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So we both walked into the apartment this evening with baited breath, half-expecting it to look like it did yesterday, with nothingness in the living room (just in case they went back to Africa time and decided not to do anything today). But it's starting to get more exciting now. The stairs have been bolted into the ground, although each individual step is not welded to the main stem yet. We've traipsed up and down and it's a bit scary-unsafe... but they'll weld it together once the top's been completed.
So right now it's a staircase to nowhere... it just goes up but doesn't join to the upstairs bit yet. Part of the old crappy staircase frame is now being fashioned into a gangplank to join the stairs to the loft, if that makes sense. It's looking like an iron sculpture in the living room now.
Also looks like part of the balustrade is sitting in the corner, waiting to be attached. YAY! More pix in the album on the left.