Staircases are an all-too-often overlooked feature. We take them for granted because they’re a necessity. A staircase is a key feature that helps to define the character of your home. Often it’s the first thing anyone coming into your home will see. A bespoke staircase could be a big step in creating a home that’s unique, charismatic and communicates so much about you.
Planning your staircase
Like any other feature, your staircase needs to be in-keeping with the existing character of your home. If your property is a traditional period one, a floating set staircase or a set of steel steps aren’t going to communicate the character you’re after. But traditional never has to be boring or samey.
A previous Nutshell Construction project; a barn conversion with traditional timber and helical staircase design.
You’ll need to think carefully about materials if you’re planning a new staircase. Traditional timber is a popular choice because of its versatility; it can be combined with other materials for a more contemporary feel, crafted into a spiral staircase or left as is to beautifully complement a period property.
Stone staircases add a touch of the traditional but with a more timeless appeal. Stone staircases often bridge between contemporary and traditional, adding elegance and class that works with period architecture and modern interior schemes – be aware of weight issues if you’re considering this.
Toughened glass and steel are fast becoming popular materials for contemporary properties and often create stunning stand-alone designs. Teamed with wood, these materials can add a contemporary touch to a traditional property whilst retaining warmth and period charm.
Picking the right material will dramatically change your living space; the material of your staircase defines its character.
Design and decoration
As we’ve already mentioned, staircases are a major thoroughfare within the home. However, this does not exempt them from being beautifully designed or decorated. When it comes to staircases, many people ignore their decoration, a decision that is often thoroughly thought through in other areas of the home.
Features such as spindles, spirals, bannisters and balustrades, and materials all impact on the final design and provide plenty of scope for making a statement and creating a space that’s your own.
A few designs to consider are:
Straight stairs – straight doesn’t necessarily mean dull. Cladding in a different material, or redesigning the balustrade are easy ways to instantly make more of a statement with your existing staircase.
An example of a bespoke straight staircase by Nutshell Construction, with plenty of space beneath for an open plan feel.
Spiral and helical staircases – there is a difference between these two designs and each can be beautiful but with a slight difference. Spiral staircases revolve around a central pole and tend to have just one handrail. Helical staircases don’t have this central pole and tend to have two handrails. Spiral designs are great if you’ve got a smaller space to work with; helical designs usually need a lot of space to achieve the sweeping look.
Cantilevered (floating) stairs – this is a perfect look for more modern properties, especially if you’re looking for a stunning, space saving solution. It’s worth noting that your property probably needs to be modern, as well as fairly sturdy in order to support these stairs. Because the weight of each step is supported by one wall, you need to be sure there’s no crumbling brickwork or underlying problems before getting started with these feats of engineering. UK regulations also require you to have a balustrade, affording you another opportunity to exercise your creativity. Bear in mind that these staircases should always be installed by a professional.
How to plan
Like any project, there are some things to consider before you start:
Prepare for disruption – there will be dust, and, unless you have a second staircase you won’t be able to access the upper floors of your property for a short time whilst the project is underway. Because we understand that we are entering your living space, Nutshell will attempt to make the process as disruption-free and enjoyable for you as possible.
Consider your property – how big is it? What space is available to you? Is there a distinct style or character that the staircase needs to communicate? We’ve mentioned that staircases are easily overlooked, but if yours is too big for the space or the design sticks out like a sore thumb then it will be the only thing people will notice, but in a negative way.
Think carefully about materials and design – we’ve given you some idea of the choices available. Take the time to consider what you want to achieve, as well as the character of your property. It may be that combining materials or designs might work best for your home.
Sometimes it’s possible to achieve a spectacular, bespoke staircase without a complete re-build. If this is the case all you need to do is change the features of your stairs. Try carpeting bare steps, cladding in a different material, or changing the bannisters and balustrades.
If you need advice on planning, designing or constructing a bespoke staircase, get in touch with us at Nutshell Construction. We’re always open to chat about your big ideas.