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New staircase opens up the house's midsection.

New staircase opens up the house's midsection

A sinuous new staircase added more than drama to this house in Newport Beach, California. It also provided bright, open living spaces.

Originally, walls enclosed the stairs to the second floor, making a tight vertical corridor and walling the adjacent living room into a small, inflexible area.

After tearing out the old structure, Los Angeles architects Viniegra and Viniegra opened the living room to stretch past a new floor-to-ceiling library wall that runs to the first-floor master bedroom. They had to add a 4- by 10-inch steel beam to support the second-story balcony, which functions as a family room and hallway to additional bedrooms. Now, both floors are brighter and share each others' increased volume.

The remodel had other benefits as well. The top of the staircase now curves around and over a new entry to the master bedroom, where double bifold doors and adjacent panels have leaded glass inserts. These allow light to pass through while providing privacy. The foot of the stairway hugs a two-story sculptural pillar that adds architectural interest and also encloses a diagonal extension of kitchen counter. Space under the steps is used for wine storage.

The Viniegras had the steel-frame staircase with pipe railings custom-built by a metal fabricator.

Photo: Leaded glass panels make up one bright wall of master bedroom under the balcony and stairs

Photo: Cantilevered stair with steel frame swings up around perimeter of old enclosed stairwell space

Photo: Before. Walled stairwell ate up space across half of house's 23-foot width

Photo: After. Opened-up area has one-wall library
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jan 1, 1985
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