I think it’s fair to say that we all love the idea of a rolling ladder – the romance of it is seared into our brains from fantasy libraries of yore, a la Belle in Beauty and the Beast. I too was awaiting my big rolling ladder moment and figured that the mudroom was the perfect stage for its big debut. But not having ever done one before I didn’t know how to execute it and surely felt intimidated. They all look vintage but are they really? Is it one of those luxury things that is like $12k? Are they custom-made? Do you have to be a designer to do one? (no, no, can be, no). So today I’ll walk you through our rolling ladder “journey,” as led by ARCIFORM as they have lots of rolling ladder experience. I’m not saying it’s the only way to do them or the only source to get them from (totally not gifted or sponsored) but I was surprised at how not a big deal it was.
How Do You Order A Rolling Ladder?
I don’t have a bunch of options for you, just the one that we ordered. Most of the ladder is standardized – the distance between rungs, the overall width, etc. The most specific piece of information you need to provide, that only you know, is the exact height of the rolling rod/rack pole thing that it slides on and the length of that rod. It’s pure geometry. With this information, they will ensure that the height of the ladder itself is the right angle (not a right angle) to climb up as well as the correct angle when it’s not in use (it retracts much straighter – keep reading). Jamie (our lead ARCIFORM project manager) ensured that we were ordering the right rod height and length because I don’t do measurements accurately.
As you can see there are wheels on the bottom that go right to left, and hardware on top that you install on the rod that rolls left to right (and is very safe as it is secured on top and bottom).
To save space, avoid tripping, and be less of a kid-temptation, the hardware allows it to easily go more vertical and hug the cabinetry. It’s extremely easy to do this and this is how it is most of the time.
What Are The Design Options For Wood, Metal Finish, And Style?
We bought ours from Custom Hardware Services LLC, and you can click here straight into what we bought here: rolling ladders. The metal finish options are below.
We chose black because we had black in our lighting and the Oil Rubbed Bronze looked, well, brown.
We also chose the more old-fashioned brake wheel although I’m unsure how it brakes. But since it’s recommended it felt like the right thing to do.
For wood options, you have cherry, hickory, red oak, and maple. We chose unfinished red oak and it came in a very light color wood (think blonde).
There are more custom options on their site (like adding handrails), I’m really only guiding you through what we did.
If you want to know our exact order (besides the height which is totally up to you) here you go:
“Rolling ladder, Black, Brake wheel, Standard roller, Normal red oak ladder, 20” wide, Unfinished, Straight rails, Normal mount, Regular stop kit, Horizontal brackets, No accessories”
When it came in it was too light for us (to us it looked cheaper and more IKEA-like) and we wanted it slightly darker than the cabinets. Jamie put a clear coat on it and it brought out the grain more, but still too light.
So we ask ARCIFORM to send out their lead painter who is the same guy that matched the wood of our incredible top of the island. He’s been custom-staining anything for years and years and doesn’t just choose one. He’s a real mixologist.
He sampled a few and based on his suggestions (and our opinion) we went with the red mahogany which admittedly I was like, “huh” but he was absolutely right (and he says it’s the stain he uses when he wants something to age well and look older faster). It pulled the tone from the darker tones of the Unique Kitchen And Baths white oak Cabinets and said it will age very nicely.
How Much Did It Cost? And How Long Did It Take?
The ladder and rod system was $1800, with the shipping an additional $200. It comes flat-packed so that doesn’t include the install. It took a day to assemble the ladder and hang the system by someone experienced (shout out to Jamie and Taylor), plus more time for staining. The lead time was around 6 weeks (might have taken longer but it felt around that long). To me both of those things – price and lead time, were reasonable. Could you make this for less? Probably, but not me:)
We love this ladder and of course, want it in all the rooms (Closet? Should we create a library in the family room?) For those of you wondering if it’s dangerous for the kids my response is “eh…not really”. Like most things, when it got installed they were a bit enthusiastic and reckless, but we hammered out some rules quickly and they lost interest. Turns out they don’t really want access to the backup pillowcases as much as they thought they did 🙂
Cabinetry: Unique Kitchen and Baths
Wall Paint Color: Extra White by Sherwin-Williams
Paneling and Trim Paint Color: Dew Drop by Sherwin-Williams
Floor Tile: Pratt + Larson
Tile Installer: Level Plane
Dog Washing Stone: Bedrosians Tile & Stone
Appliances: Build with Ferguson
Stone Fabrication: Alpha StoneWorks
Light Fixtures: Rejuvenation
Rolling Ladder: Custom Hardware Services LLC