Design Secrets 101: The Staircase — Making something out of nothing!

Most of us have at least one, some of us have several (including this urban dweller who has three). They came with the house when you bought it and you probably haven’t given them much thought since then.  I’m speaking about that old standby, the staircase.  I loved this photo from the moment I saw it. Why? Because one of my favorite things to do as a designer is to transform a home’s invisible spaces into focal points. Entrance foyers are a perfect example of such often overlooked spaces — they can be so much more than simply an entrance to your home, they can be a beautiful introduction to YOU.  I painted mine Tiffany blue and then added a super contemporary light fixture just to mix it up (those of  you who are familiar with me know that I can never resist the allure of a large lighting fixture or an icy margarita, but I digress.)

Staircases are another example of spaces that are too often forgotten. The photo above provides a lesson in how a staircase can be transformed into a quiet but stunning focal point.  The long adjacent wall serves as an art gallery, while the neutral carpet runner adds graphic interest; both lead the eye upward. Also adding interest and color to the space are the pops of pink on the benches and in the art.  I love it all.  But what really caught my eye, is the way they traded-in the expected wooden banister for this simple but spectacular iron one. Beautiful.

There is another amazing staircase featured on my website. Here too the adjacent wall showcases the artist-owner’s own art as well as pieces from her extraordinary collection. Also adding punch to the space are the bold choices of paint (lavender!) and carpet (orange!), and a beautiful vintage chandelier from a Syrian church. Simply spectacular. Now that’s making something out of nothing!


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