I love the look of the white stairway wall designed by ISA. It is clean, simple and modern without using expensive materials. At the same time, I struggle at times with the concept. I think the main thing is that I worry it will block too much of the light coming in from the windows placed above the door. It also seems a bit too sleek for our aesthetic and may take a bit away from the openness of the ground floor.
This could just be me though. I have been known to have design issues for no good reason. Lastly, for practical reasons, this drywall wall ending right at foot traffic level is most likely going to get beat up very quickly and could reflect poorly on our choices as a developer.
Over the weekend, I scoured the net and our past diagrams for some possible alternatives. We may end up just going with the design shown above, but I’d at least like to throw a few other options out there to see if anything strikes someone else’s fancy as well.
Arguably my favorite option is the use of an industrial cargo safety net by Lode Architects via Materialicious. I love the simplicity of this unique application with an industrial material. I could see a large net stretching from the ground floor all the way to the top of the ceiling on the second floor, running the entire length of the stair. This would eliminate a lot of material and labor in both the stair wall and the upstairs plywood and drywall clad railing. It should also pass code with no mods also which is convenient.
A similar approach would be to use wire mesh like we will be using on the green wall in the back of the homes. If we were really clever, we could train some vines to climb their way up such a wall to create an interior green wall. This makes me a bit nevous for both cost and indoor humidity reasons though.
Let’s also not forget ISA’s original concept that had a unique plywood wall following the stair all the way up and seamlessly integrating with the railing on the second floor. Very nice, but possibly more expensive than the drywall idea with some of the same light blocking issues as we have now.
Lastly, we could always eliminate the wall altogether. This has obvious code violations as well as safety threats to people like my wife, Courtney, who can tear it up with the best of them on the dance floor, but sometimes struggle with the simpler things like stairs and the ground in general. This also does not solve our railing issues on the second floor.
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