Element of Surprise

An innovative staircase becomes the focal point in a renovated Northwest DC abode

Homeowners from California turned to KUBE architects to create open, modern interiors in their 1950 bungalow. The renovation focused in part on redesigning the staircase. “We wanted the stairs to be central to the space,” recounts principal Richard Loosle-Ortega, who spearheaded the project in collaboration with DMI Development Group.

The architect’s plan rotated the original staircase 90 degrees to land in the family room rather than the front hall. The new stair combines a streamlined steel frame and railings and maple treads embedded with rubber for traction. On one side, 3form translucent-resin panels divide the family room from the kitchen/dining area while retaining a sense of openness and light.

Loosle-Ortega designed a three-step landing at the base of the stairs, made of industrial-look Viroc cement board. The material was also applied on the adjacent wall and ceiling “to unite the landing with the rest of the stair system,” he explains. Essentially part of the family room, the landing contains pull-out drawers for handy storage.