples »

I've got mobility issues; while I wouldn't want that for myself, for the most part, I'd say it's not a problem. If it is, put up a decorative railing with a handrail for the step down or even a half wall to block the view.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by doobiedoo »

Watty wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 6:30 am
siankisr wrote: Sun Jun 09, 2024 8:40 pm What are the potential safety concerns with this feature, particularly for families with young children or elderly members?
Insurance companies can be quirky with non-standard homes and they may charge more or even decline to insure the house because it is a tripping hazard.

In addition to being a problem for older people or people with mobility problems young kids tend to run or be in walkers which could fall down the step and that has not been mentioned yet. ..
I didn't mention "tripping problems" because we didn't have any.
I raised 2 kids in my "step-down" house. I don't remember them having any falls due to the step-down.
I'm now 69. I don't think I've ever tripped on it.
And it hasn't been an insurance issue either.

And yes, my house was built in 1981.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Watty »

Thanks for adding the picture, it is a lot different and looks a lot more normal than I imagined from the "Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall" description. I had envisioned a narrow hallway where you had to take a step up into the kitchen which would have been odd.

I have know someone who was in a car accident and temporarily needed to be in a wheelchair who had to stay somewhere else for a while after being discharged from the hospital while there house was modified to be some what usable by someone in a wheelchair. In this case it looks like you could easily put in a temporary ramp if you needed to.

I still don't like the design so I would count it as a negative for the house in your list of pros and cons but it would not be a show stopper for me when I was younger. With it being a two level house with stairs you likely have bigger problems if you would want to live in the house when you are elderly or if you have someone like an elderly parent live with you.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Watty »

EnjoyIt wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 5:55 pm I just hate how one of the seats of the breakfast area backs to that step. I’m not sure how far away it is, but it bothers me.
I have seen houses with sunken living room where they had a handrail and balusters partway to form a barrier so that you could only step down in certain areas.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by siankisr »

Thank you for all the comments. It is giving me some perspective. Swaying from one side to the other though :)
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by cheese_breath »

doobiedoo wrote: Mon Jun 10, 2024 11:49 pm
I didn't mention "tripping problems" because we didn't have any.
I raised 2 kids in my "step-down" house. I don't remember them having any falls due to the step-down.
I'm now 69. I don't think I've ever tripped on it.
And it hasn't been an insurance issue either.

And yes, my house was built in 1981.
The reason I raised the issue was because of the identical flooring on both levels. We never had any problems in our 1968 and 1980 homes either. But the upper and lower levels were different materials and colors, linoleum on upper and carpet on lower.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by cheese_breath »

siankisr wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 8:28 am Thank you for all the comments. It is giving me some perspective. Swaying from one side to the other though :)
How does this idea hit you? Fancy railings on upper level, same stain as floors, coming in from walls about three feet (or more if you like) on both sides? This should draw attention to the dropoff but still leave a lot of space between to go through. And a lot less costly than raising the floor.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by KevinC »

We purchased a house that had similar step down from kitchen. Previous owner who build the house raised up part of the floor because his wife ended up in a wheelchair for her last few years. This allowed her to get from bedroom to kitchen, but still had a step down to living room.
We renovated and debated on how to handle step. I’m very happy with the result and the step doesn’t bother me, but it is definitely a trip hazard for guests.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by oldfatguy »

cheese_breath wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 10:46 am
siankisr wrote: Tue Jun 11, 2024 8:28 am Thank you for all the comments. It is giving me some perspective. Swaying from one side to the other though :)
How does this idea hit you? Fancy railings on upper level, same stain as floors, coming in from walls about three feet (or more if you like) on both sides? This should draw attention to the dropoff but still leave a lot of space between to go through. And a lot less costly than raising the floor.
That's exactly what our house had originally (I can still see the bottoms of the newel posts attached to the floor joists in the basement), but they were removed by the previous owner. I do prefer it more "open" myself, but the railings would make the step more visible and offer something to hold onto when stepping up and down, for those who need it.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by siankisr »

Thank you everyone for all the replies. The house is already under contract. However, I will keep looking with all this data in mind. Only time will tell.
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Re: Step-Up to Kitchen from Hall - Is It a No-No? Can It Be Fixed?

Post by Nicolas »

We looked at a lot of homes before we bought our current place and whenever I viewed a house with any kind of step up or down I took an instant disliking to it. And the house we finally bought has no steps on the same floor, up or down.
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