Fontanot Arke Stairs

New Lakehouse Combines Modern Design With Classic Style

Construction How-To, Stairs May 19, 2021 chad



Modern stairs and railing meld with a classic Dog Trot Acadian 

By Bruce Cashbaugh

For over 12 years, George had been planning a new home on a site overlooking Lake Concordia, an ox bow of the Mississippi, about two hours north of Baton Rouge, LA. His plans included several elements of the French Acadian style, such as an exterior stairway that leads up to the Garconniere, a traditional sleeping room on the second floor, and 9’ high window/doors plus a custom-made cypress door that all open from the main-level bedrooms onto the front porch.

In 1988, George salvaged the beveled glass panels from the double front door and transom of the home that his grandparents, and later he, lived in. George kept the panels carefully wrapped and stored away, with the express intent to reuse them in his future retirement home. When the plans for his new empty-nester home began to come together, he was finally able to design and build a custom-made front door incorporating the 100+year-old beveled glass panels.

“We wanted a lot of windows to take advantage of the lake view, and to encourage as much natural ventilation as possible. This architectural style makes for a very open-concept main living area, and I searched for just the right stairway that wouldn’t detract from the spacious feeling. We knew we wouldn’t put a bit of carpet in our home, and wanted some wood, but also a design that would add to the openness of the hallway, not detract from it,” said George.

“I searched around and found Viewrail FLIGHT floating stairs. Our stairway has a 90-degree turn, and since the second story is much more traditional than the first story, I thought to reflect those differences in the stairway. I installed the five floating stair treads along with Vedera glass railing that goes up to two triangle-shaped platforms as a transition, and a more traditional stairway then leads up to the bedrooms on the second floor. ”

The wood components on the main level are all White Oak, including all of the flooring, the42”wide stair treads, and the handrails on both sides of the glass railing. All the wood was finished on site to obtain a perfect color and sheen match. The mild steel stringer supporting the floating stairs is fluoropolymer powder coated in Fashion Grey. The Viewrail Vedera glass railing is a unique way to provide the security and protection important when the grandchildren come over, and to meet local building codes. The tempered, low-iron glass railing appears to slice through the treads, and was customized to extend 3” into the bottom tread, and 2” into the angled landing. The end caps perfectly match the grain patterns of the tread, because they were cut from the same pieces of lumber.

George wound up doing more work on the home himself than what he had planned. For example, he reframed all 14 windows and three doors. And when the fifth plumber couldn’t finish the work on time, George finished the task himself.

Still, he’s quite happy with the results. “My wife, Donna, and I love our new home, especially our centerpiece floating staircase!” George commented. This home truly demonstrates the versatility of modern styles, textures, and colors. It’s a unique combination of styles that blend smoothly together, mixing the French Acadian architectural style with personal mementos, highlighted by notes of a modern esthetic. In a time before air conditioning, the broad walkway through the middle of the home encouraged natural breezes to keep the home cooler during the stifling summer months. That concept is intact in this new home.

 


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