Step up in style with these heav­enly stair­cases

A beau­ti­fully de­signed stair­case can be the ic­ing on the cake for your home, writes Catherine Nikas-Bou­los

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - More NCC, (Aus­tralian Build­ing Codes Board) abcb.gov.au, S&A Stairs sas­tairs.com.au

Build­ing a stair­case from one floor to an­other is much more than a means to an end. The stair­case has be­come a talk­ing point in res­i­den­tial ar­chi­tec­ture and a ma­jor piece in the over­all jig­saw of a home.

Whether it be an ex­pan­sive, the­atri­cal stair­case, Gone With The Wind-style or nar­row New York loft-in­spired de­sign against naked bricks, a stair­case will add in­ter­est and a sense of ar­rival to a home.

S&A Stairs, which has been craft­ing stairs for nearly 100 years, has seen myr­iad of trends come and go.

Sales and mar­ket­ing man­ager, Joel Ac­quroff, says the com­pany has been in­volved in pro­duc­ing stair­cases in some of Aus­tralia’s most ex­pen­sive homes, rang­ing from glass and float­ing steel to pe­riod and con­crete de­signs.

“We have been around for 97 years, so we have seen just about ev­ery­thing,” he says.

Mix­ing your ma­te­ri­als

There are var­i­ous ma­te­ri­als that can be used in the con­struc­tion of stairs in res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, and like all things ar­chi­tec­tural, they go in and out of fash­ion.

Joel says the era of the home will of­ten dic­tate the style of the stair­case, but for those build­ing or with newer homes, sleek and min­i­mal­ist de­signs are on-trend right now.

“This is con­stantly chang­ing, but at the mo­ment open stairs us­ing steel and tim­ber are very pop­u­lar to cre­ate space and light through­out the house,” he says.

“Amer­i­can oak is very pop­u­lar, as are glass balustrades, painted steel balustrades us­ing black, cop­per and gold tones.”

Large com­mer­cial stair­case de­signs in public places such as new hos­pi­tals, mu­se­ums and cor­po­rate head­quar­ters is where real de­sign flex­i­bil­ity comes into play, with space and larger bud­gets giv­ing reign to some spec­tac­u­lar stair­cases.

Joel says that while it might be a bit much to in­cor­po­rate those public de­signs in the res­i­den­tial mar­ket, there’s noth­ing wrong with us­ing them for in­spi­ra­tion.

“We may start to see more ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures and state­ment stairs cre­ated from ideas in the com­mer­cial ar­chi­tec­ture space,” Joel says.

Typ­i­cally, the more com­plex the stair­case, the greater the cost, but like an ex­pen­sive kitchen or bath­room, a de­signer stair­case will make a home more ap­peal­ing.

“Stairs are a great way to add value to any home and cre­ate a point of dif­fer­ence for home buy­ers,” says Joel.

“A ba­sic stair in a house can start at $3000, although ex­cep­tional projects can cost up­wards of $250,000.”

Get­ting a han­dle on reg­u­la­tions

If you’ve come across pictures of stair­cases in in­ter­na­tional mag­a­zines where there is no, or very min­i­mal balustrad­ing, and hope to recre­ate this style in Aus­tralia, you might need to think again.

The NCC (Na­tional Con­struc­tion Code), which is an ini­tia­tive of the Coun­cil of Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ments, sets out re­quire­ments for stair con­struc­tion and de­sign na­tion­ally.

It’s re­spon­si­ble for ar­eas such as the re­quire­ments for balustrades, handrails, an­ti­s­lip sur­faces, height and depth ra­tios of stair treads and the ne­ces­sity of land­ings.

Joel says Aus­tralia tends to have more reg­u­la­tions than other coun­tries when it comes to hous­ing con­struc­tion — and stairs are no ex­cep­tion.

“It’s a pos­i­tive thing for the safety of Aus­tralians, although it doesn’t en­able ar­chi­tects to cre­ate the most dar­ing de­signs in the world,” he says.

“Some key build­ing reg­u­la­tions in re­la­tion to stairs are to do with the rise and run of a stair (an­gle) which can only be so steep, the fact that a handrail is re­quired to hold at all times when go­ing up or down a stair­case and pre­vent­ing peo­ple, in par­tic­u­lar chil­dren, hav­ing a foothold to climb over balustrades.”

This beau­ti­fully ex­e­cuted de­sign by S&A Stairs re­sem­bles the in­te­rior of a seashell. Lights are in­stalled in the wall for safety.

A sturdy ver­ti­cal handrail in Mojo Homes’ En­core 32 al­lows the light to pass through, main­tain­ing a sense of open­ness.

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