When you plan to remodel the odds are you’ll consider a staircase renovation in the plans. From Victorian to Salt Box and Cape Cod to ultra-modern Madison WI neighborhoods include homes both old and new with stairways. Southern Wisconsin architecture almost always includes basements, so there’s at least on set of stairs to deal with in every house. Stairs connect living areas with sleeping spaces and storage, activity rooms and hide-a-ways.
In older homes the stairs usually fell into two categories: the formal staircase out in the open as part of the grand design, and the “basement” stairs left unseen. The open floor plan has taken center stage in Interior Design. As remodelers got comfortable taking out existing walls even the basement stairs became prominent. Developing modern remodeling plans almost always demands attention to some kind of staircase renovation.
The driving force behind an open concept living area is clean sightlines and an uncluttered appearance. Homeowners don’t want anything like a wall between them and guests or family. Since many homes, old and new, have the stairways in the center of the building that’s a design challenge.
Staircase Renovation – Focus On Railings
After you’ve taken out a wall or two you cannot leave the stairs as an open hole in the floor, right? Of course not. So when remodeling around stairs the emphasis is on creative railings. Almost anything goes from a drywall half-wall on two or three sizes to wide open looks featuring glass and metal.
Designers can incorporate several materials in to their staircase renovation, including traditional wood, metal and glass. Each has its pros and cons. Each provides versatility.
Tempered Glass —
Shatter-proof glass has become the material of choice for dozens of stairway upgrades. What does glass have to offer? Consider:
- Protection without constricting a wide open view.
- Added “pizazz” and a modern look.
- Tinted and laminated glass panels add color.
- Frosted, textured glass adds an artistic appeal.
- Glass railings maximize all the available light.
- Glass “matches” any woodwork, trim and color scheme.
- Framing with anything from wood to metal (or frame-less) allows glass panels to fit everywhere from country to contemporary.
- Glass needs maintenance – it shows fingerprints and smudges.
Wooden Options —
For a true colonial or traditional look, wooden railings are the No. 1 choices. Wooden hand rails with matching or contrasting spindles work well almost anywhere. They’re a better option than glass if you incorporate decorative curves into your stairway design. Advantages of traditional wood include:
- It’s natural – many homeowners want to include as much natural material as they can in their surroundings.
- Soft, warm and inviting – wood has a welcoming effect and is “warm” to the eye.
- Traditional – for decades it was the only material used for staircases.
- Options – the same wood used in trim, doors, beams and floors works on stairways.
- Finished to every taste – stained wooden parts retain their natural glow or paint them to match any trim.
Design Extremes – Wood To Stainless Steel Rails
It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholders. So it goes with your choice of wood, glass or metal stairway railings. Wood is considered warm and welcoming. Metal and glass are the opposite, cold and sterile. But they needn’t be. Blending each material into your personal style is the goal of your interior design professional. Years of experience give them an eye for what works and what doesn’t.
Glass is ideal for straight lines and light, airy spaces. Wood is for traditional even rustic appeal. Metals like stainless steel appeal to the industrial, modern school of design. Through the Madison area there are homes in which each finds a perfect fit. The benefits of metal include:
- Versatility – mix and match metal components with both glass and wood to achieve special effects.
- Strength – used as pillars, hand rails or as cables, steel is rugged.
- Durable – stainless steel lasts and holds up under any conditions.
- Easy to clean – metal requires little maintenance and is quick to clean.
- Cost-effective – incorporating metal features into a staircase doesn’t cost as much as some other options. Much of the savings is in time-saving installation.
- Flexible – comes in many shapes and sizes. Metals can be “painted” with rust- and corrosion-resistant powder coatings in many designer colors.
Lifestyle Guides Staircase Renovation
If you have small children or pets in the house adding more glass to the room may not be the best choice. Think how often you’re cleaning fingerprints and smudges off the patio door! On the other hand, glass is easier to clean than some things. The point is, your family lifestyle is the best gauge of what’s right for your home. That applies to everything from appliances to flooring and stairway options.
No matter what you have to know your new stairway is safe, well-lighted and easy to get up/down, right? After making sure these criteria are met, design style and appeal comes next. Interior designers offer a piece of simple advice: “choose a direction you want to go and don’t be shy. Let what’s happening in the rest of your home be your guide.” Translation: when you’re looking to remodel and it opens up the stairs in your home, design around the staircase with the same pizazz and imagination you’re apply to the rest of the house. The stairs become another feature. Make the most of it.
Did it come as a shock when you realized your dream remodel includes people being able to see the stairs? Don’t worry, help is just a phone call or email away. The professional interior design team at DC Interiors & Renovations takes on this challenge every day. We’ve been serving Madison area homeowners for years. Review our online portfolio to see some of the many projects we’ve successfully completed and make an appointment to visit our newly expanded showroom in Fitchburg. Join us, in person or electronically. Interior design pros at DC Interiors & Renovations are ready to incorporate a staircase renovation into your Madison home’s remodeling plan.