Wool Street, San Francisco


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Perspectival cut-away drawing


When our clients approached us with this project, the problem was clear: a spacious loft exists right above us, but it’s a real chore to get there. The solution was clear, too: ditch the precarious, imposing ladder and build a stair.

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Ladder to the loft, prior to new work


This solution, of course, poses another problem: stairs take up lots of room. We discussed a few different ways to fit standard stairs and spiral stairs into the living room and entry foyer area, but nothing fit. The only vertical circulation system efficient enough for this condominium was an alternating-tread stair.

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View of person ascending stair, passing stored objects


The only place for this stair that didn’t kill general livability was in a perfectly located closet. The closet was narrow and deep; perfect for the new stair, and awkward for storage. That said, it’s cruel to take a closet away from urban dwellers and not give anything back.

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Books, records, figurines


To give something back, the stair was designed with built-in storage. The alternating-tread stair, we discovered, handles storage nicely if designed to do so. The stair was configured to accommodate different-sized objects, from books to shoes to LPs to knick knacks. Due to the nature of stairs, all shelves are easily accessible.

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View down the stair- despite its steepness, it’s a comfortable climb


In the end, a precarious and imposing ladder is removed from an otherwise pleasant living room, and an inefficient closet is redesigned as a storage stair that allows easy access to more storage in the loft above.

General Contractor: Alan Hyland

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Detail view

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Overall view