Staircase Understairs. Thursday , October 25th , 2018 - 21:50:30 PM
'Built-in bathroom cabinets don't need to be any more than 4in deep,' says architect Mark Dyson. 'It's possible to dismantle a stud wall and replace it with structural MDF carcases to create storage without devouring precious floor space.' 'Lift units off the floor,' says Guy Morgan Harris. 'A room looks bigger if you can see the whole floor up to the walls.' 'Mirrors can be used to great effect, but too much can look kitsch,' says Mark Dyson. 'An L-shaped mirror [that goes round a corner] can quadruple the feeling of volume.' Boxed-in cisterns provide the opportunity to create extra storage, and why not reclaim the area under a built-in bath with bespoke drawers for towels or bath toys? 'We installed a raised walk-in shower where the floor lifts up to reveal a bath,' says architect Paul McAneary. 'It also turns into a steam cabin, so it's multifunctional and compact.'
One concept for space saving stairs is to keep the stair flight straight so as to minimize the space they take up. In general, this is quite true. Stairs that have turns in them and unnecessary landings as the stairs rise do result in a lot of wasted space below and behind the stairs that you can do nothing with. The exception, however, is the spiral staircase that can look quite elegant, is easy to install, and uses the minimum of space. Detracting from this is the inability for disabled stair-lifts to be fitted - or, at least, I haven't come across one yet. It is also more of a chore to take furniture up and downstairs when the need for moving your furniture becomes apparent - as in moving house.
Before you start, prepare for dust and disruption and remember that, unless you have a second staircase, you won't be able to access the upper levels while work is going on. A standard, straight staircase kit can cost as little as £250, but bespoke designs start at around £3,000. This could rise to £25,000 plus for a bespoke one with real wow factor. Issues such as access can up the final figure further (installing a staircase on the sixth floor will be more pricey than on lower levels, for example).
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