The dutiful up-down series of steps with its uniform treads and risers, balustrade made of newel posts, spindles and handrail, which is used to access different levels of a structure is one variation of a stair design. But, from ancient history, staircase have inspired builders to flights of fancy in timber, wrought iron, steel, granite, clay, rocks, glass, Lucite and reinforced concrete. If you are designing staircase for your home, know basic conformations, but investigate the depths and heights of imaginative stair treatments.
Your inner Scarlet or Cinderella will enjoy the theatrical ascents and descents all in a day’s operation in a place with a grand stairs. The entrance may open to twin staircases — one on either side of the space — rising to a central bridge on the mezzanine or second floor that is part of the upstairs hall. A huge central stair that narrows as it rises can lead to separate hallways on each side of the upper level. However the single or double stair is resized, such a focal point requires the luxury of finely polished hardwood, gleaming marble or smoothed limestone staircase, flanked by ornate wrought-iron or elegant hardwood balustrades, lit with a glittering chandelier and accentuated by a fine oriental runner above risers and treads.
The wrought-iron spiral stairs is a compact method to deal with life’s ups and downs, especially if you reside in a lighthouse. But that artist-in-a-garret vibe is just one cliched way to go around the stairs dilemma in a tight area. Powder-coated white steel with blond wood steps is a lighter variation. A spiral of clear or tinted glass steps winding around a central support rod is another. Hardwood measures encased in a twisting black funnel of painted curved hardwood hints at something marine and mysterious. An ordinary hardwood staircase with banister, newel posts and broad treads becomes a conversation piece and playground when it’s swirled into a spiral which supports a functional slide curved to the shape of the stairs and running across its side.
Floating steps seem to be hovering between the mundane realms and a few heavenly destination — whether they’re black slate, tempered glass, hardwood skateboard-shaped treads, slate tiles or slabs of travertine. The steps are simply identical treads, inconspicuously bolted to the wall or supported by a cleverly disguised brace under. A floating stairs is stunning when unaccompanied by any restrictive stair rails but that may be vertigo-inducing for the faint-of-heart and downright dangerous for very young or very old residents. An almost invisible safety rail made of steel cables, or a clear Plexiglas side panel removes the experience and the danger if you adore the look but are not match for potential falls from grace.
Solve the space issue as the quantity of the novels falls and rises with a library stairs made to corral your collection. A novel nook is built in under every tread, and the enclosed sides of the stairwell are library shelves. Hardcovers, soft covers, magazines and comics are happily housed where it is possible to see them lined up in neat rows — and also reach them with no ladder. A library stairs is a custom addition to a new house or renovation which may pay for itself many times over in convenient storage and ready access to your books.