This Open Stairway Design Offers an Impressive Architectural Solution and Contributes to a Spacious, Unimpeded Visual Environment
Hadani always wanted a warm, calming, yet modern home. “I believe in the concept that less is more, but I do not want to live in a museum,” she explains. “I have two young children, and my home must be functional and comfortable for them also.”
When she and her husband, Ron, bought their 6,700-square-foot home in Bergen County, New Jersey, five years ago, Hadani decided to design an interior that used clean lines and uncluttered architectural details to create an inviting, interesting family environment. “The first floor is very open,” she says. “In fact, from the front entry, you can see all the way through to the back of the house and look out the luxurious two-story wall of windows that defines the end of the space. Looking through those windows, you can actually see to the end of our property. There are no cubicles, no chopped-up rooms, no blocking walls. The first floor is one large, open living space.”
The most creative challenge to maintaining all that openness was designing the staircase that leads from the basement to the second floor. “We wanted the stairway to be as open as the living area,” says Hadani. “My husband, who is an engineer, executed the unusual supporting beams, so we didn’t need to block the view with lots of traditional structural elements. We wanted clear glass to serve as the railings and side walls to continue the openness. Our goal required us to look at this functional necessity in a completely new way.”
As the stairs evolved, they became a stunning architectural element in the home. “The stainless steel bolts that hold the glass to the stairs have a minimalistic modern feel, but the warmth of the red-toned, matte-finished Brazilian cherry stair treads keeps the space from feeling cold and uninviting,” says Hadani. “The unembellished niches add architectural detail and are complemented by the minimalist art pieces displayed there.”
The second-floor bridge that connects the master suite and gym with the guest and children’s rooms carries the same open, uncluttered feel as the rest of the stairway and the expansive first floor living space. And, in keeping with the visibility that exists in the rest of the home, this area can also be clearly seen from the first floor.
Hadani selected colors that are quiet and calming. The three-feet-square floor tiles are Bateig Azul limestone from Spain. “I actually traveled to Spain to pick the tiles myself,” Hadani says. “Since I designed them to be so large, I wanted to be sure that the natural stone tones blended attractively. The overall light blue-gray tile has touches of taupe and brown running through it. These colors complement the cherry wood stairs and also warm up the coolness of the gray tile.” The walls throughout the first floor are a soft gray and a linen white, offering a neutral backdrop for the modern paintings and minimalist art Hadani collects. Area rugs are in red tones that enhance the browns and taupes of the tile and are reminiscent of the rich wood shades of the stairs. “The reds bring warmth to the neutral palette of the walls,” she adds.
Hadani notes that her young children, like many other children, keep asking for a TV in their bedrooms. “I tell them never,” she says. “I don’t want them to lock themselves away in their rooms. And that’s why I designed this wonderful house with a simple, open floor plan. No matter which area of the space each of us is using—whether the living room, media center, dining room, foyer—we are all together. I want to be with my family always. They are most important to me.”
Hadani succeeded in achieving her goal of simplicity and an inviting yet uncluttered living area and, in the process, created a dramatic architectural focal point in the staircase. She has recently established her own design company, named BKH DESIGN, to offer her unique concepts and services to others. Written by Carolyn M. Runyon.