Milou has feeling much better lately, and has also learned to use the stairs to get up and down into our bed. He seems to be getting more comfortable using them, probably in part because Rob built and attached a bookcase to the back of the stairs.
It's not totally finished - Rob and I have talked about staining it, adding trim, making it taller, making it deeper, and that sort of thing. But for now, it's a workable replacement for a bedside table.
To make the bookcase, Rob built a box and covered it with more maple plywood, to make a back for the stairs. He then cut out nooks and added shelves inside.
We had some spirited discussion about his design (I wondered why we couldn't just put a sheet of plywood behind the steps and add shelves onto it from there). I worried that we were throwing away space underneath the shelf cutouts, inside the box that makes up the bookcase.
He compromised by cutting a nook below the shelves so I could access the small space behind the stairs, if that makes sense.
We haven't really decided whether to put a door on this little nook, or a maybe a shelf that pulls up, like a trap door. I'm also wondering what might fit back there. It's not a very big space, and it's awkward to access. (In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have made such a big deal about such a small area. However, in a small house, every inch counts, right?)
It might be a fun little compartment where I can store out-of-season accessories, like hats, gloves and tights. We'll see.
The stairs themselves also have plenty of storage, as you can see, but I haven't decided yet what to put inside them. I could probaby put tennis shoes and flats in them, but they're not tall enough to house my heels. Again, I'm thinking I'll figure this out once I've lived with it a while.
I'm also thinking about covering the stairs with fabric or something similar, but it would have to be a material that's easy to clean. So far, I haven't found it, whatever it is.
Rob also finished rewiring that cool old barn light fixture, and we figured out yesterday how to hang it. He drilled a hole in the side of the new bookshelf, put a bolt through it and secured it with a nut on the other side.
He then used a piece of flat metal behind it to stabilize it, and a wing nut on the outside of the lamp's handle to secure it. I love this method, because it makes the lamp easy to adjust.
I put an Edison light bulb in it, and am loving the yellow light it gives off. We switched our whole house to compact fluorescent bulbs a few years ago, and I never realized how different their light is.
So, there you have it. It's still a work in progress, but I'm able to store much of what was in my bedside table on the bookshelf - books, lotion, nail polish and file, a small Pyrex dish full of hair ties. It's working for now, and it will only get better as we make changes.