Staircase crafted from sustainable materials upgrades farmhouse
Reclaimed materials combined with innovative design create a spectacular staircase
Increasingly, sustainability and reclaimed materials are setting the benchmark for home renovation projects and in particular for bespoke staircase design.
When renovating a farmhouse in Hartlepool, County Durham, the owners were keen that the new staircase for their triple height entrance space would make use of locally-sourced reclaimed materials. They brought in specialist staircase design and manufacturing company Bisca, working closely with the company to incorporate these historic materials into a truly bespoke cantilevered staircase.
High on the priority list for the owners was an honest design with integrity, one that would incorporate and highlight the beauty of the timber they had sourced. The 150-year-old greenheart timber harbour props had previously been used at Hartlepool docks. Bisca used the dimensions of these harbour props to devise the new design, cutting and shaping the treads so they could be cantilevered from the wall.
Each piece of timber was surveyed and hand-selected for its character, particularly the fissures and cracks which emphasised its previous role. Since transferring the timber from a marine to a domestic environment could result in cracks opening up as the timber continued to dry out, Bisca designed bespoke butterfly keys that essentially tie the timber together to maintain structural integrity for generations to come.
Attention to detail
The balustrade of hand-forged steel uprights with a blackened finish is a nod to the agricultural heritage of the home. A sculptural, leather-clad newel post rises from the floor and transitions into the handrail which runs the full length of the staircase and sweeps onto the first-floor landing.
A further element tying the house to its surroundings is a stone feature tread. Originally part of the Baltic Chambers in Hartlepool, which was demolished in 1996, the stone was discovered at a haulage yard and taken back to the farm on a tractor and trailer. Set at the foot of the staircase to form the first tread, its weight and solidity are an impressive addition to the design, its rough surface providing a contrast to the smooth plastered wall and providing a visual link to the highly textured brick wall opposite.
A care for the environment
Environmental sustainability is a core part of Bisca’s ethos. The company places a strong focus on sourcing materials responsibly and locally, often seeking out reclaimed examples. To ensure that each bespoke staircase integrates perfectly with the home, around 60% of the design is focused on the staircase itself and the remaining 40% goes towards careful consideration of how it connects with the building. Bisca will incorporate materials, textures, and colours from the interior scheme into the new staircase, so that the staircase sits perfectly in the home.
Every Bisca staircase is built entirely in the company’s own workshop in North Yorkshire. Each commission is the handiwork of a dedicated team of multi-skilled craftspeople, who combine traditional techniques including metalwork, blacksmithing, cabinetry, joinery and leatherworking with precision engineered designs. A striking, well-designed staircase adds value and sets the tone for the whole property, creating that all-important first impression.