Woman exposes 'hidden killer' that's popular in old houses: 'Total death traps'

A homeowner on TikTok fascinated her followers with the “deadly” staircase that connects her bedroom with her kitchen.

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Kim Tierney (@bloomfieldfarm) and her husband bought Bloomfield Farm in 2018. The house was built in 1774 and abandoned for the past 50 years or so. The couple decided to take on Bloomfield as a major DIY restoration project and tried to keep as much of the original pieces of the house as possible.

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Since then, the couple has updated their 237,000 TikTok followers with tours of the home.

In one video that caught a lot of attention, Tierney explained that in addition to the main staircase, there was another way for her to get downstairs in the mornings — by “traveling the dangerous Victorian stairs.”

“Victorian stairs could be referred to as ‘hidden killers,'” Tierney explained in the TikTok’s text. “Made too narrow, made too steep, with irregular steps.”

Tierney added that these stairs were for the servants and other staff to travel out of sight throughout the house. Plus, to keep the rooms bigger and save space, families would build the staircase against code.

Historic building consultant Nathan Gros told Absolute History that the back staircase was “built of the cheapest softwood you could possibly buy — you’d be lucky if there [were] handrails.”

“Safety really wasn’t high on the agenda,” Gros said. “Total death traps.”

Based on studies, Absolute History also noted that someone is six times more likely to fall walking down the servants’ steps than a regular, properly measured staircase. Not only was the staircase steeper, but the individual steps were uneven.

When Tierney filmed herself walking down the staircase, she pointed how she had to turn sideways to walk down.

“Add the weight of trays or the complication of long skirts could easily prove fatal,” she wrote.

Even without the trays or a long skirt, Tierney had to hold onto the walls to guide herself safely down the staircase.

Commenters were stunned by the staircase especially. As one user put it, “If my server is bringing me food, I would like them to continue to live.”

“I work in an old mansion with these stairways!” another person said. “They are atrocious.”

“Sometimes I wonder how anyone survived the Victoria era,” someone pointed out. “What with dangerous stairs and toxic wallpaper.”

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