The problem of how to connect the upper and lower floors of the house had us stumped.
The more we studied Steve’s architectural renderings the more we knew we didn’t want a flight of wooden stairs tacked onto the side of our concrete house.
But we couldn’t think of anything better.
For a brief moment we considered putting the staircase on the garden side. At least it wouldn’t be an eyesore from the road. But to make this work we’d have to install at least one and maybe two new doors into the exterior walls, and we were pretty sure we lacked the intestinal fortitude to withstand another demolition project.
The logical fallback, of course, was to put the staircase inside. Hailing as we did from a latitude where things like staircases are most often found indoors, this seemed to make perfect sense.
But it didn’t take us long to figure out that staircases gobble up lots of square footage—we’d have to sacrifice a hefty amount of living space if we chose this option. Also, the few places where it made sense to break through for the staircase on the upper level made no sense at all in the corresponding space below.
In desperation we turned to shelter magazines.
Alas, most of the staircases in Architectural Digest and The World of Interiors are grand, sweeping and often marble.
Not quite what we had in mind.
So we moved on to travel magazines, many of which feature vacation houses in far-flung places.
But as staircases in vacation homes tend to be utilitarian rather than decorative, few staircases are actually depicted.
In fact, almost none.
“Let’s look at photos of our own house,” Michael logically suggested one afternoon. “Maybe we’ll get inspired.”
So we downloaded all of the photos from our recent trip onto my laptop and prepared to be inspired. Here, after all, were beautiful shots of the great room, the bedroom, the kitchen, the balcony.
We stared until our eyes hurt.
Nothing. Or at least nothing we hadn’t thought of before. There just didn’t seem to be a practical solution to our problem.
“Maybe we should rebrand our advertising campaign,” I remarked. “You know, ‘Vacation with your kids without ever seeing them,’ or, ‘Stay with us and lose ten pounds walking from bedroom to bedroom.’”
Michael wisely ignored me and continued scrolling through our photos: sunset at the beach, a long shot of the fort, an interior of the coffee bar in Isabel.
Hang on. The interior of the coffee bar. What’s that object in the middle of the picture?
It’s a spiral staircase.
A spiral staircase!