Cozy (small!) wartime house ca. 1942. The cover to the attic is showing signs of wear, replacing the cover with a maple hatch would be easy. Who wants easy, though?
There isn't a lot of clearance for stairs. The following image illustrates the dimensions in context:
The red lines show that a space-limiting beam extends down to the same height as the top of the door frames. The beam restricts the amount of space available for a ladder. The short blue line shows the distance between the beam and the edge of the attic entrance--this is a straight measurement flush with the ceiling.
The long blue line shows the distance between the bottom of the beam and the hinge-side edge of the attic hatch. Pythagoras suggests that the beam's height is 15.5" and the angle (from the would-be hatch's hinge-side to beam bottom) is 28.7 degrees.
Hot Water Tank
Speaking of degrees... There's a stainless steel hot water tank in the attic that, presumably, will need to come down some year. This implies that the installation must be reasonably easy to remove or not significantly reduce the miserly 26" of clearance.
What types of attic ladders--or other built-in solutions--would accommodate such a cramped space (e.g., scissor attic ladders)?