Sometimes the master carpenter is like a musician, exhibiting the technical skill to make complex moldings turn a corner, leaving a perfect joint, one too tight to get a hair or a razor into. And sometimes they are there to solve deceptively simple but stubborn problems, like a basement access that is so awkward and inconvenient that it can’t be used from year to year.



The stick is backup, not necessary. Door stays up by itself.

A tight urban footprint can dictate multiple use compromises that are less than ideal. An example is this West Cambridge basement bulkhead, located under a small outdoor deck off the kitchen. The builder of the original deck thoughtfully provided a hatch to access the bulkhead stairs, but the hatch was so heavy that it hadn’t been removed once, since the deck had been built, effectively blocking outside access to the basement.

The owners were very concerned that there should not be a repeat of this outcome, and we assured them that access would be simple and easy. In the end, a single action gives access from either direction. If you pick up the deck hatch, up comes the bulkhead door. If you push up the bulkhead door, up goes the hatch. In mahogany.

In the picture, you’ll note a prop. This is just for show, or backup. If the hatch/door goes up, it stays up on its own, no prop necessary.