Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stop and Stair

My stair

When we were looking for houses in Sacramento, we fell in love with a neighborhood called Curtis Park. The houses date from the turn of the century and most were completed before the 1940's. We bought our first house in this neighborhood, and started our family there. When it came time to find a larger house, we couldn't bear to leave the neighborhood. So we patiently waited. We contemplated adding a second story to our existing house, but didn't think it would pencil out. So we waited some more. Through a total fluke, we found this house....our new-old house. And one of the things that sold us was this staircase. Every day I climb these stairs and think how fortunate am I to get to see them everyday. The craftsman detailing runs throughout the house, but it is the staircase that really shows it off.

The staircase provides such an opportunity to showcase interesting detailing, and can be such an important feature in a home. I have gathered a few that have been collecting in my "idea files" to show you exactly what I mean.

House and Garden November 2005, Photo by Simon Watson

One might think at first glance that this stair is in an old English Tudor home in England. But It is actually in East Hampton Long Island. Elizabeth Brockman converted a Playhouse built in 1916, empty for a decade, into one of the most wonderfully "authentic" Tudors I have seen. With her keen eye for detail, she has collected architectural details to refurbish the home, one of which is this amazing spiral staircase. She happened upon it as it was being unloaded onto a pier. Another serendipitous moment.

House and Garden October 2007, Photo by Simon Watson

This Staircase is in the Galatasaray, Istanbul home belonging to Furniture and Interior Designers, Asli Tunca and husband Carl Vercauteren. Small wonder that they would create such a breathtaking space.

House and Garden March 2004, Photo by Thomas Loof

The simple white walls create the perfect backdrop for this striking modern stair created by Architect Lee Skolnick and Decorator Sharon Simonaire for a vacation home in the Hamptons. The wood railing looks like it is being supported by an iron Jacob's Ladder.

House and Garden September 2006, Photo by Francois Dishinger

This amazing lattice staircase is owned by Phillips Hathaway and graces the front hall of his shop/home (yes, both!), Ragamont House Antiques in Salisbury, Connecticut. Everything in the home is for sale. It might be a bit difficult to let some of these treasures go!

In Style October 2008, Photo byFrancois Halard

If you haven't seen the home of Christian Louboutin in the September issue of In Style magazine, then you are missing something special. There are pictures of the whole amazing French chateau. But since I am discussing stairs, I thought you might like a little glimpse of his front hall. He has lived in the home with business partner Bruno Chamberlain for 20 years. The Estate has been in and out of the Chamberlain family since the Middle Ages. Really a story that you should go out of your way to read.

Elle Decor April 2006, Photo by Simon Upton

American furniture designer Todd Hase and his wife Amy have created a bit of a furniture empire. And to enjoy the fruits of their labor, they acquired a chateau in the French countryside. I love the seemingly simple stair railing, a painted Louis XVIII wood banister. If you look more closely, you cannot fail to appreciate the way the columns have been precisely carved gradually changing proportion as they go up the stair. Beautiful.

House Beautiful, July 1994, Photo by Jeff McNamara

This home built by McKim, Mead and White in 1882, sports a beautiful screen between the living room and stair . Described as a Japanese influenced Aesthetic Movement screen, it was a style commonly used by the architects early in their careers. When the home was purchased by Dick Cavett and Carrie Nye, the screen was hidden away behind wallboard until it was discovered by Nye. And thank goodness! With it's intricate lathe-turned lattice work, it is one of the most stunning details in the home.

House Beautiful May 2006, Photo by Tim Street-Porter

This stair looks like liquid butterscotch spiraling down from three stories high. This house, interior design by Steven Schubel, is located in Marin County California, but could just as easily be from Morocco. The stair was made by Olivier Garnier of Stucco D'Olivetti of San Francisco.

House and Garden February 2007, Photo by Simon Upton

Just a classically beautiful limestone stair with a subtly painted iron banister. The zebra design runner is from Patterson, Flynn and Martin. Interior Design by Michael Simon. Who would think this was a house built in the 60's in Florida?

House and Garden January 2001, Photo by Melanie Acevedo

This home, owned by Bruno Eugene Borie, owner of Lillet, is an 18th century town hose in Bordeaux. Originally built for a wealthy merchant, it was subsequently divided into separate flats in the 19th century, before becoming a private residence once again. What I found so interesting about this stair, is that it on the exterior of the house on a central courtyard, and one must go outside to get from one floor to the next. Sort of romantic I think!

House and Garden July 2007, Photo by Eric Cahan

Even the simplest of stairs can have a story, create a focal, point, or a mood. I love these stairs, from the Maine beach house of the family of Patricia Lansing,( fashion editor for Vanity Fair and Daughter of Carolina Herrera) and her husband Gerrit. Pristine and white, beautiful in their simplicity.

House and Garden June 2003, Photo by Matthias Petrus Schaller

And then we have the "over the top" and stunning stair designed by William Diamond and Anthony Baratta. The floors were hand stenciled by the Diane Warner Studio. The runner is from the Diamond and Baratta Collection by Stark. And yes, you have probably guessed that the hand-painted wallpaper is from Gracie Inc. The stair railings are original to the house, a 19th century East Side New York town house.

Elle Decor February March 2004, Photo by Pieter Estersohn

This very contemporary stair is not without it's own exquisite details. Notice the steel and fluted glass screen standing 16 feet high dividing the stair from the kitchen, inspired by the "industrial windows in the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Berkeley" says owner James Mohn, architect.

Elle Decor October 2007, Photo by William Waldron

I wanted to show this amazing staircase and ceiling because of it's very interesting history. It is the apartment of Valesca Guerrand-Hermes which is found in the Hotel des Artistes, a "Gothic-style enclave on Manhattan's Upper West Side" built in 1917. The owner has turned the stairwell into a gallery and the ceiling is original. Guerrand-Hermes says "Hotel des Artistes is an extravagant place, designed for people who want to be different." I'll take that "different"! Simply stunning.

