“step up” your style with modern materials and innovative design
Combining gracious harmony, form, and function, the staircase is an architectural masterpiece that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Whether you’re doing a little updating or pulling ideas for a new build, think beyond wooden newels and balusters. In more ways than one, the staircase can take your home to a whole different level.
Ricardo Bocardo of Atrium Wrought Iron has been building staircases in El Paso for 15 years. He says that more often than not, when Atrium is called in to remodel a staircase, they are switching out wood for metal. “The good thing about wrought iron is that it works in both the traditional homes that have been popular in El Paso forever, as well as the more modern styles that we’re seeing more and more of,” says Bocardo. “If we’re doing a remodel, we’re usually replacing the wooden balusters with wrought iron or even cable railings. We’ve also started using stainless steel and aluminum in staircases because those materials really match the clean, straight lines that fit into modern design.”
Bocardo also points out that the contemporary craze has homeowners shifting their balusters (also sometimes referred to as pickets or spindles) from vertical to horizontal, and opting for dark grays, browns, silvers, and coppers over a traditional black finish.
Homebuilder Carlos Villalobos, owner of Pointe Homes, adds that getting creative with staircase design isn’t limited to the railings and pickets. “One of my favorite looks is using one material for the tread and then something else for the risers,” he explains. “For example, I’ll use Crema Marfil marble tile on the steps and then pick a really neat designer tile for the risers.”
Villalobos also cautions that while using wood for the steps is always in style, the bullnose on the edge is likely to get banged up and dented over time. If you’re sold on the look of wood, consider faux wood porcelain tiles or adding a carpet stairway runner.
Modern staircases aren’t just focused on aesthetics. Current building trends are leaning toward increased functionality and no-wasted-space floorplans, and the staircase fits right in. “If you’re able to use the space under a stairway, why not include a storage closet or a pantry?” Villalobos offers. “What’s really nice is incorporating bookshelves, especially if they are facing a living area or somewhere you spend a lot of time, because then you’re enjoying the staircase not just when you come in the door or when you’re walking up the stairs, but also when you’re enjoying the rest of the home.”
Atrium Wrought Iron