Spotlight: Seattle Stair & Design
The Architectural Theatrics of Shawn Christman & His Team
It is integral to the act of creating architecture, the opportunity for theatrics. To re-imagine a ho hum activity, a task embedded in the grind of the day to day normality, instead as a performance, becoming a skit more art than function, more extraordinary than hum drum, more unique than ordinary. The function of Architecture enables the occupant the distinct luxury of feeling that they’d never before been part of such a fancy even though the hidden reality is that they’d performed the same task day in and day out.
In Architecture, this fanciful illusion is most present in the Staircase. Certainly it can be seen as merely a means of transportation, serving a singular, elemental function – providing a simple path from Point A to Point B. And in many cases, in many homes, it is only this basic premise that exists; the architect or designer of the primitively functional abode leaving behind – be it out of necessity, out of lack of funds, or out of sheer laziness – the opportunities to embellish the user experience.
But in the hands of the capable craftsman, the Staircase transcends its sole functional purpose and, instead, becomes more, much more. A fitting stage designed to elevate the mundane, transform the bland, and bring importance to the act of ascending.
In Seattle, that capable craftsman is none other than Shawn Christman and the talented team that make up Seattle Stair & Design. It is in their able hands that the Staircase is no longer just a means of transportation, just another task in the day to day, but instead, transformed into a functioning work of art, a physical manifestation of old world traditions and modern techniques into not flights of stairs but instead, flights of fancy. The complex geometries needed to envelop a spiral staircase in a square box mastered. The sensuality and necessary organic qualities of the handrail created from a compound curve made to appear effortless. And the integration of innovative materials, technological advancements, and creative design into an old-world process, the crafting of a staircase, made seamless.
The works of Seattle Stair & Design are nothing short of perfection; Staircases to the Stars made for the Stars. No two are the same; each a product of the unique designers, requests, and whimsies of their owners. A patina worn steel skeleton fitted with leather wrapped handrails and open, free-floating treads bringing the perfect touch of modern to a client’s classically trimmed Seattle home. Or the other end of the spectrum – hardware and balustrade made nearly invisible leaving only the ebb and flow of a stainless steel cap and solid white treads behind, a quiet elegance meant to bring focus to the Hawaiian landscape ahead. It is in not just the implementation of these singular elements that make Christman’s escalier works of art but that all come together in a grand exclamation.
It is on these stairs that Scarlett descends from darkness to find love in the arms of her husband. It is on these stairs that Auntie Mame becomes more than simply a wealthy eccentric aunt but, instead, an effervescent icon. And it is on these stairs that a little sprightly redhead and a man known as Bojangles tapped their way into centuries of cinemagoers.
But too, these are also the same stairs that will, in the end, ensure that the clean laundry makes it to the next level. Hey, we can’t win them all. So you might as well enjoy the loss in style.
Corinne Gail Interior Design did not receive compensation for this post. All images copyright Corinne Gail Interior Design unless otherwise noted and may not be used without permission.
Brandon Smith, LEED AP is the interior designer turned Founder and Principal Editor of DCoopMedia, a design & luxury lifestyle digital media development firm. With a focus on redefining how the individual defines luxury, Brandon develops content for the firms’ quarterly journal and blog, theTwentySIX, and moderates the weekly chat on Twitter #DesignLUX (Thursdays at 1pmPT/4pmET). A lover of details and addicted to Diet Coke, he can often be found on Twitter @dcoopsd or via the blog D’Scoop.