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In these situations carpenters in the 18th and early 19th centuries would turn to ladder stairs.  Ladder stairs, which were built using two long stringers with the treads secured in slots known as rabbets, were simple, utilitarian stairs commonly found in secondary spaces such as closets and cellars.  To design the stair the architects based their design on other 18th century examples found in Virginia.


The design of the garret stair drawn by architectural historian Jennifer Wilkoski of MCWB Architects.