3 Unique Staircase Features of Historic Homes

We often hear that “change” is constant in this world and it holds some truth in the many aspects of human history. How do people live? What are their aspirations? The many interlacing developments that they work hard on, and the very language they speak do change over time. Such also is true in some minute details in the field of architecture and house design. 

Did you know that staircases architecture before involved the use of three features that are not very common in today’s designs? Houses built in the 1900s or homes considered to be antiques hold so much beauty and exquisite features that can leave you awestruck. This article will tackle some unique and interesting staircase features such as stair dust corners, stair rods, and the one upside-down baluster.  So, read on and learn this information. 

1. Stair Dust Corners

The reign of Victorian architecture in the early 1800s exemplifies a magnanimous shift in architectural breakthroughs that lavished its style with symmetry, Renaissance revival interiors, many small windows, and limited ornamentation. The subtle styles of the past were rejected in favor of a style that reflected the prosperity of certain social classes.

Depending on the size and grandeur of the building, home designs were intricately featured, such as several key styles of the Victorian staircase. Many Victorian public buildings and stately homes featured grand Victorian staircases, which were often built as double staircases with divides a grand double staircase designed to bisect a house can add tremendous gravitas to a building’s entrance. 

Stair corner dust guards were meticulously attached to the place where they create a smooth, concave corner which was invented to make sweeping easier. These stair guards add character to wooden staircases and were part of the key elements for making a staircase statement along with Gothic-style decorations and Victorian patterns and bold textures. 

Though the first use of stair dust corners dates to the Victorian era when Queen Victoria reigns, they remain a practical and elegant addition to staircases of today. Many homeowners, as well as architectures, incorporate this into their staircases and design. They are also installed at the intersection of the tread, riser, and skirt board and into awkward corners in your home, such as those between a wall and fireplace molding which make cleaning your stairs a breeze. 

2. Stair Rods

Stair rods first appeared in lower-middle to upper-class Victorian homes with wooden staircases covered by stair runner carpets in the late 18th century. They were used as a method of installation to hold the carpet runner in place by the late 1700s. They were a fashionable solution to a practical problem. The rods served a purpose in that they could be used to periodically pull the runner up or down so that the nose of the stair didn’t rub or fade the runner in one spot. However, if done incorrectly or too frequently, moving the stair runner up or down to prolong the life of the carpet, while a good housekeeping practice, may cause carpet slippage, resulting in many residents arriving at the bottom of their staircase sooner than intended. Stair rods are no longer necessary because a carpet fitter will tuck down the stair runner to keep it in place.

In more affluent homes, stair rods had much more innovative and decorative designs. This included metal scrollwork on the bar and various shapes such as triangular rods. Stair rods were made from a variety of materials, including brass and wood. Middle-class homeowners who couldn’t afford to install decorative stair rods on every step frequently used decorative rods up to the landing to impress guests, while a plain rod was used to secure the runner on the steps further up the staircase.

Further, in modern architecture, stair rods are commonly used to add style and sophistication to a staircase. Whatever style, design, and finish you choose, high-quality stair rods will make your home appear more luxurious. These inexpensive accessories can transform your staircase from ordinary to extraordinary, allowing you to show off your sense of style while also adding value to your home. These tubular rods are made of high-quality metal and come in a variety of finishes to match and complement any interior stair setting.

3. One Upside-Down Baluster

A baluster, also known as a spindle, is a small post that supports the coping or handrail of a parapet or railing. Colonnettes are depicted as balusters in Assyrian palaces by contemporary bas-reliefs and are similarly used in many Gothic railings. Although no Greek or Roman examples of the baluster are known, Italian Renaissance designers made extensive use of it, employing forms richly molded and usually round instead of the medieval colonnette. More information about balusters versus balustrades even colonnades are a click away while the features of Renaissance balusters typically had a capital, a base, and a vase-shaped form in the middle. In early Renaissance work, a form like two vases set base to base is frequent. Later Renaissance architects codified balusters into orders like columns, while Baroque architects went to the other extreme of fantasy in baluster form. The term “baluster shaft” refers to any similar vertical shaft, such as those found in Saxon’s work dividing the windows.

If your historic staircase has one upside-down baluster, you can blame superstition. While some claim that the builders installed one baluster on purpose to acknowledge that “only God’s creations are perfect,” others cite an English superstition that an upside-down baluster would prevent the devil from climbing the stairs and taking anyone on their deathbed. In any case, this feature appears to be linked to a higher power. You will find many forums asking about this bizarre imperfection in their staircases especially when they bought their house which was built in the 1800s towards the 1900s. Some on the one hand say, that it is associated with good luck too.

Finally, in whatever light you view these unique features, it is wonderful to know that such complexities were once part of historical architectural details. They are still used today, and you can find them on Amazon or in antique hardware if you want to add a lavish historical touch to your home or staircase design.

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