Modern Idea Accents For Your Malibu Home

by ritasimpson on October 9, 2012

in Architecture

Water gives shape to nature — carving places like the Grand Canyon, for example — but it also determines much of a house’s form and how it relates to nature. Beyond the roofs, walls and windows — the barriers that keep water from getting inside a home — there is a less-obvious consideration: the entrance. Water, specifically rainwater, points toward elevating a house’s first floor above the surrounding landscape. The extent of elevation varies depending on the local climate and soil conditions, but in all cases the need for a house to shed water, to keep water out of the living spaces, is paramount and one that gives shape to the approach. This ideabook looks at a variety of ascending approaches, mainly steps but also stairs.
This house on Cape Cod, in Massachusetts, turns the entrance into a ceremonial path cutting through the lawn. The wood screen on the left is the back edge of the carport. A wood door provides direct access to the house, but the formal entry sits at the top of the stone steps. The glass entry frames the sky and water beyond, making the outdoor path a desirable choice.
A perpendicular view shows how the steps are notched into the tiered lawn.
A technique similar to the previous example happens in this house, with solid steps set into gravel beds framed with metal edging. The steps have an appealing informality, perhaps inspired by the large oak tree.
This house’s steps also are informal, zigging and zagging up the front door. But the lights tucked in the gap between the floating steps are what capture the attention and guide one’s movement.
This house in Australia places the stairs at the sidewalk, on the high side of property (reducing the number of steps needed). The stairs blend into the stone wall that forms the edge of the property. A guardrail is noticeable along the stairs.
A closeup of the guardrail illustrates the custom artistic design, which is striated like the stone wall but open, giving a glimpse to where the stairs lead.
Most steps are located closer to the house, near the front door. These steps are even tucked into a small entry court.
In addition to placement, this closer view illustrates that the rise of the steps is important. These are the shallowest steps in these photos so far. With their deep treads, the stairs have a very gentle ascent, setting the tone for the rest of the house.
Articulation of steps is also a consideration. These steps appear monolithic, whereas many of the previous examples floated or had a lip on the tread. Here the material treatment is consistent with the concrete walls of the house.
modern exterior by mossArchitects

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For various reasons a house may have its first floor placed high enough that stairs make more sense than steps. (The difference: Steps sit on the ground, while stairs lie above it.) These stairs are accentuated with red paint, solid guardrails and by being tucked into a carved corner.
contemporary exterior by Studio Troika

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A similar treatment happens in this sunporch addition, where the stair guardrail and the wall are unified.
contemporary exterior Contemporary Exterior

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Here is another rear addition that takes a very different approach to entry. The stairs are tucked within the squarish volume, hiding them from various angles and acting like a slot or narrow canyon that people ascend.

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Post by Rita Simpson

Rita has written 468 articles.

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