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Opening up the stairwell.

When space is tight, every inch of a staircase has to work harder. Originally steep and dimly lit, these entry stairs seemed constricted.

The owners wanted a roomier feeling, without having to add more space. To open up the industrial metal stairs, San Francisco architect Paulett Taggart turned a central wall into a screen; three tall, 30-inch-wide vertical cutouts follow the stairs up the wall, creating partial views between sections of stairway. The cutouts also allow more light to filter down to the ground-level entry.

To enhance the feeling of openness, Taggart kept the railing as unobtrusive as possible. Like laces on a shoe, lengths of 1/8-inch steel cable were pulled taut across each opening between two 1-inch-wide steel strips. The strips were screwed to the studs framing the cutouts. On the opposite side of the stair, separate steel pipe rail forms the banister.
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Date:Jan 1, 1989
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