Sustainable Farmhouse Staircase, Hartlepool

A cantilevered, open-tread staircase reclaimed from land and sea

As part of an exciting renovation project, our client was remodelling and modernising a brick and stone farmhouse. Local materials reclaimed by the homeowner were the inspiration for the design of a new staircase, which was to be located in a newly created triple-height entrance space, providing a link between old and new.

Bisca staircases are 100% bespoke and whilst normally each project begins with a blank slate, this project was unusual. Our client is a strong advocate of repurposing – giving old materials a new lease of life – and so the timber they had reclaimed, in fact formed the starting point of our brief. As always, we visited the site and listened to the homeowner’s aspirations so we could approach every aspect of both their staircase design and build on a purely individual basis.

Using recycled materials was central to the vision of this entire renovation project – inspired by the homeowner’s father, who 30 years ago, was given a substantial quantity of Greenheart timber – an extremely dense, durable product, used in heavy duty marine and freshwater construction. Beautifully figured and aged, with a distinctive colour, the wood had formed harbour props as part of a 150-year-old port expansion. They were pulled from the harbour in 1990 when the Teeside Development Corporation stripped out the redundant port and deemed waste, they were given away to local farmers.

Understandably, the homeowner was keen to use the wood in the renovation and needed a bespoke specialist to incorporate it into the staircase, creating a new challenge for our design team. This design had to provide honesty and integrity and show off the beauty of the timber.

Bisca doesn’t work with templates or preconstructed parts and so our team created CAD designs for the client to review, taking into consideration the dimension of the harbour props and how the treads would be cut and shaped so they could be cantilevered from the wall. On the client’s approval, additional materials were sourced and each piece of timber was surveyed and hand-selected for its character – particularly the fissures and cracks which emphasised its previous role.

Going from a marine to a domestic environment could mean that the cracks would open up as the timber continued to dry out, so our workshop technicians hand-crafted bespoke butterfly keys, finished to match the spindles – which essentially tied the timber together to maintain the structural integrity for generations to come. Incorporating open treads in the design also allowed views through the feature window to the countryside beyond.

To fit with the agricultural heritage of the farmhouse, the staircase was complemented by a balustrade of hand-forged steel uprights with a blackened finish, and a sculptural oak newel post rising from the floor, which then transitions into the handrail running the full length of the staircase and sweeping onto the first floor landing.

The final element of this staircase – which further strengthened it’s connection to the surrounding environment – is a feature stone tread. The stone, originally part of the ‘Baltic Chamber Arch’ demolished in 1996, was discovered at a haulage yard and taken back to the farm on a tractor and trailer. Added at the foot of the staircase it contrasts with, but is empathetic to, the brick walls of the hallway.

For more information on this project please contact sales and quote the reference below….

Project ID: 7707

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