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
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.