Stair Parts Guru: Carl Bouchee
If there was a wise wizard sitting atop a mountain with all the imaginable information on stair parts, it would be Carl Bouchee. With his 38 years of industry experience, Bouchee regularly advises homeowners, architects, high-end builders and remodelers on their custom stair system needs.
“I’ve got to admit, after almost four decades in the stair industry people do come to me a great deal for advice because of my history,” says Bouchee, an outside sales representative with L.J. Smith® Stair Systems out of Puyallup, Wash. “I’m involved from start to finish with custom projects. This includes the design, pricing, shop drawings, delivery times and working with the installers.”
Dedication to Custom Projects
Every year Bouchee juggles 30 to 40 different custom projects. “Every job is different and after the first meeting I normally understand what the needs will be for a project,” says Bouchee. “I’ve never found one repeat project. That’s what makes this interesting. Crafting one-of-a-kind stair system projects is an adventure.”
Working within a department of eight craftspeople, Bouchee and the team thrive on unique challenges. A project back in 2016 for a homeowner in Lake Tapps, Wash. stands out for Bouchee. “This was a custom free-standing walnut stair system. After we developed the stairs, the homeowner came in and constructed the stainless steel rail system. It looks terrific together.”
Two projects for Aegis Assisted Living facilities in the Seattle area also stand out for Bouchee during his seven years with L.J. Smith.
“There’s a project at Aegis Living Queen Anne Rodgers Park that includes the bending of a beautiful red oak stair system, says Bouchee. “It was stained in black walnut. The bending of this large railing, which was more than 25-feet wide, was really a challenge.
“At a different Aegis facility in the Ravenna District of Seattle our team created a custom alder rail. We had to pre-bend the rail to fit with the iron balustrades and there was a custom newel design. We’re really proud of this showpiece railing system at this assisted living location.
“Each specialty project is just that … special. The stair systems we create at L.J. Smith demand our full attention and skills. Everyone on our team relishes the opportunity to create unique, lasting stair systems that help unite the theme of a home or commercial project.”