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Because the renovators squeezed a half bathroom in the space beside/under the stairwell, there is an awkward 3-4" dead space between the banister and the stairwell wall (pics below).

I've never quite seen anything like this, so I'm a bit puzzled as to how I could eradicate this space.

It might be helpful to know that both the stairs and the adjacent hallway are already quite narrow (25 in. or 63.5 cm each).

View from first floorClose-up viewTop of the stairs

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I think I'd go with part of my original answer, but leave the railing as-is. Take the balusters out for all treads above the new wall. Replace the treads and risers with longer ones that extend all the way to the wall, closing the gap. Replace the balusters. Done deal. I wouldn't even mess with the framing.

You'll have a little bit of wasted tread space along the wall, but it'll be much less odd than a deep gap. The lowest riser would notch over the wall over the new doorway. It looks like a very clean situation from here.


[original answer]

Were it my home I'd return the handrail into the wall and widen the five upper stairs to the wall, filling in as appropriate above the bathroom door casing to the first wide tread.

I can't see what's going on with the soffit/ceiling above the lower hall, but you might also be able to extend the wall above the bathroom door to meet the stairs, and either terminate the railing there or run it past/above the wall, which will either have a ledge at the top or run all the way to the high ceiling.

  • How would this look without replacing the whole railing system? – DMoore Jan 31 '17 at 18:13
  • Very nice, if I did it. :D I pictured a return of the railing with some of the extra rail and using one or two of the leftover balusters if needed. – isherwood Jan 31 '17 at 18:35
  • I agree with you on everything... but just not very DIY. Actually I wouldn't trust this to anyone other than a company specializing in stairs/railings. The railing with have to be cut in place, there will need to be an exact match on wood, you will then need tread support for the remaining stairs, redo each tread... I could see a 2k quote. – DMoore Jan 31 '17 at 18:40
  • Fair enough, but I don't see a need for new railing parts, and the treads are so ratty and stained that a close match would do. The extension is so minimal that new framing might not even be needed. A boxed riser/tread assembly would be more than rigid enough to span the 4 inches. – isherwood Jan 31 '17 at 18:43
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    Remember by code your mitred return has to continue to the top of the stairs. So you need an match on that rail for the 1 foot return. I think this just illustrates my hatred of working on stair railings. – DMoore Jan 31 '17 at 18:54

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