I am leaving you with the amazing staircase at the Palazzo Reale in Naples, designed by Dominico Fontana circa 1600. For more original photos and information, please check out the brilliant blog, Architect Design. You will not be sorry!


Mike and McGee said...

I love your staircase! Our first house was a 1930 American Foursquare, and we would LOVE to own another old house like that, full of craftsman details. The work you've done on your home is amazing!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

You know, I always take the stairs in buildings. There's just something more romantic about assending, or desending, a set of stairs. I adore that spiral staircase in the East Hampton Tudor... and have you ever climbed the old wooden staircase in Liberty of London? Wonderful!

I can see why your staircase was a deciding factor in the purchase of your home! It's lovely.

Fifi Flowers said...

GREAT collection of staircases!

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Lovely staircases...But yours is the BEST of the bunch! LOVE it!!

CarrieAlair said...

Your staircase looks amazing! It makes me want to see the whole house!

Erin said...

What a great post! This is a fantastic collection of images. I especially love your staircase! Gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Stunning!!!! This collection of staircases is bookworthy and......and my favorite? Yours, ofcourse. I can "stair" at it forever. What a pleasure and thank you. Ginny

maison21 said...

your staircase really is wonderful- lucky you!

Topsy Turvy said...

What stunning examples you've found! And your own staircase is just wonderful.


Visual Vamp said...

Only you could make such a fabulous posting about a collection of staircases!
And who doesn't love to, (or watch someone) descend or ascend a staircase?

Brilliant Asylum said...

I agree with the rest of the bunch--your staircase is our favorite. Beautiful examples.

Cote de Texas said...

Ah Katie! Your stairs are so gorgeous - they are just beautiful!!!!

I love this post - each picture is priceless!


Easy and Elegant Life said...

I'm dying to put in a spiral stair in the back bedroom leading up to the third floor when we finally get around to renovating it.

This was a great collection to view! And your stair case is only lacking the headline and copy to make it fit right in!

Lecia said...

What a creative eye you have - beautiful collection of images!!

pve design said...

Stairway to heaven right in your very own home.
I love the stairs at "Shaker town" and the drawings of the dutch graphic artist - MC Escher - his stairs going nowhere are one of my personal faves. Do you know it?

S and N said...

It's nice to read about the daily pleasure you take in your own surroundings--so few people seem to really love what they already have. We will be replacing our old stairway soon--it was closed in when the house was turned into a duplex in the 1940s and is dark and narrow. I've been thinking about having a window installed above the landing, and your staircase clinches it. The reference photos are wonderful--I especially love beautiful soft colour of the wood in the Istanbul home.

Lindsey said...

I absolutely love your home. My husband and I are putting an offer in on a 2200 square/ft 1926 Dutch Colonial that needs A LOT of work, but has amazing curb appeal. Did you by chance have to re-do the plumbing or electrical in your house when you moved in? If so, do you mind letting me know how much it cost? We have no idea on this one. I'm worried it's going to break the bank!

LindsB said...

That is quite the collection of stairs, but I have to say I love yours the best. I would love walking up and down them everyday too!

katiedid said...

Thank you all so very much for your such womderful comments! I am so glad you enjoyed the post! I felt so lucky to have found this house with all of the special details. It suits us, especially with our family life. I do appreciate it every day.

Mike and McGee- I love the American Foursquare style with all of it's windows and light. And the detailing is wonderful. What do you have now?

I agree Pamela...a staircase can be so romantic! When my oldest daughter first saw this stair, she said, "I can just imagine coming down this stair in a wedding gown..." And she is not a frilly sort at all! She was 11 or 12 at the time.

Thanks Fifi and Linda!

Hi Carrie! And thanks for the visit! I am showing the whole house by bits and peices, as I can get different corners presentable to be photographed! Hahaha. Never ending process. If you go back through old posts, you will catch quite a bit of it. ;)

katiedid said...

Hi Erin and Ginny!
Thanks for visiting and for your kind comments!

M21! Kind as always! And I hope you are feeling better!

Thanks Topsy, VV, Brilliant and Joni! I is always fun to see your houses too!

Elegant! I love a beautiful spiral stair! I hope you go ahead with your plan and let us all see. ;)

Style Court said...

Katie -- I love how appreciative you are of your lovely home. You seem to savor the details.

Amazing post BTW!

katiedid said...

Hi Lindsy! Thanks for your visit! I wish I could break out the information for you, but it is a bit dicey. We only did part of the house. Some of the electrical had been reworked just prior to us moving in, and the rest we did in the kitchen and new bathrooms. We had everything opened up anyway for the remodel, so it is not the same as going back and retrofitting. Different parts of the country will have different costs as well. Sorry I can't be more helpful! I do suggest getting at least three references and estomates for any work you are considering, and check and double check references. I cannot emphasize that enough.Good Luck!

halcyon said...

All are beautiful. In total honesty, I would prefer the clean, spare and beautiful lines of your fantastic staircase. Simple, honest..... Beautiful.

coco+kelley said...

there's something romantic about a staircase to me... so i definitely prefer the ones with a bit of detail... but not too much! gorgeous post!

Velvet and Linen said...

Your staircase is gorgeous.
When we were building our home we found this great old newel post at a architectural salvage yard that I asked Steve to put at the landing of our stairs. After six years of handling it has a wonderful worn, aged patina.

Whether it is the 18th century stone staircase in Bordeaux or the industrial steel stair in Berkeley,
These images are absolutely gorgeous, romantic, and dare I say sexy!