When our client showed us a photo of a staircase she liked, we knew it was a perfect fit for the rest of the home renovation design: clean lines, subtle lighting, understated sophistication. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we brought her vision to life with custom woodwork and metalwork.
Design Details for a Custom-Built Staircase
The home’s staircase went not only from the second floor walkway to the first floor entry hall, but also from the first floor to the lower level entertainment room. We wanted a unified look to carry through from each vantage point — a simple sophistication that would integrate harmoniously with the new entryway design.
In order to set the stage for bringing all the elements together, we stripped the staircase back to its stringer, removing newels, balusters, and handrails. Holes for low-profile lighting, selected for safety and beauty, were cut into the drywall and wired behind the wall.
Constructing the Staircase Elements
The new staircase design would get its clean, sleek lines from a substantial new skirt that would hide the treads and risers from the side with a minimalist handrail to provide a polished look without making the entry hall feel closed-in.
First we built and installed the skirt board and risers. After replacing the stair treads, we installed pre-drilled newel posts to fit the bold, stainless bolts that would provide extra strength for the minimalist cable rails and added stability for the household’s children to lean on as they climbed up and down to and from their bedrooms.
We then built handrails using beautiful maple wood and hand-made wood mock-ups for the metalsmiths to use as templates for the new handrail brackets. We fitted the mock-ups to the staircase posts to ensure their fit and to provide the metalsmith with the exact specs for the finished custom metalwork.
Fabulous Finishing Touches
Once we installed the stylish custom metal brackets, we were ready to stain and finish the maple posts. We chose a rich, dark stain for the handrails, newel posts, and treads to bring out the wood’s grain and add a touch of drama to the surrounding crisp, clean framing. The look carries through to the lower level, where the stairs are carpeted in a cool grey.
Finally, we stretched the cables through the bannisters, tightening them over the course of the next week or so until they’d stretched to their final tensile point. The cables add strength and stability to the railing, as well as visual interest.
With the new lighting built into the drywall, the staircase strikes a beautiful balance between practical, family-friendly sturdiness and tasteful minimalism.