Instead of a traditional railing, contributing writer Scott Gibson chose to enclose the open side of his wife’s home-office stairwell with a long bookcase. At 36 in. high, it meets code requirements, increases the room’s storage capacity, and adds a new level of style. Gibson built the unit in his shop as two plywood boxes joined together with front and back face frames. He used mortise-and-tenon joinery on the face frames and doors, and added nine decorative panels on the front and back, painted the same color as the MDF beadboard back. Cantilevered over the stairs, the bookcase occupies little floor space. A ledger and corbels provide decorative support.
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