The integration of outdoor and indoor living spaces is a growing design trend. A concept first popularized by Frank Lloyd Wright, organic architecture aims to intertwine the spaces of a home by creating a seamless aesthetic between the interior and the exterior. While this can be accomplished in many ways, utilizing design elements that are consistent both inside and outside the home can create a perfectly unified living space.
For instance, coordinating an interior banister and staircase with an outdoor deck railing can synthesize the two spaces into a more fluid living area. One way to create this harmonic look is to opt for a railing infill that utilizes modern, resilient materials such as cable railing. This sleek, contemporary infill – known for its ability to “preserve the view” – also offers a great way to update and visually expand the appearance of interior spaces.
According to Tim Quigley, founder and owner of Quigley Decks, the use of cable railing inside and outside the home, “brings out the house without drawing attention to itself.”
Quigley shares three ways contractors can incorporate cable rail infill, such as Feeney’s CableRail, into a home’s interior along with tips for properly installing the infill.
- Balconies. A simple way to increase the feeling of openness in an interior space is to update a balcony by swapping out old wood or metal balusters for CableRail infill. Quigley recommends mounting posts at the top or base on balconies, rather than from the side, which relies upon the sidewall to support the posts. When doing a top mount, it’s important to buttress the floor to ensure the correct amount of support. Quigley first measures and removes a foot of floorboard and then installs 4×6-inch supports between the floor joists. After returning the floorboards and flooring to their initial spot, he affixes the posts to the supports with 5/16-inch lag bolts.
- Staircases. Exchanging old balusters for CableRail infill creates an unobstructed view of the floorplan while re-establishing the focal point for the design. Hardwood staircases are perfect for this type of remodel because the top rail can be easily matched to the finish of the stairs. Quigley recommends that contractors first repair any holes left after removing old balusters, which can be done by inserting a piece of wood from the stairs’ original tread to conceal the holes. It may necessary to add additional blocking under each stair where a cable post is installed to ensure the stairs can accommodate the loads of the tensioned cables. In the case of knee walls, contractors will need to cut the posts at the angle of the knee wall and confirm that the knee wall is able to properly support the posts. It’s also important to make sure the cables extend past the nose of the stairs. This can be accomplished by performing a “dry fit” with several posts to validate that the cables are correctly spaced.
- Landings and small openings. Many split-level ranches have an open area that’s situated between the upper and lower levels and is partitioned by wood or wrought iron balusters. Removing these balusters and installing CableRail infill expands the look of the space while visibly connecting the two areas. This design approach can also be used for basement landings, which are often awkward in appearance. In each case, the installation process is identical to the process for installing cable railing on balconies.