GOOD

Build an Indoor Stoop

This article is part of The GOOD (and ReadyMade) Guide to Slowing Down, from GOOD Issue 18. Read more of the guide here. Ever since...


This article is part of The GOOD (and ReadyMade) Guide to Slowing Down, from GOOD Issue 18. Read more of the guide here.Ever since we saw the video for the Rolling Stones's "Waiting on a Friend," we've been obsessed with stoops. They inspire leisurely conversation and slow time to a crawl. Sure, you can find excellent stoops in most cities, but if you don't happen to live above one, or if you live in a city with seasons, enjoying this excellent pastime can get tricky. But it doesn't have to. By building your own interior stoop you can easily convert your living room into a space Mick Jagger would envy. Here's how:1. Determine where your stoop might spend most of its time and decide on an ideal height and width. If you have a good window, we suggest making your stoop the height of the window. The width should be determined by how many people you imagine getting to hang out at once, but anything less than four feet might give the impression that your stoop is a stepladder.2. Start noting the stairs you pass and pick out a set that you feel is particularly comfortable for sitting. Pay attention to arm placement for leaning back, foot placement for leaning forward, and how wide each step is. Try to test this out when no one's watching, particularly if you are at work. Take careful measurements of the width and height of the individual stairs.3. You are now equipped to determine how much material you will need for your particular stoop. For most stoops you will need two sheets of four-foot-by-eight-foot half-inch-thick plywood to frame it. If you want your stoop to be taller than four feet, you will need additional sheets. You will most likely need two more sheets that will be cut to size to serve as your stairs. These sheets can be thinner. Quarter-inch thickness here should suffice. You will also need approximately 20 six-foot-long two-by-fours. These serve as the supporting structure for your stoop. We recommend using four two-by-fours for each step.4. Draw the pattern of the side of your stoop on the two sheets of half-inch-thick plywood, and the top and front parts of each individual stair on the thinner plywood. If you are lucky, you can just mosey on out to your garage and cut the sheets with your circular saw. If you don't have a circular saw, it's back to the hardware store for you, where you should be able to get the sheets cut. If your stoop is wider than four feet we suggest making a third frame that will bear additional weight in the middle.5. Take your frames and stand them upright. You will most likely need help for this part. Two assistants should do the trick.6. With the frames standing upright, hammer one two-by-four at the front of the frame and one at the back. Now hammer a two-by-four at the top of the stoop toward the back. The structure should now have integrity.7. For more strength, place your two-by-fours six inches apart all along the bottom and up the back of the sides, forming a strong square.8. Now you are ready to build your steps, placing two two-by-four supports along the front stair edge and two along the top edge on each stair.9. Place a plywood stair pieces on the front and top of each step. The vertical pieces should sit on the side pieces, and the horizontal pieces will cover the vertical ones at the front of each step.10. Now paint your stoop your favorite color or take our advice and cover it in shag carpet. There you have it, an interior stoop perfect for waiting on anyone.Illustration by Tim Lahan
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