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25 Jul 2022

What Should You Consider for a Statement Staircase?

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Changing a staircase is not something one should embark on lightly. However, if it blocks out light, is not well integrated into the house or if it is in a rickety condition, it might be time to look at an alternative.

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A natural time to think about a new staircase is when other renovation work is already taking place. As aesthetic and structural implications need careful consideration, each staircase has to be planned individually, writes Richard McLane, Founder and Design Director at Bisca.

Commissioning a bespoke staircase means you can create an original design to your brief, and for such a complicated project, it is always best to consult a specialist in the field.

Every interior should be treated as a unique space. For example, a sleek, stainless-steel staircase works well in loft-style areas and buildings with a high-tech, contemporary style, whereas a very grand home with an impressive entrance hall requires something more majestic. The stairs should always interact with the building, and the configuration will depend on the space available.

Reasons for a new staircase

The trend toward open-plan living has revealed the staircase in all its glory and promoted its importance. It is no longer out of sight or mind. When removing walls and opening up rooms, a staircase must look stunning from all angles. People are realising that staircases, unlike kitchens or bathrooms, are part of the property’s architecture, and it makes sense to spend the budget on something that will not be ripped out and replaced in a few years. Many homeowners choosing to replace their staircase opt for something individual and timeless.

Arguably, the staircase is the most important means of transport you own. As well as the functional aspect of travelling between floors, a feature staircase can be a thing of beauty and provide a wow factor in a home. The staircase is often the first thing you see when entering a property, creating that all-important first impression. Homeowners see a bespoke staircase as a way of creating something unique to themselves and their home that will also add value to the property. A bespoke staircase sets a house apart from others on the market, offering a chance to command a premium.

Timing

A good time to upgrade a staircase is when extending a house, rearranging living spaces or upgrading to modern living in an older property. When replacing a staircase, you can change the direction of traffic, working around entrances to other rooms, improve the comfort of using the stairs and open out bottom treads to ease the transition from floor to stair. Fitting a new staircase in an older property can maximise the illusion of light or openness. Open treads are an excellent option for maximising light, along with glass balustrades.

Space and layout

Space is one of the defining factors when designing a staircase and is increasing at a premium in homes. The space should be considered as a whole, not just the hallway or immediate vicinity of the staircase. The staircase layout and proportion should be designed in relation to the available space. The last thing you want is to walk into your front door and trip over the bottom step.

Once the staircase layout has been defined, you can start thinking about style and materials. The clever part about design is having the ability and insight to incorporate both traditional and contemporary materials into a commission that withstands the test of time.

Style and aesthetics

Regardless of whether you want a classical or contemporary staircase, it must be in empathy with the rest of the building and not look out of place. A modern staircase in a period property can look stunning if designed and built with the same care and attention to detail employed by the original craftspeople.

New does not have to look stark, or even ‘new’ for that matter. Treads and handrails can be ‘aged’ using many different treatments, even to the point where they blend with old timber. With metal uprights, a skilled blacksmith can recreate the patina of generations using centuries-old forging skills married with modern technology.

Budget

The budget will govern both style and material. For example, a straight flight is less costly than a curved staircase, and a mild steel balustrade is more cost effective than forged or cast bronze.

There are several ways in which an expert staircase designer can achieve both the aesthetic requirements of a property and the homeowner and yet ensure the commission conforms to Building Regulations. Giving thought to details such as spacing of open treads and balustrades as well as more specific solutions to protected architectural features can be accommodated or circumnavigated with intelligent bespoke structural design.

Further information....

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