something curved this way comes

 House Building  Comments Off on something curved this way comes
Feb 042008

One of the architectural features of our house, not always obvious, is a large spiral stair case connecting the 3rd floor deck with the roof deck. It arrived this morning, and as Bob Hartwell said, “Wow, your house suddenly looks modern”.

We chose a stair design by Stocklin Iron, up in Santa Rosa. There were some interesting details we had to settle before fabrication could start:

  • the bottom tread starts an extra 2” higher, so that the tread spacing is even after we install the tile system on the deck at the bottom of the stair.
  • the landing on top is 1-1/2” higher than the current deck surface, so that it will be at the same level as the tile.
  • the whole stair is rotated about 30 degrees, so that it meets the landing at an angle on top. This allows the entrance to the stairway to point out into the middle of the lower deck, making it more convenient to step onto.

Installation was going to be a problem. There was no easy way to maneuver it up through the house, and Stocklin offered to cut it in half, bring the pieces up, and weld it back together. Instead, we hired a crane, Stocklin gave us a break on the installation cost, and we actually saved a little money. So this morning, we had more big equipment at the job site.


The stair arrived first, carried like an odd appendage on top of a van. The crane pulled in a few minutes later, and within a half-hour, the stair was dangling over the 3rd floor deck, 850-lbs of awkward primer-red spiral, catching the first rays of sunlight over the hill.


An hour later, the deed is done, and we can walk right up to the roof deck without balancing on a ladder or scrambling up the hillside. The stair is solid, spacious (treads are 36” wide). And very red, sort of like an odd piece of the Golden Gate Bridge has been transplanted to Fairfax. A little paint will make the whole thing look more harmonious.

I haven’t posted a pic of the outside of the house for a while, because little has been changing. But you can see that we have waterproofing wrap on most of the exterior, ready for stucco. The front door is installed. And we’ve got nice copper gutters, slowly losing their brand-new shine.