written by:
August 8, 2013
As we prepare for our November issue, which is all about small spaces, we’re thinking small, and that often means creative use of otherwise wasted space above the main floor. Getting to these spaces always requires an equally space-saving vehicle. Enter the ladder, that age-old device that may have its ups and downs (we couldn’t resist), but whether helping us reach for that top-shelf book or getting us to our sleeping loft, can be rendered in so many oh-so-modern ways. Here are some that have graced the pages of Dwell.
Dan Garness used paint and well-placed windows to keep Duane’s office bright and airy.

In law professor Carole Goldberg and sociology professor Duane Champagne’s Los Angeles home, books are stacked to the rafters of the 13-foot-high ceiling. Reaching them, as well as an adjacent sleeping loft, is a snap with library ladders (about $1,500 each from Alaco Ladder Company).

Photo by: Shawn Records

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Coast Docs
1 / 11

Stella needs no help reaching for books in the double-height library of her family’s home in Boise, Idaho. The space was converted from a closet.

Photo by: Lincoln Barbour

Photo by 
Originally appeared in 5 Creative, High-Design Bookshelves
2 / 11
Now rented out as an office/retail space, the downstairs contains a kitchen, which is fitted with Ikea lamps and steel shelving by Azevedo. For the flooring she glued down fiber-cement HardiePanel siding more commonly used for building walls, both because

For the Victorian house architect Christi Azevedo shares with her partner, Katherine Catlos, in San Francisco, Azevedo conceptualized the downstairs kitchen and office, complete with a traditional library ladder.

Photo by: Dave Lauridsen

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Bay Wash
3 / 11
A rolling ladder made from salvaged wood and components leads to a small, yet well equipped, office.

A rolling ladder made from salvaged wood and components leads to a small, yet well equipped, office in the Zimmerman family’s Craftsman in Seattle, Washington.

Originally appeared in Garden Pavilion, Seattle
4 / 11
Sleeping space is adventurously tucked away in an alcove above the kitchen, accessible by a track ladder that slides along a rail mounted above the counter.

For a residence in downtown Pittsburgh’s Penn-Liberty Historic District, reimagined by developer Eve Picker and her partner, architect Dutch MacDonald of Pittsburgh’s Edge Studio, a sleeping space is tucked away in an alcove above the kitchen, accessible by a track ladder that slides along a rail mounted above the counter.

Photo by: Roger Davies

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Steel Life
5 / 11
The living room of the Nissenboim and Rice residence, featuing a ladder leading to the master bedroom.

In a young Charleston couple’s reawakened 19th-century house, a ladder created by Peyton Avrett serves as an unorthodox way to the upstairs, and it also serves as a fire escape since the house only has one stairwell.

Photo by: Daniel Shea

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Raise High the Roof Beams
6 / 11

In Mark Schatz and Anne Eamon’s small Houston house, a ladder leads up to the bedroom, which is tucked under the curve of the vaulted roof.

Photo by: Misty Keasler

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Small Amidst Sprawl
7 / 11
An exterior view of the cascading architectural promenade of the Douglas House.

Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, the 1973 Douglas House was one of architect Richard Meier’s first residential commissions. A series of ladders and cantilevered staircases join the levels.

Photo by Dean Kaufman

Photo by 
Courtesy of 
© Dean Kaufman 2011 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Originally appeared in The Lake House That's a Living Piece of Architecture History
8 / 11
The stairway to the sleeping loft is a riff on a ship's ladder: "We spent a lot of time figuring out how much space we need to maneuver," says David. "It allowed us to make it as small and perfect as we wanted to." Instead of a handrail, sail cleats are b

Architecturally minded Im and David Schafer got very creative in their 426-square-foot San Diego rental; the stairway to the sleeping loft is a riff on a ship's ladder. Instead of a handrail, sail cleats are bolted to the walls as hand-holds.

Photo by: Misha Gravenor

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Living Room
9 / 11
Here's a view from the second floor, which is accessed via a ladder from the charcoal gray mezzanine.

A delicate ladder leads from the main living area to the upper floor in “2004,” a home in Matsumoto, Japan, designed by Hideyuki Nakayama.

Originally appeared in Hideyuki Nakayama's '2004' House
10 / 11
Lewis descends a metal-tube set of stairs fabricated by a maker of ship’s ladders. A banister from the original restaurant stairway serves as a railing for the sleeping loft.

While it’s not technically a ladder, this metal-tube staircase fabricated by a maker of ship’s ladders gets the residents of this converted restaurant in L.A.’s Chinatown to their sleeping loft in style.

Photo by: Bryce Duffy 

Photo by 
Originally appeared in Sun Mun Way Cool
11 / 11
Dan Garness used paint and well-placed windows to keep Duane’s office bright and airy.

In law professor Carole Goldberg and sociology professor Duane Champagne’s Los Angeles home, books are stacked to the rafters of the 13-foot-high ceiling. Reaching them, as well as an adjacent sleeping loft, is a snap with library ladders (about $1,500 each from Alaco Ladder Company).

Photo by: Shawn Records

Photo by Shawn Records.

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