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Open staircase

Our staircase is open.  We didn't plan for it to be that way but it ended up looking the best.  First we started with sprayed in foam insulation underneath before the sheetrock went on.  This keeps them nice and quiet with three boys running up and down.  Wanting a classic look with a contemporary twist, we painted the risers white to match the trim in the house and had pine treads made.  Yes, I said pine.  I know pine dents, wears, marks, and will get roughed up.  That is exactly what we wanted despite the many contractors that tried to sway us from doing it.  They have a natural finish on them to match the glue laminated structural beams.  A simple metal railing like we wished to have wouldn't pass code.  Nothing less than jail cell bars would pass code!  So, my dear husband made a aluminum railing (his business is in aluminum) that would pass and took it down as soon as the inspector drove away.  He literally had the wrench in his hand as he was said goodbye.  I had a hard time keeping a straight face!  We planned to make another like we wanted originally but now like it all open.  Since we don't have little ones anymore, it works for us just fine.

Of course we have a railng upstairs.  It is simply unfinished square aluminum tubing attached to leftover laminated beam pieces at either end.  The room above is completely open to the stairs so it wraps around in an L shape.

Leaving the stairs open underneath gave us a nook to make into a reading spot.  It is cozy and our youngest uses it often.  We had lots of ideas for this area - desk, storage, bookcases, partially enclosed dog beds, even a built in lounging couch.  Someday we may change it and do something different.
And my favorite thing around the stairs is the old fashioned J. Murphy Blacksmith sign.  I tore a picture of it out of an Ethan Allen catalog years ago.  For my birthday last year, my hubby bought it for me.  I just love it.