Monday, October 8, 2007

Beautiful stairs

I am the type of person who notices every detail of a home's decor and architecture. I am sure that many of you are the same way! Since I hope to build a house at some point in the future, I always pay close attention to floorplans and placement of architectural features.

My current obsession is where people put their stairs. In most traditional floorplans (in Atlanta), it seems as if the stairs are always front and center as soon as you walk through the front door. My preference is to be able to see to the back of the house once you walk through the front (there is a term for this, but I can't recall what it is), but this often poses a challenge for stair placement.

Stairs front and center, from an Atlanta real estate listing. No view to the back of the house.

Another picture from an Atlanta real estate listing. There is a view to the back, but a table blocks the view and the flow.

This is from Cote de Texas blog, interior design by Joni Webb. The stairs are in the front hall, but this floorplan allows for a nice view to the back of the house.

This front hall is not huge, but it seems to work well. The stairwell curves around close to the front door, and there is no door on the left of the hall (the master is to the left of the living room, and goes to the front of the house, so the front hall is closed off on the left side). The dining room is on the right. There is a view to the living room, which spans across part of the back of the house.

The front hall here is a room unto itself! The stairs are the main feature, and it looks like there is a second floor balcony that overlooks the front hall. An arched door opens to a hall and the living room. This seems like a lot of wasted space to me, but it might just be the angle of the picture.

Some floorplans tuck the stair to the side. I definitely gravitate to this arrangement.
From an Atlanta real state listing.

Another Atlanta real estate listing (I have been collecting these for a while!). The dining room and home office are immediately to the right and left of the front door, and the hall opens into the living room. The stairs are tucked in between the front door and the living room.

These stairs spill into the front hall, and definitely have presence, but they do not define the entry. Architectural design by Pak-Heydt Associates.

This stair set up shown below seems to combine the best of both worlds. It is somewhat tucked off to the side, but perhaps feels this way because it does not have a bannister and spindles. There is a nice, wide arched opening to the living room. The whole house seems to be on a smaller scale, which is appealing. This is one of my favorite pictures from my entryway files. The design is by Philip Sides of Alabama.

Somehow or other, a few other stairs made it into my files because of their grandeur. Here is a home with interior design by Suzanne Kasler.

The picture below is from a classic High Georgian home, correct in every detail. The architectural design is by Yong Pak of Pak-Heydt Associates. It appears that there are no stairs at all in this entryway. Instead, there is a two story domed rotunda with a skylight. It is possible that the stairs are somewhere out of view of the picture.

To visit my store, Quatrefoil Design, click here.

To subscribe to my blog by email, click here.

To follow my blog on Facebook, click here.

Beautiful framed intaglios, available here:

Unique architectural renderings, available here:

Whimsical original crab and lobster paintings, as seen in House Beautiful, available here:



  1. Lovely post. I agree, I love to see all the way through a house front to back when I walk in. I have three staircases in my house, and luckily I have a glimpse of the backyard from my front door!

    I love all your inspiration photos!


  2. You may be thinking of the term "shot-gun," often used to describe Southern homes, especially in New Orleans, where one could literally fire off a shot from the front door and it would pass through the back door :) But many Georgian-style homes have a similar type of entry.

  3. Yes, lovely post as well! A grand staircase is top on my wish list for my dream home and for now I get my fill through my client's home and their grand staircases :) Someday, right...


  4. I was also thinking of the term "Shot Gun", though for me it usually connotates a "shot-gun shack" or small railroad-style cottage. I love seeing straight through to the back also. However, most typical homes here in Arizona don't have large formal entries like in other parts of the country. But the indoor/outdoor flow is everything here in the Southwest, where we live on our patios much of the year.

  5. I love a curving staircase. Wish I had one.

  6. Great examples. I never thought about the placemenet of stairs until now. I particularly love the 6th photo - that would be my ideal entry. Nice and wide without feeling like wasted space. I love the detailing on the doors and beautiful console.

  7. All lovely images, I must say I am a big fan of a staircase, not sure why but it reminds me of my childhood (though we didn't have one in our house then)...I do love a curved staircase too.

  8. These comments are so interesting...I guess that is why staircases usually feature so prominently in homes, because people love them.

  9. Our stairway is actually in the living room. The stairs double back on themselves. When you enter our foyer, you see through the living room, to the back porch. I've used the living room as a sort of "reception area". It's like a continuation of the foyer. The hearth room is off this area.

    One of my favorite styles, is dog trot. This was common in log cabin homes. I think I'd love living in one of these dog trot cabins. The foyer/hallways have rooms on either side. The long hallway ends at double doors onto the back porch.

    The photos are gorgeous. I truly believe, Atlanta and other areas of the south have some of the most beautiful homes!


  10. I love this post, especially that entry house from that great designer Cote de Texas, how talented she is! Whew! I need to hire that one.

  11. I have heard the old Southern homes with views to the back of the house to the left or right of the staircase as "dog run" hallways. I agree with you that they are the most desirable.

  12. I was looking through some old decorating magazines (a fun thing to do), and saw a floorplan that was an old Southern plan - maybe even an old Georgian plan - and when you walked in the front door, you see there is a front to back hall and you see out the back of the house. This may be what many of your are describing. What I prefer is when the living room is centered to the front door, so you walk in and the living room is across the back of the home, with lots of windows (perhaps a fireplace in the middle, but that depends on what the view is).

  13. Well I am no longer a southerner but I, too, LOVE the idea of looking in from the front door to the back wall of the house, preferably with enough width to the foyer to do this without making a HUGE foyer. I've been messing with a walk-out basement plan for a while now, and I think finally settling on what to do about the stairway. Al of your comments were great though the pictures were a bit too glam for my tastes! Still -- keep up the great work!


Thank you for your comments! I strive to make my blog positive in tone, and appreciate the same courtesy when comments are made. Thank you!


Related Posts with Thumbnails