While staircases are obviously a standard feature in multi-level homes, staircases themselves should be anything but standard. Luxury custom home builders today have the materials and the tools to create works of art out of this functional feature. Aside from the artistic components, locations and design are often the building blocks for architects and custom home builders, to establish and enhance the flow of a home. Out of necessity, even the most “invisible” staircase has been carefully planned out, in order to achieve the perfection of movement and connecting spaces.
The importance of a staircase to the harmony and flow of the home is deeply embedded in the basic principles of Feng Shui, the Chinese philosophy of harmonizing personal energy with the surrounding environment. Many designers/ builders/ architects adhere to basic Feng Shui principles with regards to flow and movement in a living space, and as staircases involve potentially unsettling constant up and down movement, the philosophy does have some basic placement guidelines. For example, avoid the center, or heart of the house, as the occupants’ energy will constantly be exhausted by the “drilling” energy of a center staircase, almost like sucking down a drain. Another guideline is to avoid is aligning a staircase with the front door, as the up and down energy paired with the incoming “chi” energy from the outdoors lends a rushed and unsettled energy.
A great starting point in pondering staircase design elements is to consider how it could or would affect the desired living spaces it connects. Ideally, staircase designs and layouts would mirror the architectural bones of a custom built home, drawing on any unique materials used throughout the space, lines, dimensions that would make it naturally flow into the living space, providing seamless transitions. And while traditionally they are not meant to be the focal point of a room, many brilliant designs have allowed for just that, intended to draw attention. A sweeping staircase in the foyer can provide for a dramatic entrance, which could work in a traditional or modern architectural setting, using materials that can make all the difference.
Aside from the grand entrance, a staircase may be an artful feature to an open concept living space, expressed through railings, banisters and the stairs. Even the more hidden, practical stairwells can be thoughtfully crafted to seamlessly blend all living areas in the home; rather than just connecting floors, opportunities abound for additional storage and display elements. Rethinking this rote feature allows for a great deal of creative options, from location, design, colors and materials incorporated. When imagining or rethinking a luxury custom built home, staircases and stairwells, the catalysts of energy flow throughout the family’s sanctuary, are more than just a connector.