Designing staircases as functional artwork
With the continued popularity of open floor plans, we are taking the opportunity to design staircases as pieces of art, rather than designing staircases solely as functional circulation spaces. Working closely with the homeowner, we create pieces that not only enhance the architectural design but showcase the homeowner’s artistic sensibilities. Explore some of the design elements and considerations we have incorporated within a few of our past projects.
When designing the home above, we focused on connecting the heart of the home. The kitchen, dining spaces and bedroom levels are all connected with an open and airy staircase. Open risers and steel stringers paired with a glass railing allows natural light to flood into the main living spaces from the windows on various levels. The staircase is also an inviting vantage point, which one can view the home and backyard. Due to its inherent strength, the steel structure for this staircase is minimal but still allowed for large spans for a more open look.
Always keeping functionality in the forefront, the wrap design of the stairs in Maroon Creek Residence was paramount in order to highlight the homeowner’s eclectic art collection. Immediately upon entering the home, guests are drawn to the one-of-a-kind sculpture and are invited on a journey through a series of black and white photos, which are showcased by the stairway’s specific design. With the home’s open floor plan residing on the main and upper levels, the transparency of the glass rail allows the art collection to be viewed from multiple vantage points and invokes a true art gallery experience.
During a remodel project, a staircase is often a place with many opportunities for transformation. We embraced these opportunities on a recent full renovation of a duplex in Aspen, Colorado shown above. Since the entry door opened directly to the staircase, making a lasting first impression was essential. We achieved an inviting design and maintained the home’s cohesiveness with carefully selected materials. We utilized steel stringers and open risers with block treads to present a modern and industrial design that invites guests up to the main living area. The glass rail enhances the natural light from the windows, allowing the entry to feel bright and inclusive.
Beautiful, inviting staircases are not limited to steel and glass. The examples shown above and below use more traditional materials and designs, while still incorporating specific design elements for continuity within the home. Above, the rich walnut wood paired with a custom iron and glass rail embraces a craftsman feel with a contemporary twist.
Below, the continuity of materials provides a serene transition from the main living spaces to the private bedrooms above.
A staircase truly has the ability to take a home to the next level. Utilizing artistic design, structure and materials, an architect can help you create a unique, show-stopping staircase within your home.
Jamie L. Brewster McLeod is the President at Brewster McLeod Architects, an award‐winning boutique Architecture firm specializing in luxury residential Architecture in Aspen, Colorado. Contact Jamie and her team at 970-544-0130, or visit their page.
Content for this article is provided by Brewster McLeod Architects, Inc.