When rehabbing her 100-year-old house in Venice Beach , Calif. , architect Isabelle Duvivier wanted to reuse as much of the materials as possible. “We started tearing out walls to update the wiring ,” Duvivier says , “and we came across these pristine fir 2x4s.” All of those wall studs were saved , but strict building codes forbid repurposing the wood for anything structural.
The boards were all uniform , solid , and straight in addition to being gorgeous. Bookshelves and stair treads seemed a natural fit for the wood , especially because they are Douglas fir like the original floors. Given the house’s compact layout , combining the two functions in one space made even more sense. Code dictates stair treads be at least 3 feet wide. Duvivier added an extra foot to that so the shelves segue cleanly into every other tread. Several of the boards were intact at extreme lengths , which allowed most of the shelf spans to be crafted from a single board. The top bookshelf , for example , is one 13-foot-long piece of wood. Existing plaster walls and ceilings meant lathing was nailed to the boards every 2 inches. Duvivier opted to leave the rust-stained nail holes alone as a sign of the wood’s age. Invisible dowels support the shelves for a light floating look to balance the dark wood. Stair treads are suspended from stainless steel cables and boat hardware with powder-coated steel brackets underneath. Duvivier adds that “even the railing was made from one of the reused boards cut in half.”