Lakshmi & Jonathan (homeowners)
The striking staircase and balustrade at Avalen utilised all of the skills that we have in-house at Coast Creative and serves as an introduction and centerpiece, both physical and metaphorically, for this exquisitely designed and carefully considered home.
“When we were designing the house, the idea was to have certain hero elements within the space,” recalls homeowner Lakshmi, “and the staircase and balustrade were one such element. We were working to a budget so it was important that we used it in the right places. This is the first thing you see when you walk through the front door so we really wanted it to make an impact.”
The concept of the terrazzo and the metal combination was something that Lakshmi had in her head long before the house was even built, and she and Jonathan turned to us to bring their vision to life. As a furniture designer-maker by trade himself, Jonathan crafted the beautiful elm handrail capping himself, bringing the final material element to the combination of stone, metal and wood.
“I love the juxtaposition of elements here – the sharpness of the terrazzo and the metal against the softness of the curved and rounded wooden handrail.”
The purpose of a staircase is to physically link the upper and lower floors of a home; this staircase links them materially and aesthetically, too. The terrazzo floor of the ground floor entrance hall flows up the treads and risers of the stairs and is then also used in the main bathroom; the dark green of the balustrade is echoed on the first floor balcony; the elm handrail and the other wooden features and furniture throughout the house combine in Lakshmi’s vision to create a synergy of materials that, in her words, “continually work together to create a calm and harmonious space.”
“There is a real sense of openness and space when you enter the house and having an “open” balustrade combined with the double height ceiling here sets the scene of what is to come as you head upstairs.”
Based on the vision for the home they were creating, having a bespoke staircase was the only option for Lakshmi and Jonathan. “There was never any discussion that it would be anything else.” Says Lakshmi, “I had a very specific vision of what it would look like and Luke, Dave and Nick did an incredible job in helping us to execute that perfectly. We have been living with the staircase for over a year now and it still makes use smile every time we walk through the front door!”
We made the staircase in birch plywood using our 3m x 2m three-axis CNC (computer numerically controlled) machine, the most accurate and efficient way to cut the component parts. This structure was then clad in terrazzo (a stone composite of marble chippings and cement, ground and polished to a fine finish) from Diespeker the UK’s leading expert in the material. The terrazzo sections for the stair treads included pre-cut holes in which to locate the steel uprights of the balustrade sections, which were then bonded in place. On the upstairs landing we screwed a laser cut steel sole plate to the sub-floor that also had centres for the uprights pre-cut into it. The bamboo nosing for the edge of the upstairs floor had holes for the balustrades and these were slid up the spindles before the balustrade was welded to the sole plate, then the nosing was slid back down and bonded in place to cover the welded join, creating an incredibly strong, stable and safe structure that aesthetically allows the flooring to flow through the balustrade and out to the edge of the landing.
“The staircase is very much a talking point when we have visitors. No one is expecting it so there is a definite WOW factor when people enter the house. This is not a conventional interior and the staircase is the first indication of this – and a gentle hint at what is to come. And it never fails to raise a smile!”
If your upcoming project includes a link between levels and you want your home to embody your personality with a staircase that is as spectacular as it is practical, then we’d love to talk to you about what we could create.