The ideal staircase for a colonial home

December 21, 2012 2 min read

Every region of the country has its own signature residential architecture. In the Northeast, where some of the oldest homes in the country can be found, colonial residences are one of the trademark schools of house design.

These traditional homes are derived from the old-English style house that was made popular by the Europeans who first settled the region. The layout of these homes emphasizes symmetry, as the central front doorway divides the house down the middle when viewed from the front, while there are usually an equal number of windows on either side of the main entrance.

Colonial homes are generally two story structures where the residents’ sleeping quarters are on the second floor, while the main living areas and kitchen are on the first. This makes the main staircase one of the most important architectural features in these buildings.

Since this style of house is based in the puritan tradition, have your staircase reflect that heritage. Use simple, symmetrical design elements that have a nod to class and modesty instead of choosing accessories that are more adventurous.

Start off by choosing standard box newels to dictate the overall aesthetic of the stairway. These modestly designed pillars will anchor the sense of tradition and establish a design scheme as you move forward.

When choosing the balusters for your staircase, look into a design based upon the region where colonial homes are most prevalent. The Montpelier collection, for example, references the capital of Vermont, so represent the Northeast by incorporating these subtle spindles into your stairway.

A whitewash over your bannister will help to highlight the simple carvings that might get overlooked on an unstained staircase. Extend the paint onto the rises of the steps but leave the tread a natural wood color to give your property a true colonial essence.

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