How a Staircase Can Elevate a Home’s Architectural Vision

When is a staircase more than just a staircase?
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The stairs can be a focal point and key architecture element of a space as well as an opportunity for the detailing to reflect something about the design vision and the construction style of the home. The goal of a design forward staircase is that ascending or descending becomes an experience to enjoy rather than just a way to get from one level to the next.

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A staircase can foreshadow interesting materials, details, and themes yet to be experienced. The stairs in this home are detailed with Shou Sugi Ban wood on the side and slatted screen motifs, both borrowed from the Japanese philosophy of Shibui and occurring in many places throughout the house.

The design itself is quiet and condenses the staircase into basic components with nothing extra. The screen motifs throughout the house connect the occupant to the next space, from indoors to outside or from the front of the house to the living space in the back.

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Stairs can create an exciting vertical connection between floors of a multi-level home using rich materials and thematic detailing. This four-story home is built around the elevator at its core with the stairs surrounding.  Visually, the stairs feel lightweight, with parallel spans of plate steel to form the stringer and open risers allowing the light to stream through. The detailing of steel components is consistent with the rest of the home’s industrial materials. Taking the stairs “elevates the experience” of traveling through the levels in this house.

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Stairs can bring natural light, warmth, and openness to a landlocked space lacking windows. This staircase (also featured in the main image) brings light and openness to the room, making it feel bigger, and lends the character and details built into the stairs to an otherwise ordinary space.

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When a home has a predominant material such as a traditional timber frame home, the stairs can provide a counterpoint material for balance. The structurally open stairs in this home combine steel posts, and railings with steel cables, to add a light feeling as well as an industrial twist and add a counterpoint to the warm wood and timber detailing. The result is a modern take on mountain architecture.

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When the entrance is on the ground floor and main living level is above, stairs can welcome visitors into a home and gracefully deliver them to the second floor. In this home, the stairs are a sculptural element that engage and encourage people to climb and enter the living space in a graceful way. The Rock Elm treads are inherently rustic while linear steal and wood elements are cleanly styled for a balance of contemporary design and warmth. This entryway includes an element of the homeowners’ lives, which they enjoy sharing with their guests. Visitors arrive to a preview of the festivities of the evening.

Jeff Gerber is Principal of Design at Gerber Berend Design Build, a Steamboat Springs-based firm that combines experienced designers with meticulous craftsmen forming one integrated team to ensure a smooth, streamlined home building experience. Check out their portfolio or contact them at 970-879-1725.

Content for this article provided by Gerber Berend Design Build.

Categories: Architects, Native Content