Let’s discuss stairs – specifically walls, steps and landings that make up a stairwell. As a designer, I believe that stairs are one of the most underutilized spaces especially in open concept homes. Think about it, if you live in a house built in the past 15 years you probably do not have much wall space. Architecturally, you have support columns or beams where walls would be placed and windows on the walls that you do have. This transitional area between floors may be one of the few areas where you actually have large wall spaces.
In my own home above, I used that area to display my collection of black and white framed silhouettes. I have been collecting them for years and they started with piece I inherited from a family member. Most of my collection comes from antique and thrift stores. When shopping at these types of stores, I adhered to the idea – if you like it, buy it. Since silhouettes are normally black and white, keeping the theme was easy. Also, I added a coordinating beveled mirror and a few pieces of similar artwork for variety.
Let’s explore some other stairwell ideas. In this home architectural elements were added in the form of a custom made screen. I especially like the color and the non traditional abstract design of the added ‘wall’.
Speaking of architectural elements, I am in love with these custom iron balustrades and railing. The railings look like gorgeous branches reaching upward to the sky. I adore bringing natural elements in designs and this is lovely.
Next is one of the most daring designs I have ever seen. A photo of the Venice canals in Italy was cut into horizontal sections and applied to the vertical treads of this stairwell. The result is striking and the reflection of the buildings in the water is wonderful.
One of the easiest areas to update is the lighting in your stairwell. The traditional railing and carved balustrades are exquisite in this 3-story home. The addition of a 10 foot light fixture adds to the uniqueness.
Lastly, I finish with one of the most fun stairwells I have ever seen. I think this house wins the award for the best house in the neighborhood! Give me a call to discuss some of these ideas in your own home.
First Impressions by Julie Wagner
Chapel Hill, NC