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
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.
Helpful Spiral Stair Links
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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.
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.
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.
My inspiration - a great hub on Spiral Stairs by Enelle Lamb
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Would you love a fun, space-saving spiral staircase in your house?
© 2010 renoelle