Dressing up your Pony Wall Stair Rail - PART 1.
If your home was built on a tight budget with a modern design mindset, chances are you ended up with a pony wall (dry wall plaster board) stair rail. It's a cheap, modern option to the more traditional wooden or cast iron balustrades. The only issue is that now you have a blank painted wall that runs along your stairs and void, and it looks kind of boring.
The way I personally dealt with this was to dress it up with a nice large scale mural. Like you would expect to see in a hotel lobby (just on a more residential scale).
I personally found these pictures while I was in Japan. They are about $60 each from a souvenir store in Shinjuku. However, any nice custom sized wallpaper mural would work just fine, which is easily available from AJ Wallpaper (here in Australia or anywhere else in the world) - https://www.ajwallpaper.com.au/. However if you are in Victoria you can visit their showroom at 3/1488 Ferntree Gully Rd, Knoxfield VIC 3180, phone 1300 654 118.
As these Japanese pictures are block printed on delicate rice paper, I needed to get them professionally mounted on MDF board. This was about $450 for 5 pictures, which I needed to cover the wall space.
The next step was then to attach, mount or hang them on the wall.
You could leave it here at this point, however to better protect and display the pictures its best to frame them under UV proof glass or polycarbonate or acrylic. Framing this size picture is difficult, yet alone around a 90 degree bend, so you will need a professional carpenter or kitchen maker to handle cutting the frame. Depending on how far your pictures sit off the wall you may also need to craft up a support frame, on which the gold display frame can be mounted upon.
If you live in or near Brisbane you're in need a high quality carpenter, who charges very modestly I personally use and recommend Jack Wright from BUILDWRITE INNOVATIONS, Website: http://www.buildwright.com.au/, phone number 0403760176.
Personally I crafted a frame from 18 mm x 18 mm pine dressing timbers I purchased from Bunnings. Depending on the pine, they range from approximately $4.50 to $12 per 2.4 to 2.7 meter length (I needed 15 of them). In my case I needed 3 layers of timber to create my support frame. The first frame layer I painted in white ceiling paint to create like a picture matt. Using screws I then attached the 22 mm shelf lip timber to the white painted first frame layer, to hold the poly-carbonate sheets, I will slide in later. The second layer of 18 mm x 18 mm pine timber frame was attached to the first layer using screws. This second layer attaches to the "wall", so I drilled holes aligning with the "wall's" timber studs. Then there is a third layer 18 mm x 18 mm pine timber frame that screws into the second layer frame. This is where the gold frame will be screwed into.
Install the bottom frame first and measure the dimensions of the UV resistant poly-carbonate sheeting that will be required. If you're in Brisbane the best place to buy this is from BFS Plastics - 56 Pentex St, Salisbury QLD 4107, (07) 3276 7933, http://www.bfsplastics.com.au/. They have the best quality product, service and price. All up to frame this picture in 3 mm poly-carbonate sheeting with double sided UV protection coating was $219.78 (or 2 sheets at $99.99 + GST). Then once you slide in the poly-carbonate sheeting, install the top frame and side frame pieces, ready for the gold frame to be measured, cut and installed.
I also then sourced some resin deer statues from Ebay, and Araldite glued them to the stair rail. The set of deer included one standing deer and one sitting deer, so I bought 3 sets.
The lengths of gold framing I was lucky enough to source them from a closing down sale of a framing business. You'll need a professional carpenter who isn't afraid of taking on a challenge and has the skills to do it quickly and efficiently. It's also nice to have someone who doesn't leave a mess at your place and doesn't wear his shoes in the house. Personally I use and recommend Jack Wright from Buildwright Innovations if you're in or near Brisbane. Website: http://www.buildwright.com.au/, phone number 0403760176. They are qualified for all kinds of renovations and building projects, and thankfully they don't mind doing little tricky jobs. Just so you know I had to go through 4 different carpenters till I fortunately found him.
I had some extra lengths of gold framing which Jack Wright used to further dress up the pony wall. Unfortunately I was a bit short of one kind of gold framing, which I will have to find and use to finish the job. However I have to say I'm very happy with how this project is progressing.
Part Two of this blog article will deal with adding ornate plaster details and some more mural ceiling wallpaper which just arrived from AJ Wallpapers.
Then our plain old pony wall will really look like how I envisaged it could be. So check back in a couple months for part 2 of this stair rail transformation.
Till then hope your own home transformations are going well,