Home Improvement

There’s a room directly above the garage that would be perfect for my office*–I’m safely away from the rest of the family unit back in a corner and I can rant on the phone or turn the music up loud without disturbing anyone–except that the only way to get to this room is to go through another bedroom. That’s not a problem now, but we can’t put anyone in the connecting bedroom without my potentially clomping through their room to get to the office while they’re asleep or otherwise engaged, and that just won’t work.

I want to do something to the house to enable me to directly access the prospective office. I talked to pop about this and we came up with what may or may not be a good idea: incorporate a dinky spiral staircase into the landing of the current staircase to allow me to cut past the bedroom and get straight to the office.


Here’s the layout (click the picture for a larger version). I want to get from the landing to the other side of the 87″ wall. At the top of the picture, you can just barely see the door that leads to the room above the garage I’d like to use for an office. The 34″ is the amount of wall above the floor on the other side of the wall, so that could just be cut out. According to my math, that leaves 53″ that I’ve got to climb in pretty compact fashion.

The 14″ at the bottom of the image refers to a modification pop suggested, which is raising the landing by a couple of steps in order to get some more depth to it so there’s more room for the spiral staircase–or whatever other solution we come up with–in the corner of the landing, and less vertical space to climb. These are standard interior steps with a 7″ rise so two of them would raise the landing 14″, leaving 39″ of vertical distance to the door. (If the 14″ is to scale in the image, that’s totally by accident.)

Here’s an example of a short spiral staircase I found on the internets:

Obviously I could ghetto this thing out and just hang a rope ladder over the wall, but I think putting an actual spiral staircase in here would have a pretty compact footprint, only require about four steps, and might look cool to boot.

Any ideas?

*well, the room also needs a window or two and some other stuff. But the location is perfect if I can get access worked out.

11 thoughts on “Home Improvement”

  1. A spiral staircase seems a little bit spindly to me. I’m thinking that what you really need is a secret passage. Either a Maxwell Smart elevator phone booth or a bookcase that you open to get to the stairway. BAM! Pizzazz!

  2. Not sure how much room you have between the room you’re trying to get to and the wall you need to get over. I’m assuming there isn’t enough available space to just carve out a chunk of that wall and the floor on the other side to make another set of standard stairs going the other way off your landing towards the future office?

    And if you do install the spiral, could that make it impossible to move big furniture from upstairs out of the house should you ever need to?

  3. Here’s a half-assed not-to-scale diagram of the situation from above. Click it for a larger version.

    Left is the before view, right is the after view. Obviously, one problem is fitting a spiral staircase (or any other solution I can think of) in a 35″ deep landing. I’ve been reading that spiral staircases are often five feet in diameter or wider, though I think I ought to be able to get away with less because the thing will be so short. According to my in-depth calculations that means I need 30″ for the quarter spiral that will extend out from the back wall of the landing (the shaded area on the left of the second image).

    By moving the landing up two steps and moving those steps over to the other stairway, I can get my landing depth from 35″ to 57″.

    There’s no room on the other side of the wall to do much–it’s a landing which leads straight to the door to the mancave. I think I’d be able to get anything up the stairs I could before if I did this… are you buying it?

  4. Jared, that’s definitely an option. In some ways it’s much cleaner. I’d prefer to not have to go through the garage to get to my office, but that’s not a dealbreaker. A larger concern for me is the loss of floor space in the office. The spiral staircase is probably the smallest footprint we can get but the mancave isn’t that large a room and I’d prefer to conserve the space in there.

  5. What if you had two entrances – one from the bedroom and one from the garage? Then you could use the bedroom entrance as your main entrance but use the garage entrance if you had guests.

  6. I’ll add to the documentation here by measuring out my prospective office tonight, but I really don’t want to blow the square footage in the office floor to a spiral staircase, and I can’t think of a lower-profile entrance to use than that.

    I had a contractor over this weekend to look over some projects we’re considering in the house and he immediately starting talking engineering consultation and permits with the city and whatnot when I brought up the spiral staircase. Apparently the municipal government is all Nazi Russia about making such changes to one’s house.

  7. So you’d cut a door in the wall down to the office floor over the landing, then install a small ladder that you’d only use if guests were staying in the room? That sounds like a good solution.

  8. That’s it Dre… I’ve been avoiding that line of thought cause an indoor ladder sounds goofy to me, but I’m sure it can be done, and it’ll be way cheaper than any of the crazy schemes I’ve come up with.

    I was a little worried about the wall behind the ladder staying minty fresh with all the foot traffic but we usually have our shoes off when we’re not on the ground floor so that should work out.

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