Complete 3D Home Design
Complete 3D Home Design
Bridging the Gap between Idea and Reality
Wolfgang Richter  Tel:828-625-1459
Lake Lure, NC 28746   Cell: 828-691-8439      
....affordable Service in Three Dimenisons
Complete 3D Home Design

A Closer Look

By Wolfgang Richter

Stairways: Necessity, Beauty or in the way?

What is it about stairs that provoke memories of movie sets and expensive tracts of homes with visions of glamorous living and cozy retreats to the upper rooms?
The homes in mountainous areas necessitate stairways in most cases. Stairways can also be an important attribute to any home. They are much more than a number of steps leading from one floor to the other. If designed well, they can become a pleasant passage from one activity center to the other. Infact, staircases are an art form: craftsmen need special training to build them; designers need special knowledge about riser heights, tread widths, vertical clearances and much more. Houses, without proper stair specifications, can often run into significant cost overruns during the building process. For example, the “open underneath” area is frequently underestimated, especially with high ceilings in smaller homes.

There are indeed certain principals which can enhance a stairway even in the most modest of homes.

The stairway has to be designed to augment the experience of entering a different environment from the one we just left behind. Windows serve this purpose by not only giving natural light to the stairway but also allowing a view to the outside, capturing the sense of change in elevation. This is why we often talk about a “flight of steps”.

A change from one floor to another does not have to be a straight shot. It can be broken up in two or three sections, with landings of some interest: a nook with memorabilia, a cozy seat or a window to lighten up the area. Windows can be high so that only the reflecting light on the walls is visible. This serves as a natural stopping point, possibly to overlook the rooms below.

A flight of stairs can also serve as seats. The designer can flair out the lower steps to a family room in order to make room for several people to sit and observe the games being played.

Stairways can be designed with open risers and a center stringer which then becomes a very decorative part of the home. This can contribute to a wider view and a sense of openness to the upper floor and to the lower family room, thus enhancing the beauty to this room as well. On the contrary, closed stairways often have useful storage underneath, which can be important for smaller homes.
On sloping sites and homes which hug the mountain terrain, it can be useful to break up the stairways into several flights of steps, allowing the building to follow the slope of the land and serve rooms at various levels. In our mountains, there are great opportunities to enhance our homes with stairway masterpieces, consisting not only of steps but a multitude of different railings, balusters and posts.

Stairways can also serve as bridges from one environment to another, changing the level of awareness. For example, the designer of the home as well as the interior decorator can honor this transition in a variety of ways: A retreat to a master bedroom needs a transition, even if it is on the same level. The same is true going from the more formal living room to the less formal family room. The transition should never be harsh, but gradual. Through careful design, passages such as stairways can have the potential to be enjoyed for their own merit, offering brief stops at a window seat, bringing attention to a surprising view or a piece of art, providing storage and browsing space for a library or a gallery of images.

Complete 3D Home Design has the experience to personalize your home according topic your taste and budget, whether it is a masterpiece stairway or one designed with a minimal number of steps with later years in mind.


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