cable railing

EHH week 31: interior stair

Most of the main rooms are on the upper floor of this house, but a few important rooms are on the lower floor.  The stair between them is intended to allow a visual and audible awareness between the two levels, so that the upstairs and the downstairs would feel connected.


The design of the stair is decidedly modern in keeping with the aesthetic of the house.  The treads have open risers and the railing is a minimal cable style.  The treads are detailed to appear to float with hidden brackets connecting them to the side wall.  The open risers also allow the homeowners to see through the stair so the downstairs hallway does not feel like a dead end.


The metal for the stair is made of 85% recycled content steel, finished with a durable and low toxic polyester powder coating.  The wood treads are salvaged lumber from the military port of Oakland CA from buildings constructed in 1941, finished with a low VOC water based polyurethane.


After the house was framed, we shifted the stair about 1 foot to make more room at its head end.  The passage from the downstairs hall beneath the sloping steel beam felt a bit tight when we mocked it up.  Because the stair passes under a closet, we framed the floor of that closet a little shallower to afford more headroom.  Anticipating this possible change, we had earlier oversized the structural floor opening at the stairwell in case we needed to shift the stair.  I’m glad we planned for that!