[Photo courtesy of Fontanot]

There’s an interesting provision in the International Building Code that allows a residence to use a spiral stairway to access a space of 250 square feet or less. This is sort of a big deal because conventional stairways are big and relatively expensive. The footprint of a typical residential stairway is around 14’ long by 3’ wide, throw in the necessary landings and walls and you’re easily at a footprint of 60 square feet or more. That’s a decent chunk of floor area. The footprint of a spiral stair, on the other hand, is a modest 20 square feet. Not only do spiral stairs save space but they’re also just good old fashioned fun. Show us someone who doesn’t want to scramble up a spiral stairway to see what’s at the top and we’ll show you someone that we definitely don’t want around while we’re tipping back martinis.

[Photo courtesy of Solid Forms]

Being architects and builders we come across good applications for circular stairs in a variety of situations but there’s one instance more common than any other. Older houses that need remodels typically have that funny little attic space above the ceiling – it’s too small to turn into the master suite but big enough that it’s a shame to only use for storing Christmas decorations. If designed correctly it could be a small bedroom, a home office, a reading room or a kid’s play loft. While a conventional stairway would eat-up too much of the footprint, a spiral stair is just small enough to be practical.

[Photo courtesy of Eleve Stairs]

Perhaps the most important part of the equation is that spiral stairs can be pre-fabricated and shipped out to the site ready for install. If coordinated correctly they can be cost effective and look hot and modern. Everybody wins and we’re big fans of everybody winning.

[Photo courtesy of Salter Spiral Stair]

Recently we took a look at several different spiral stair models for a project of ours and we rounded up some great manufacturers to highlight. This is not a showcase of the coolest spiral stairs out there mind you –there are already plenty posts that do that quite well. It is rather a source guide for cost-effective pre-fab spiral stairs. The intent is that you could email off some dimensions and a check and have a stair unit shipped to your door. Here’s a quick peek at our list:

Solid Forms, New York, NY

Eleve Stairs, Argentina

Custom Iron, Zumbrota, MN

Fontanot, Milan Italy

Salter Spiral Stair, Collegeville, PA

Tell us what you like and what you don’t. Most importantly if you’ve got some sources of your own –hit that comments button and get em up here.