Through the eyes of Ryan Potter

When is a stairway not a stairway? When it’s art

…and as dramatic as you like


Well, yes, a stairway really is just something you use to go up or down, from one floor to another.

But it can also be a sensational, even breathtaking, focal point of your home, says Ryan Potter, Design Manager at StairWorld.

We asked Ryan what sort of high-end stairway he might design that would be the ultimate in beauty and practicality.

He had no trouble coming up with ideas.

His staircases would go all the way from the basement to the first floor and then first floor to second floor. They would be two curved stairs stacked on top of each other.

But the part that would really take your breath away would be the illusion that the whole thing, from basement to second storey, is floating, without support or wall or any kind of barrier. Each tread would magically emerge from the wall – a diving-board look, Ryan says. The supports would be hidden.

On that side, the wall side, there would be 2in. by 2 in. wall-mounted square contemporary walnut hand railings with brushed stainless steel wall brackets.

But the other side would be glass, all the way from the basement to the second floor ceiling.

And it wouldn’t just be any glass. It would be “half-inch-thick curved Starphire ultra-clear tempered glass on brushed stainless steel floor clips”, explains Ryan. It would be glass that is so strong and safe, yet so clear, that it would appear not to be there at all: an invisible wall.

From the main floor you would see only stairs, wide open, in two elegant curves. If you were to stand on the balcony of the second floor, you would be able to see all the way down, through the first floor and into the basement.

The stairs themselves would be open risers, or have no “backs”, but the steps, the cantilevered treads, would be rich four-inch-thick walnut. (“Walnut looks great at that thickness,” says Ryan.)

Under each stair tread would be LED lights for night-time safety but also for their stunning visual effect.

The first and second floor balconies would have concealed tracks in the floor, so the glass in the balcony rail system would look as though it was simply coming up from the floor with no visible support.

Such a stairway would be so dramatic, so large and so well engineered that it’s not something you would add to a renovation, Ryan explains. It would be the starting point. You’d begin with the stairway and design around it.

One thing’s for sure: you’d never be able to say it was “just” a stairway. It would be a work of art.