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Rising to the Challenge

2016 Platinum Design Award Winner: Residential specialty

September 01, 2016
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Photos: courtesy Beth Singer

Remodeler: Haske Home Services, Oxford, Mich.

Architect: CBI Design Professionals, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

In a nutshell:  The clients wanted to expand their wet bar, wine, and cigar storage area into an enjoyable, one-of-a-kind space. Deeply fond of their Italian heritage, they envisioned the atmosphere of a rustic Italian cellar.  

Challenges: The room’s dramatic tone is set by a deceptively simple stone spiral staircase. The clients didn’t want a center column, and instead asked that the 200-pound treads appear to be floating in the air. But how to secure more than two tons of limestone without a center column? 

Tips & tricks: The team designed a series of blocks to support the treads on their narrower side. Enhanced with a graceful curve, the blocks were custom milled and cut to a tolerance within a 1/16 of an inch. Each one was painstakingly created for a particular location on the spiral stair.

Inside the stair tower, a network of beams and steel hold up the treads on their wider side. It took daily coordination between the architect and the remodeling team to create a workable structure, since the shape and weight of the treads, along with the curve of the wall, made the build very complicated. The result is a staircase that appears both heavy and light; strong yet impossibly airborne. (Look for the December issue of Professional Remodeler where we’ll cover the staircase’s construction in more detail.)

In the cellar, rustic alder beams, flooring, and cabinetry provide visual warmth. Two sets of French doors in the walls lead to wine storage and a walk-in humidor. The inviting lounge area is controlled by a fully concealed, state-of-the-art HVAC, smoke eater system that allows for enthusiastic cigar enjoyment without any odor.

See the full list of winning entries here.

About the Author

About the Author

Erika Taylor is the director of content for Professional Remodeler. Contact her at or 972.803.4014.

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