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