From spiral to dog leg, there's a whole variety of staircases to suit your home
Stairs can have a maximum of 16 steps before a landing is needed, according to building regulations. Landings can provide a change of direction at the bottom, top or mid-flight. This can be a quarter-turn, or a half-turn. Several turns can help to span greater heights within the same footprint, even if floors are spaced irregularly within the building (many Georgian houses have taller first floors than the rest). Direct flights take you up a whole floor in one continuous direction.
The ever-popular and practical ‘dog leg’ has two flights of stairs with a half-turn landing in the middle that is an economical use of space. Tapered ‘winding’ steps also save space in place of landings. But landings can frame views out of windows or into parts of the house.
Spiral stairs wind around a central pole, while helical stairs are circular with a handrail on either side.
A good, inspiring read is Stairs, by Alan and Sylvia Blanc (Architectural Press, 2001), which discusses stairs in all their different forms.
Words: Fiona Sibley