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.


Show Me Three // Lucite Chairs

Whether a room is colorful or has a neutral palette, there may be a place for an acrylic glass piece. Lucite might work in a range of interior styles, but for me it can only be in a small dose, such as a console table or a single chair. Here are three such chairs we found this week – possibilities to pair with a writing table in a serene Master Bedroom retreat.

HIGH // Juliette Lucite Chair // Mod Shop // $1000

Lucite Mid

MID // Louis Ghost Armchair // DWR // $430

 Lucite Low

LOW // Vapor Acrylic Chair // CB2 // $180

Since a Lucite chair is sleek and transparent, I like to pair it with something opposite. A fuzzy sheepskin throw…a rustic wood desk…that is my kind of Minimalism.

Show Me Three // Chesterfield Sofas

Rolled arms, tufting and nail-head trim are design details that generally don’t so much float my boat. But on a Chesterfield, it all works! It’s a sofa style that has a clubby charm, and probably for many, a nostalgic appeal. Use one of these big boys with some cushy pillows when you’re looking for a piece with real presence. They work for Traditional, of course, but they can also keep a Contemporary interior from looking too severe.

High arms make it best in a seating arrangement with another sofa or chairs opposite, rather than to its sides.

Chesterfiel High

HIGH // Mansfield Leather Sofa // Ethan Allen // $4300

MID // Lyre Chesterfield  // Anthropologie // $2300

LOW // Canal Tufted Sofa // Urban Outfitters // $1600

Show Me Three // Alabaster Sconces

Alabaster is a translucent stone. When back-lit, its swirling bands of cream and brown are accentuated. Naturally, it lends itself beautifully to lighting fixtures. Here are three sconces, all round in shape, but each one accented by a different metal. Each sconce could skew traditional or contemporary in design, but the overall effect is definitely glamorous. 

HIGH // Iveala Single Sconce in hand-rubbed antique Brass // Aerin // $630

Alabaster Sconce MID

MID // Melange Sconce in Brass // Kelly Wearstler // $530

LOW // Ingram Alabaster Stone Wall Sconce  in Nickel // Hudson Valley Lighting // $180


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

Design Inspirers // Jonathan Partridge

A friend of mine who keeps up with the Australian art scene recently introduced me to the work of Tasmanian artist Jonathan Partridge.


His beautiful multi-plate etchings would be right at home in a Minimalist Contemporary interior, and I can really imagine them giving life to such a space.


I would also love to see one of his landscapes bring an unexpected edge to an antique-filled Traditional interior.

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It is so hard to narrow down my favorites! Look for more of Jonathan Partridge’s work that caught my eye on my Pinterest. And read about Jonathan Partridge here.