Monday, January 11, 2010

A very Vervoordt stair

In the heart of Antwerp lies a 16th century warehouse which now bears the Vervoordt stamp. Not Axel, but his son Boris.
The former coffee warehouse, from 1577, was one of many in Antwerp owned by the family. In 1995 Boris moved in and slowly took over, floor by floor, turning it into his private home. A feature which most caught my eye, the staircase from a 1970s renovation, is a pre-cast concrete structure with chunky wood treads seen in the top photo and through the dining room above. While I don't think the staircase would meet code here in the US, I would be tempted to try. This is a seriously sexy stair.
Boris, while having his own eye, is still very much his father's son: see his living room above. Time worn finishes, oversize sofas, natural linens, rough wood and honed stone: all similar to a space by his father, Axel, but with a new twist. I hope to see much more of Boris in the future and that staircase is just a divine inspiration!
photographs by Andreas Von Einsiedel for British House & Garden, January 2010

19 comments:

Blue said...

I have lived with stairs such as those in Amsterdam and one just gets used to them though they are not to be recommended for the visually impaired. I like the linen-covered sofa with the table and lamp. Years ago we used to drool at his father's antique store windows in Antwerpen - this on day trips from Amsterdam.

Terry said...

What curves! Looks a lot more solid than the circular loft stairs around here. Great colors in that place: the reds.

little augury said...

gorgeous title- that's all you need. what a beautiful dwelling.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Yes, Stefan, yes to everything you said. It's wonderful

I went to Borders last night in search of the Jan H&G, by coincidence. Not there yet, or sold out, or whatever. Someone should be better informed on their staff. Now I'm going to redouble my efforts to find it.

Linda Merrill said...

Hi Stefan - can you educate us why the stair case might not pass US code? As Terry said, we've all seen circular stair cases that look less safe. But I'm just curious for my own education - is it the tread, rise or incline? It is one seriously beautiful staircase. Thanks!

The romantic query letter and the happy-ever-after said...

Always an education, always a delight. You are brilliant and I'll the better for having visited.
Warm regards and a lovely we to you.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Linda, -sure, I can give my reasons. In the US, a stair has to be at least 36" wide (as all primary stairs do). Also - for a circular stair - the handrail needs to be on the bigger side of the tread (mounted on the wall -and there isn't one - at 34" high and this looks lower). The inside of the tread (where it meets the center) has to be a minimum of 6" -this looks significantly narrower. The us is the only country with these stringent laws(and silly for residential applications in my opinion) and that is why you often see GORGEOUS stairs from europe, asia and south america that could never be done here in the US. Difficult when you have a client who wants to replicate a stair and it won't pass code!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Blue -lucky you! I would love to go up such a staircase everyday (but only sober, i imagine!).
Terry - definitely more substantial than a typical pre-manufactored stair you find here in the us! We need to bring these pre-cast conc stairs stateside!
Dilettante - I got the magazine about 2 weeks ago at my local barnes and noble -here in Georgetown. Maybe yours was sold out? Keep looking it's a great issue as always!
LA and romantic -thank you so much! I just love sharing my opinions on my 'finds' -ha.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Ok - i looked at the stair again under my 'code' microscope. Maybe the tread is 6" at the inner part...good! However - at the landing -you would need pickets spaced 3 1/2"-4" apart and not open as it is -to prevent a child from falling through. So one bad thing canceled out the good! ha

Linda Merrill said...

Thanks, great information! And it does explain why our staircases pale in comparison to the rest of the world! Safety, schmafety! (reason why I'm not a builder or architect!)

Janet said...

Such a great space!

lady jicky said...

I read that you said it was a former coffee house and that is what I saw -- those wonderful coffee colours and the ones that compliment them.

* Those stairs would not pass in Australia either but... aren't they wonderful to look at!

little augury said...

yes these specs & insurance have designers flummoxed. I always see wonderful stairways and of course they are never doable here. g

Cote de Texas said...

I would never survive. But it's gorgeous. Of course my eye goes straight to the sofa. Omg.

Rose C'est La Vie said...

After the staircase, my eye was captured by the split level arrangement. It's the first thing I'd have if I designed my own house.

the.neo.lifestyle said...

Very nice post, Boris has a very good eye like his dad, but is also charming in real life :-)

David

Lauren said...

oh wow. beautiful. loved reading your explanation of why it's not legal here. (crazy though!)

Topsy Turvy said...

Just beautiful. I love the use of that folding screen on the upper level.
–Lana

Kelly@TearingUpHouses said...

i'd love to see more photos of that staircase!

kelly