Property: The stunning stairways that sometimes steal the show

ALL HOUSES need a focal point. Sometimes it is the wonderful inglenook fireplace or, the Aga in the kitchen and just occasionally, it is the staircase. Just when a staircase is purely functional and when it is an art form is debatable, but a truly amazing staircase can become quite a feature of a house.

A four-bedroom maisonette in Swiss Cottage, north west London in a Victorian building, had an extraordinary architecturally-designed staircase which had been made into the main feature of the property.

"The whole property had been made into an ultra modern home and the staircase with holes in the sides and chrome bars as banisters ran through the centre of it. It was part and parcel of the whole design," says Natalie Leon, of Goldschmidt & Howland's Hampstead office. "Anyone into minimalism found it very appealing."

Trevor Abrahmsohn of Glentree Estates remembers a particular house in Mill Hill, north London built by an architect for himself, which suffered from one of its staircases. "The staircase from the first to second floor was so narrow you couldn't get up it if you were wearing a coat" he says. "I think it was just a mistake, but it meant I couldn't sell the house as no-one was interested in buying it.

"On the other hand, a converted church in Cloister Court, where Peter Stringfellow once lived, has a wonderful turret which you got to by 400 stone steps from the living room. At the top was a little observation room with a 360 degree view. People liked that because it gave the house character".

Some staircases have more uses than just providing a means to getting up and down stairs. "We had a client in Hampstead whose property had an extremely wide staircase with bottles positioned up the centre aisle and a bar running along one side," says Philip Green of Goldschmidt & Howland's Regents Park office.

"The property was a maisonette in a converted period house and the original staircase was incorporated in this. It was so wide you could walk up the stairs one side and choose your bottle of fine wine on the other. It was a good selling feature and the young chap who bought it was very taken."

In Islington, north London, a very traditional Georgian terraced house had been imaginatively refurbished with the most unusual Gaudi-style staircase, made in twisted metal and exotic wood rising from the dining room to the ground floor. "This sold very quickly and every one who viewed the house liked it. Some people were lost for words, but the house had a Mediterranean feel to it, so the staircase worked," says Mark Cullin of Foxtons.

An Art Deco building in Finsbury Square, EC2 - The Broadway, which overlooks the Honourable Artillery Company's sports ground - has been converted into apartments and the penthouse on the 5th and 6th floors has a stunning staircase in its double height entrance lobby.

The staircase, which doubles back on itself, leads down from the upstairs private lift lobby past a window looking on to the grounds and to the entrance hall on the floor below. It has been designed with gunmetal painted ironwork banisters to reflect the art deco feel and the upper lobby has been fitted out as a viewing gallery with integrated hanging rail system for pictures. The penthouse is for sale for pounds 5.95m.

Cambridge Gate, NW1 is a terrace of 19th century French Empire style houses overlooking Regent's Park, which have been converted into huge apartments. English Heritage insisted that every staircase, with their original stone treads and mahogany banisters, were kept. So four six- bedroom flats on the ground and lower ground floors have their own front door and one of these staircases leading through the house up to a small study/conservatory and terrace on the third or fourth floors. Three of the flats are available for around pounds 2.8m.

And out of the ordinary staircases are not limited to London. An Art Deco house in Tottenhill, west Norfolk with barley twist chimneys, circular turrets and eye brow windows has a rather striking staircase.

The reception hall with stained glass windows is on the ground floor of the tower and running up one side of this is a sweeping oak and intricately fashioned wrought iron staircase to the first floor.

"It is a very unusual house and people either love it or hate it," says Malcolm Duffey of agents, Belton & Duffey. "Everything in the house is original and you have a wonderful view standing at the top of the staircase." The three-bedroom house in 3.5 acres is on the market for pounds 225,000.

Poles Park in Hertfordshire boasts a development by Leach Homes in the grounds of the Hanbury Hotel & Country Club. One of the large detached houses has a spectacular solid oak Scarlet O'Hara style split staircase with galleried landing. "Opinion was fairly evenly divided," says Nick Stubbs, sales manager.

"People who were looking for a grand house with formal accommodation thought it was wonderful. It made the statement they were looking for. Others who wanted a more conventional house didn't feel they could cope with it. It was certainly something you couldn't ignore."

This house is sold, but another five-bedroom house with a similar staircase will be built next year.

Goldschmidt & Howland, 0171 435 4404; De Groot Collis, 0171 235 8090; Foxtons, 0171 704 5000; Glentree Estates, 0181 458 7311; Belton & Duffey, 01553 770055; Leach Homes, 01920 822200.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

    Law Costs

    Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

    Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

    £28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

    C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

    Day In a Page

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution