Hubby and I live on the third floor, in a block with no lift. The dark, narrow fire escape staircase – all 52 steps of it – from the garage to our front door has become my nemesis.
When I’ve got my goddess on, I start off by sashaying down, chin up and body, elegantly, slightly to the side Miss Universe-style. Inevitably I’m stumbling by the second flight. Going up feels like I’m on a particularly nightmarish episode of Biggest Loser. Ah, for a gracious, spacious, Gone With the Wind-type stairwell (and someone to carry the grocery bags up for me).
Thankfully, nowadays, architects are paying more attention to staircases than they did in the 20s, which is, I think, when the block that I grit my teeth and call “home” was built.
Modern materials and construction methods enable stairs to “float” in space – they become an architectural element rather than a utilitarian necessity. With space in modern homes often being at a premium, staircases are incorporated into living spaces – instead of being walled off and forgotten they are part of the decor. Safety glass and Perspex instead of solid balustrades ensure light, bright stairwells.
One of my (infinitely forgettable) ex-boyfriends had a light-bulb moment when designing his (definitely more memorable) bachelor pad, and built the stairs out of tread-plate – you know, the criss-cross metal stuff that they normally use on Land Rovers. It was, like him, uber-slick and, quite unlike him, rather classy. If he only knew that I think about his stairs more often than I do him …
Two good things came out of that relationship, one being an enduring 10-years-and still-going-strong friendship with Charmaine, who briefly dated one of his friends. The other was an introduction to his architect Deon, who in turn helped with the renovation of my first home. My turn-of-the-century farmhouse had the original Oregon pine floors and ornate pressed steel ceilings but thankfully no stairs. Deon’s home did, though, and his bespoke concrete creations suited his understated style to the T.
Speaking of individual style, houzz.com recently featured an ideabook on personalised stairwells. What fun!
And speaking of fun – don’t you just adore this original idea for a banister?
I love the fact that there is storage built into this flight. (And space to sit, should the climb get too arduous.)
I do realise, though, that most us are stuck with the stairs we have, with little chance of being able to do an expensive remodel. So here’s a nifty last thought on the matter …
And now to don my eight-inch platform stilettos and totter down to the car. Hopefully I’ll make my meeting without twisting an ankle – from the shoes or the stairs.
- Indoor Decor