Sculptural Stairwells

CUSTOM HOME January-February 2010 Last Detail Under Appreciation Architect Cathi House relied on rugged, exquisitely detailed woods to bring her staircase design to life. The dark red of Santos mahogany graces the steps and cutout accents. The staircase's underside is fashioned primarily from golden anigre.

The ebony horizontal slats at the top of the stairs echo the ebony detailing featured in other parts of the house.

House's design demanded tolerances "so perfect you need a cabinetmaker to do it," she says. The Santos mahogany, in particular, was so strong that "it was like cutting steel. The contractors kept going through saw blades."

The clients own a rare kimono, which inspired delicate details such as a floating staircase.

A closer view of the staircase.

Residential Architect 2011 RADA Steel Stair, Seattle Architectural Design Detail / Grand Stair runs fabricated from folded sheets of perforated steel filter light from a skylight above.

A steel plate railing provides structural support and a visual counterpoint to the semitransparent treads and risers.

The stair from above.

The stair from below.

CUSTOM HOME January-February 2012  Internal Logic A Philadelphia city house rethinks the suburban split. Blackened oak storage consoles double as room dividers throughout the house.

The exterior brick wall continues into the foyer.

A blackened steel stair frame stitches the levels together, as do the oiled steel handrails and pickled white oak flooring.

Residential Architect November-December 2011 Separate but Equal 3six0 Architecture removed layers of carpet and acoustical ceiling tiles to convert this factory building into a loft with two separate living areas.

CUSTOM HOME 2007 CHDA San Francisco Residence Custom Home 3,000 to 5,000 Square Feet / Merit Award Superbly adapted to its urban infill site, this new row house modulates exposure to neighbors and the street but opens wide to its rear garden and interior courtyards.

Remodeling Magazine October 2010 Best of the Year: Urban Renewal The owners of this end row house in Washington, D.C., wanted a more open space that felt like an art gallery. Architects John Burke, Hans Kuhn, and Chris DeHenzel came up with the idea of a light tunnel to bring an airy feel to the center of the house. The remodeled main floor of the home has the quality of a plaza or outdoor space.

CUSTOM HOME September-October 2009 Last Detail Stair at This The centerpiece of a remodel that joined two existing San Francisco row houses into a strikingly modern residence, this flowing stair provides both circulation and sculptural interest.

Residential Architect 2012 RADA  Chuckanut Ridge, Bow, Wash. architectural detail / merit The design of the Chuckanut Ridge stair is based on traditional Japanese tansu step chests.

The stair compartment also holds a small bar area and access to the family room.

While the stair’s form derives from a Japanese archetype, its red lacquer finish speaks of China.

CUSTOM HOME CHDA 2012 Wheeler Residence, Scarsdale, N.Y. Custom Detail Stainless steel rods provide deceptively solid support for a stair that seems to float in space.

The stainless steel rods are joined by threaded couplings hidden within the thickness of the wood.

Residential Architect 2008 RADA xeros residence, phoenix project of the year A sumptuously curving stairway serves as the studio's grand flourish.

Residential Architect 2010 RADA Claremont House, Chicago architectural design detail / merit Occupying a space that extends from the front of a deep, narrow townhouse-form residence to the rear, this stairwell conveys not only people, but also light, air, and even structural stresses in the building frame.

The steel stringers are set flush with the white oak paneling on one side and the plaster surface on the other.

Residential Architect 2009 RADA live, dine, sleep, reno, nev. kitchen / merit Changes in cabinet depth indicate a subtle shift from living space to kitchen.

The metal stair leads from the second-floor main living space to a reading loft. Custom cabinetry throughout the home stores kitchen and laundry supplies, as well as other secrets.

CUSTOM HOME 2010 CHDA Lagoon Pond Pavilion, Vineyard Haven, Mass. Merit Award / Custom Detail A balcony and three bedrooms on the upper level overlook the water and are reached via the house's glass stairs.

The glass stair doubles as artwork in the house's central gallery. Its reflective translucency scoops light into the deepest part of the structure, and a steel rod suspension system eliminates obtrusive columns.

Looking down into the foyer from the glass hallway.

CUSTOM HOME July-August 2005 Last Detail Stair Tribute Nothing less than Michelangelo's Laurentian Library steps served as inspiration for the grand foyer stairwell.

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