Space Saver Spiral Stairs - Circular Staircase in a Closet

Nothing beats the classic look of a spiral staircase. It adds elegance to any interior, and has the added benefit of saving space. Whether the staircase you prefer is a true spiral staircase or just gently curved, whether it is made from metal or oak, it will add grace and beauty to your home for many years to come.

Spiral staircases can be installed in some very small spaces indeed, which makes them a very attractive option for home renovators. Some of the kits that are available will fit nicely inside the same amount of space used by many old-fashioned closets. As such a closet is too small for use as a clothes closet by modern standards, outfitting one with a new spiral staircase between floors can be very helpful as access to potentially usable, but undeveloped, attic space.

Elegant Spiral Staircases

Spiral staircase from flikr.com
Spiral staircase from flikr.com
Cherry staircase in the main foyer - Maple Hill Manor, Kentucky from www.bbonline.com
Cherry staircase in the main foyer - Maple Hill Manor, Kentucky from www.bbonline.com

Transforming an Unused Attic

A recent renovation to a 1940s-built home re-purposed an awkwardly placed closet to provide access to an unused attic space. The house was structurally sound, and the undivided attic space was the only place to expand without making an addition to the house.

Anyone who is aware of warehousing principles can affirm that the cheapest way to make space, in terms of dollars per square footage, is to expand upwards.

Plans were soon underway to convert the attic into a studio. It was decided that two small dormers with window seats on the east side of the attic would let in lots of morning light, and the one large dormer facing west on the opposite side of the attic was quickly expanded to become a walkout to a small private balcony.

The attic needed to be floored. Extra, loose insulation had been sprayed in a few years earlier, but it would serve nicely to help insulate behind the new walls that would be installed.

As well, as an unused, cold space, the attic walls and roof had never been insulated, so no heating ducts had ever been let into the attic. It was decided that with proper insulation, it would be possible to heat the new studio with an electric space heater.

At that point, once some ideas were in place, an architect was called in to check out the feasibility of the plan.

Access

The biggest problem with the whole plan, as the friendly architect pointed out, was access to the attic. The attic hatch, the only current access, was placed in the middle of the small hallway that led from the entry way to the two upstairs bedrooms, and the main bath.

A drop-down stair was suggested, but as it would block egress to the upstairs bedrooms, to say nothing of the bathroom, that was not really an acceptable solution. Besides, once the stairway was lifted, it would effectively strand whoever was in the upstairs studio.

The once-master bedroom had been turned into an office the year before, and the basement bedroom was being remodeled to accommodate a new master suite and full bath.

The new office contained a poorly placed closet. In fact to open the closet it was necessary to enter the room and close the room door. Then the closet door could be opened. Then, the process was reversed to exit the room.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Spiral staircase at Shaker Village in Harrodsburg, KentuckySpiral staircase from alibaba.comModern, Galaxy spiral staircase from the-wooden-hill-company.co.uk
Spiral staircase at Shaker Village in Harrodsburg, Kentucky
Spiral staircase at Shaker Village in Harrodsburg, Kentucky
Spiral staircase from alibaba.com
Spiral staircase from alibaba.com
Modern, Galaxy spiral staircase from the-wooden-hill-company.co.uk
Modern, Galaxy spiral staircase from the-wooden-hill-company.co.uk

The Next Step

The closet backed on the kitchen, and was placed behind the room door because the stairs from the backdoor going up to the kitchen and down to the basement ran behind that wall.

As the office didn't really need a closet anymore, it was immediately measured to see if it would accommodate a circular staircase.

Measuring the distance from the closet to the outside wall showed that it would be close enough to the attic's main, central beam to allow for perfect headroom, and with the door removed, the closet opening was still beautifully framed for an archway entrance to the stairs.

After that, it was simply a case of finding the best deal on a circular metal staircase.

Metal was initially chosen because of ease of installation. As well the wooden circular stair kits were considerably more expensive.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Spiral stair slide from richardbanks.comVictorian Iron staircase from theironshop.comLooks like the wooden treads are floating - from juststairs.co.ukExterior spiral staircase from juststairs.co.uk
Spiral stair slide from richardbanks.com
Spiral stair slide from richardbanks.com
Victorian Iron staircase from theironshop.com
Victorian Iron staircase from theironshop.com
Looks like the wooden treads are floating - from juststairs.co.uk
Looks like the wooden treads are floating - from juststairs.co.uk
Exterior spiral staircase from juststairs.co.uk
Exterior spiral staircase from juststairs.co.uk

Still Planning

The new attic room is still in the planning stages, but research into spiral staircase kits has turned up some fascinating options. Some are viable, but some of them take up too much space, or are lovely, but just too impractical.

The slide staircase on the right would be such fun. It certainly got the children's vote, even after it was explained that there was no room for the inner "up" staircase, but they are still young enough to enjoy the crawl back up to the attic.

Their parents were less enchanted with the prospect, even though it was suggested they could always install a ladder in the existing hatch.

I think it would be great fun, but it's not my attic.

Would you love a fun, space-saving spiral staircase in your house?

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© 2010 renoelle

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10 comments

Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

Great hub renoelle, thanks for the cameo! Love the last picture - that slide is right up my alley!


renoelle profile image

renoelle 6 years ago from Second star on the right, straight on 'til morning Author

Thanks, Enelle, and thanks for the inspiration! I love that slide too.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

I love the staircases and the pictures are great. I am in a one story home so I won't get one of those beautiful staircases unfortunately. Great hub/


renoelle profile image

renoelle 6 years ago from Second star on the right, straight on 'til morning Author

Thanks, Pamela. Me, too, at the moment - but someday, I hope...


Josh2008 profile image

Josh2008 6 years ago from London

Hey renoelle,

That slide/stair combo is the first of its I've seen. I've seen them both separately but this one's something I really like. I get the slide for the kids and the stair for everyone else without any sacrifice. Now if only I could convince my kids to not stand up while on their way down the slide…

Maybe a pipe instead of the slide will do the trick… BTW, any tips on getting these prefab'd from somewhere?


renoelle profile image

renoelle 6 years ago from Second star on the right, straight on 'til morning Author

Josh2008, if you check out the links above, they will give you a good starting place. Also you can check out your local building stores for their contacts.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California'

Just had to come back and read this again! I've been getting into renovations and I just couldn't pass this up!

Great article :D


renoelle profile image

renoelle 5 years ago from Second star on the right, straight on 'til morning Author

Thanks, Enelle - nice of you to stop by and comment!


Margo 4 years ago

Did you finish this? I am looking at putting a circular staircase in the closet, hidden by a bookcase. Would love to hear how this worked out.


renoelle profile image

renoelle 4 years ago from Second star on the right, straight on 'til morning Author

Wow - that sounds almost like a hidden room. No, that project has not been completed yet - still a work in progress, but a viable project :D

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