When we first had the plans drawn up for our #Loverdreamerbeachhouse our architect drew up a standard staircase with an enclosed storage cupboard underneath. At the time of the plans being drawn up we didn’t think too much about it.
It wasn’t until our framing went up that we realised we needed to make a complete change to the stairs design. If we hadn’t of made the changes, our beloved summer living area would have been be a dark dungeon!
For starters, the wall on the other side of the stairs was our internal garage, which meant on the ground level there was no sunlight on that side of the house. The only source of sunlight in the downstairs living room was via the front door which was a tiny window and from the large sliding doors that lead out to the deck. The problem was that the deck had a roof on it (the upstairs deck) and it was over 4 metres in width. So, getting sun into this space was already a challenge!
The first thing we did to overcome this was to widen the window on the second story above the stairs as wide as we could without making drastic changes to the framework.
We then changed the stairs design to open tread stairs. We chose pine stairs to keep costs down. We also designed an open slat pine balustrade to keep costs down and to give us as much filtered light as possible. We painted both the stairs and balustrade white to reflect the light and keep the space bright. We could have chosen glass balustrading for our stairs but it was out of our budget and we weren’t keen on the constant cleaning of kids hand marks. We also thought the white slat balustrade better suited our relaxed, coastal vibe we had planned for that space.
The next decision was what to do with the ‘space’ under the stairs. We didn’t want to enclose it for storage as it would have ruined the look of the open tread stairs. So, we created a little bench seat / reading nook under the stairs. The down stairs living space needed more seating space and we knew we could have done with some extra storage space. It created the light in the room we’d hoped for and increased the overall feeling of the size of the room. Best of all was the storage!! We had many boxes stored in this bench seat – out of sight, out of mind! It ended up a perfect little place to sit and look out to the ocean and be part of what was happening in the downstairs living area.
It was a small extra cost compared to standard stairs but a huge gain in functionality, sunlight, space and aesthetics! I can’t imagine this home without those stairs as a feature. The stairs beautifully connected the two levels of the home… We were so glad we did it!