When the client asked Brian Berger, president of Kirkwood Stair and Millwork, to design a contemporary, “different” staircase for his space, Brian presented a standout sketch of this clever, slightly whimsical design. To modernize the existing concrete staircase, he began with a clean-lined structure and chose a Clear Northern White Maple and brushed aluminum for the balustrade. The juxtaposition of light-colored wood and bright, brushed aluminum produces a crisp design that perfectly complements its loft-like surroundings.
We tried to do something in the three dimensional genre by bowing out the edges of the treads and also by incorporating an elaborate lambs tongue carving at the base of the staircase, more contemporary than the traditional style, says Brian, explaining that they wanted to hide the existing, standard metal pan and concrete stair.
This contemporary design – with its ceramic tile treads, brushed aluminum face risers and complicated balustrade system – moves away from the typical glass and stainless steel and into a playful companionship that blends natural wood and complex woodwork technology to create this striking staircase.
While the one-of-a-kind staircase is a masterful finished product, the project presented a challenging design and installation. The initial plan was drawn in a computer-aided design (CAD) program, followed by a complex series of steps needed to produce each part of the staircase on a five-axis computer numerical control (CNC) machining center; it is a highly automated process used to mill the wood to closely match the original CAD design.
As this is the only staircase of its kind completed by the company, Brian notes, “We hope that the complexity of what was done in the design and construction of this staircase will inspire ideas for future projects.”
Article from St. Louis Homes Magazine