I used to be asthmatic as a kid. While asthma flareups are pretty rare now, the condition contributed to my dislike of carpeting. Thankfully, hardwood in the PNW was pretty inexpensive in the mid 90's and one of the first changes I made to the place was get rid of the carpeting in the more public areas. I liked the stairs location but not the carpet or the handrail and balusters. The hutch was useful but the doors were outdated even then and the transition from the cabinet to the storage access door did'nt feel right. Here's the original dining area
My wife and voice of reason has been after me to put handrails for as long as I can remember. Now that our parents are older a handrail on the wall is on my to-do list. The stone wall was a 2009 weekend project that Geri's dad helped us with. The beam was a $16 purchase at the Recycling Center in NE Portland. The dining table was one of my earlier woodworking pieces. Here is the room in 2012 state.
And a view from the stairs. As for the cats, we've failed as parents