Stairs as Form and Function


Book storage and object display are key elements to a home's living space. From practical utility to showcasing owners' collected objects to adding texture and color to a space, built-in bookshelves create a blank canvas with limitless opportunities.

Often, and particularly in two-story homes, double height spaces offer the perfect opportunity to design open storage into the staircases themselves. Combining beautiful objects with thoughtfully detailed stairs creates the potential to couple practicality and beauty.

Staircase lined with built-in bookshelves and open metal railings.
Main living space of a loft apartment with an open kitchen, staircase lined with bookshelves, and metal railings opening the loft space to below.

The owners of this Cobble Hill Loft utilized the bookshelves lining the staircase from living room to loft by housing their library and collection of art and objects.

Living room of a Brooklyn Heights carriage house. The staircase leading to the second floor is lined with wood bookshelves on both sides.
Staircase lined with bookshelves and metal balusters

In this carriage house, the storage on both sides of this modern, open staircase houses books, art, and mementos. Using the same material for the treads and the shelves ensured that the entire staircase was cohesive and beautiful.

Open stringer, open riser staircase with light wood treads in a stair hallway with a wall of shelves

In the stair hall of this Brooklyn Heights Carriage House, we designed custom built-in bookshelves with a seating area. This transformed the hallway, making it feel larger, brighter, and increasing functionality of the space.

Pairing a modern staircase with shelving adds visual interest and creates utility along walls that would otherwise be unused.