Straight & nar­row

Small space stair­cases are taking in­te­rior style to the next level, writes Catherine Nikas-Bou­los

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Home - - FRONT PAGE - Pic­tures Bob Barker and John Fo­tiadis More all­worth­; claren­; fowler­

Some­times ne­ces­sity is more than the mother of in­ven­tion — it’s a whole new style state­ment. As block widths con­tinue to shrink to as lit­tle as 9m wide, the avail­able space comes at such a pre­mium that of­ten the best way to go is up. And the ob­vi­ous way to get there is with a stair­case.

All­worth Homes manag­ing di­rec­tor Stephen Thomp­son says space might be lim­ited, but builders are re­spond­ing to the chal­lenge with slim­line stair­cases that are mak­ing their own style state­ment. In a nar­row block, it makes no sense to po­si­tion the stairs in the mid­dle of the house, but a side wall of­ten works well.

“We’ll usu­ally put stair­cases near a win­dow to add vis­ual in­ter­est and draw in nat­u­ral light, and we’ll use ma­te­ri­als such as glass and stain­less steel balustrades to make the space ap­pear larger than it ac­tu­ally is,” Stephen says.

An open stair, where the riser is miss­ing, can also give the stair­case a lighter feel.

“It’s all about mak­ing it look nicer as op­posed to some­thing very util­i­tar­ian.”

One step at a time

To make the room feel spa­cious on the up­per floor, ide­ally the stair­well land­ing should open up to an ac­tiv­i­ties or liv­ing space.

“Putting it next to a hall­way will make that space feel quite tight,” Stephen says.

Undeniably, glass is a key ma­te­rial in nar­row stair­case de­sign, as op­posed to the tra­di­tional tim­ber balustrades, but it can also be an ex­pen­sive op­tion.

Us­ing it on the bot­tom sec­tion of the stair­well only is one way to cut costs, giv­ing the feel of open space in the main liv­ing ar­eas on the ground floor.

The type of ma­te­rial used on the tread can also blow out costs, but a hard­wood tim­ber will get the most beau­ti­ful re­sults. It’s also in­cred­i­bly hard-wear­ing for high traf­fic ar­eas.

Car­pet is the other most com­mon choice for stair treads, es­pe­cially where noise trans­fer­ence is an is­sue.

Given it’s such a busy area, a com­mer­cial grade car­pet is a prac­ti­cal choice.

The blond tim­ber and glass de­sign on the Ne­whaven 43 by Met­ri­con looks smart against the white walls and floor. Care­fully po­si­tioned lights on the wall en­sure safe pas­sage, day or night.

The Gal­le­ria 24 by Fowler Homes is just over 11m wide with a nar­row, car­peted stair­case.

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