Design snapshot: Stair with flair - Fine Homebuilding

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Square One: Good Home Design Starts Here

Square One: Good Home Design Starts Here


Design snapshot: Stair with flair

comments (4) December 15th, 2011 in Blogs
KHS Katie Hutchison, Contributor

Click To Enlarge Photo: Katie Hutchison

Residential architects generally love stairs. Stairs invite us to sculpt. They provide scale since step dimensions directly relate to the human body. They offer vertical relief from the otherwise horizontal realm of our typical day-to-day experience. Mostly, they provide an opportunity, in a single architectural feature, to distill an overall design concept. Their form, craftsmanship, materiality, and finish can speak volumes.

This staircase does. It's representative of many finely wrought antique staircases in Salem, Massachusetts. The boxed raised-paneled risers are especially noteworthy. Look closely at the balusters too. There are three per tread -- each a different turned shape above the knuckle. The starting newel is a marvel; the corkscrew shape seems to foretell the winding path of the stair climber. The wall panels below the staircase and the wainscot that travels up alongside it elegantly accommodate the staircases’s dynamic geometry. This staircase is the accent feature in a Georgian home in which carefully proportioned wood details differentiate walls and space throughout. It is uniquely of its time and context.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast and SquareOne

 

Read more design snapshots by architect Katie Hutchison.


posted in: Blogs, architecture, Design, Design snapshot, stairs, risers, boxed risers, balusters, newel

Comments (4)

tinagleisner tinagleisner writes: Fascinating that you can (and maybe should) focus on stair trim as if they're a work of art on display for all who walk by or up/down the stairs. I would guess though that you can't add more trim than you have elsewhere in the room or house.
Posted: 3:12 am on December 20th

tinagleisner tinagleisner writes: Fascinating that you can (and maybe should) focus on stair trim as if they're a work of art on display for all who walk by or up/down the stairs. I would guess though that you can't add more trim than you have elsewhere in the room or house.
Posted: 3:11 am on December 20th

KHS KHS writes: This stair dates back to c. 1768, so it's non-conforming.
Posted: 1:58 pm on December 18th

rdf-pe rdf-pe writes: I can't be 100% sure from the picture, but it appears that the winders aren't to code (6" min tread depth)
Posted: 10:07 pm on December 17th

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