Design Details // Metal Stair Rails with a Twist

My love for stair details is true. I have written about spiral staircases here and hereand about interesting stair risers here and here. Now let’s talk about stair rails – necessary for safety, and a huge opportunity to make a design statement!


The part you hold onto is called the handrail. The part that keeps you from falling out the side is called the balustrade. It’s made up of balusters, and this is where the fun can be on a set of stairs. There are so many ways you can go other than wood spindle. These are my favorites crafted in metal.









iron lace iron lace detailAll the images above can be linked back to where I found them via my Pinterest page on the “Stairs” board.


Design Details // Spiral Staircase // Part 2

A few months ago, I posted about some spiral staircases that made me giddy. Here are some more inspirations, each one as clever somehow as it is beautiful in its design details.

This one is called the Vertebrae Staircase!dba1e8160f5d865aea1e77d0051c270aThe combination of beautifully grained wood and pristine white plaster (below) gets me every time. This space is the epitome of Warm Minimalism to me, and the way the whole staircase just hovers there there above the floor but doesn’t touch it is unforgettable.

The above also reminds me of the Holy Rope installation by my favorite landscape weaver, Patrick Dougherty! The staircase in the 2 images below also remind me of vertebraeSo beautiful!8c55e168fd0fcb41fed76c9963e0f4f0 8cca9cd88354cc1ac02f77d71d056cf3Only the one on the left is an actual spiral, but either of the staircases below (with their built-in slides!), could be a dream to appeal to kids and grown-ups alike.

Endless fun….

IMAGES // 1, 2, 3, (4 unknown)

Recently Completed // Apartment Laundry Room Remodel

This is my final post about The Virg, a 12-unit apartment building in Hollywood that I remodeled with 3SC Capital Partners. In previous posts, I have talked about what we did with the building’s Exterior, a typical Living Room, typical Kitchen, and typical Bedroom and Bathroom. The last piece was the Laundry Room, shared by all the apartment-dwellers. Our design directive was to make it feel fresh and inviting -on a tight budget! I knew immediately that we could do something fun with the stair risers to make the space memorable.1

This is what the laundry room looked like after it had been cleaned up and painted white to look respectable, as soon as the developers purchased the property. (I think the guy in the picture below is an inspector!)



On the plus side, this was an apartment laundry room that was NOT in a scary basement! The space, though cramped, offered an abundance of natural light. My clients were ready to upgrade the laundry experience for their tenants by relocating the hot water tank elsewhere, adding a second set of washer and dryers, and putting in a little counter-space. They also needed some locked storage for cleaning supplies for this area. Here is what we did:2We painted all the railings and security “caging” the same light blue we used on the building’s exterior. (Far less prison-like than black!)  We laid new light grey linoleum on the floor. We located the washers side by side, and stacked the dryers opposite. And we added a small counter for folding clothes, with cupboards above and below.

3We gave the tenants some abstract art in soothing hues to set the tone. (Picked up this canvas for $35 at Target!. I styled it with some cute canvas laundry baskets from Target as well.)4Ilse and Anna, talented girls on my team, executed the bold “Laundry” sign and running stripe by hand, in a font and colors that were cohesive with the exterior of The Virg. The stripe gives the space energy, and connects the stairway and narrow mezzanine walkway to the actual laundry area for a more spacious overall feeling.
laundry-stairrailing I came up with the “laundry directions” to paint on the stair risers – wisdom gleaned from many years of doing apartment building laundry! Those dank, creepy laundry rooms were a far cry from this freshness.stair-overall

So fun to revisit this part of the project! Thanks, Anna and Ilse.IMG_0871“After” Photos by Caroline Froberg. Thanks, Caroline!

Design Details // Feature Stair Risers – Outdoor Edition

I always look at a set of stairs as an exciting design possibility. There are amazing things you can do with a stairway, from the baluster and handrail, to the wallpaper or paint or art on the surrounding walls. I really like it when stair treads and risers are articulated. Just highlighting the risers is one of the easiest ways to make a staircase a focal point. These are some of my favorite concept images from outdoor design and street art.

The gradient of blues on this staircase hits me in all the right places. Playful, yet calming. fa3a348135e8995072617162594aa8afThese next two are street art at its best- the kind that invites the viewer to be part of it.  Who wants to play Tetris?1b6b161dcb82aaf38c84aed77f9ac14cOr would you rather play a piano? Seriously delightful!56db6c6b26cd708b98887979a2e1d8d4Love the color and pattern of these Spanish tiles.(The architecture has to be right for this to work though – Spanish tile is often misused, and CAN look tacky on the wrong building!!)14d9b909eff66dd743fac6d478ce51d9

I M A G E S // 1, 2, 3, 4

I could go on and on about stairs – they are a favorite architectural feature of mine, as you can see from my Pinterest board on the topic.

Design Detail // Spiral Staircases

A staircase is almost always an opportunity to do something special in a design. These spiral staircases are beautiful examples of how space-saving function can meet exquisitely sculptural form. Each is a work of art that could be the highlight of an interior.

This one looks like a cerused wood wave.

88d2296d19eae1e2e408fa51e365549fMost spiral staircases look like they would kind of sweep you along. The one below looks like it would throw you from side to side! I can’t really see a building inspector signing off on the high, open part of the stairway that the guy in the picture is about to descend, but I am inspired by this as a concept anyway. I like the way that the warmth of the polished wood softens all the sharp angles.
d925064ab7ae0956c0372856f09dcffbThe pristine white banister of the staircase below reminds me of wedding cake fondant, and I love its contrast with the natural wood stairs.

6cb702dac958bfa3caba61e7860f4913Yet another unusual material: this looks like metal that has been given an acid treatment to give it the look of a time-worn patina.457b3e236b424b7122942b28fcce4f12As you might guess from my Pinterest board on the topic, I have a thing about staircases!


Photos: 1, 2, 34