Stairways – Ready For a Close-Up!

Published: October 8th, 2012

We all love a great stairway!  A well-crafted stairway reveals an owner’s character and state.  Watching Scarlett O’Hara  run down the stairs at Twelve Oaks was breathtaking simply because the stairway spoke volumes about antebellum plantation wealth.

And who can forget the stairway entrance of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, conveying a final descent into madness?

Here’s an example of a recent project in which clients in a single-family urban home desperately wanted to change their stairway.  The existing one, pictured here, weighed down the house, giving it a dark and claustrophobic feeling.  The stairway conflicts with the contemporary feel of the glass block wall and in fact obstructs it. Its dullness conflicts with the character of the home and its owners, who wanted to create a feeling of light and space.

"Before" staircase
“Before” staircase

Without demolishing the entire stair structure, we conceived new carpentry details and railing system that maximized all of these qualities.

"After" staircase
“After” staircase


The change did everything my clients wanted and more.   Notice how the glass panels play off of the existing glass block, establishing a contemporary look for the remainder of the house.  The stainless steel details and the Maya Romanoff wall covering echo the reflectivity of the glass, adding even more light.  Ascending or descending the stairway is no longer a dull journey between two planes, but rather an experience in and of itself.

Now that’s a stairway that’s ready for its close-up!