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January 9, 2014
Sagging stairs and sad stoops will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the following inspirational ideas from clever architects and homeowners.
Living green roof stairway with native grasses

On Austin’s outskirts, where urban, industrial, and rural collide, lawyer and science-fiction author Chris Brown’s bunker-style home redefines modern city living. Native grasses spill forth from the green roof toward a stairway leading to the main level. Photo by Dave Mead. 

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Originally appeared in A Home Fit for a Science Fiction Writer
1 / 10
Narrow brick house in Harlem, New York.

Yvette Leeper-Bueno and Adrian Bueno’s home, on West 112th Street, is recognizable by its two-story bay window angled to bring light and views into the dark, narrow structure. Simple concrete steps help to further modernize the facade. “There’s a threshold of planting between the outside and inside,” says architect Laura Briggs, citing the blooming boxes on the sidewalk, the rear deck, and the master-suite terrace (above the bay window). Photo by Adam Friedberg.

Originally appeared in 5 Small and Narrow Modern Houses
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Here's a view of the steel and glass master bedroom as it cantilevers over the patio and yard. You can see the cantilevered concrete patio in the foreground. The structure of the building is more common to commercial construction—steel framing with metal

Architect J.C. Schmeil of Merzbau Design Collective recently completed this 4-bedroom, 4-bath house on Lake Austin in Texas, designed for a couple with three young children. The steel and glass master bedroom cantilevers over the patio and yard. You can see the cantilevered concrete patio in the foreground, complemented by wide concrete stairs. The structure of the building is more common to commercial construction—steel framing with metal studs, storefront glass, and a concrete topping slab poured onto corrugated metal decking at the second floor. Photo by Brian Mihealsick. 

Originally appeared in Lakeside House in Texas
3 / 10
House in Toronto on small lot.

Young architects often design homes for their parents. But for Toronto's Julia Knezic, it was an especially intimate job: her mom Susan Farkas's new house is next to her own. A duo of materials on the stairs—wood and concrete—add a subtle texture to the facade. Photo by Sean Galbraith.

Originally appeared in 5 Small and Narrow Modern Houses
4 / 10
Every evening, the residents climb the 32 steel stairs to retreat in their “nest."

When an elderly couple residing in Tokyo asked him to design a weekend retreat in the dense forest of Agatsuma-gun, Go Hasegawa mimicked the surrounding tall, slender trees. The main living space floats roughly 21 feet in midair and is supported by thin stilts, accessible only by a metal staircase. Every evening, the residents climb the 32 steel stairs to retreat in their "nest." Photo by Go Hasegawa. 

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Originally appeared in Stilted Living
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Exterior stairway by main entrance

Architect Jorge Gracia came to Dwell’s attention with a house he built for his family that was radically different from any other in his hometown of Tijuana, Mexico. An exterior stairway meeting the main entrance leads to the guesthouse. Photo by Paco Perez Arriaga.

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Originally appeared in Appetite for Construction
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A mere 172 square feet, the tree house in the hills of Brentwood in Los Angeles was designed by Rockefeller Partners Architects, Inc. as a refuge, gallery and guest cottage.

A mere 172 square feet, this tree house in the hills of Brentwood in Los Angeles was designed by Rockefeller Partners Architects, Inc. as a refuge, gallery and guest cottage. Steel cables keep the occupants safe on the front stair. Photo by Eric Staudenmaier.

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Originally appeared in An Atypical Tree House
7 / 10
<p>In early 2006, Katie and John Eller reached out to a friend for a reference. "She said, 'I want your architect and your contractor,'" recalls Sarah Willmer, founder of <a href="http://www.studio-sw.com">Studio Sarah Willmer, Architecture</a>.

In early 2006, Katie and John Eller reached out to a friend for a reference. "She said, 'I want your architect and your contractor,'" recalls Sarah Willmer, founder of Studio Sarah Willmer, Architecture. "Katie had heard so many renovation horror stories and saw that her friends were having such a good time with us; we just had a such a good rapport with her friend." Soon after, the couple sat down with Willmer to plan the renovation of their old Victorian home in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. Photo by Ken Gutmaker. 

Originally appeared in Park Street Renovation
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The house in the evening, with the main living space and basement illuminated. "It gets pretty windy here," Jamie says. "I have nightmares about the roof coming off like the lid of a can."

Architect Jamie Darnell had a simple plan for his family’s home in Kansas City, Missouri, but the result is anything but plain. The house in the evening, with the main living space and basement illuminated. Two wood-and-metal staircases flank the structure. Photo by Chad Holder. 

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Originally appeared in Affordable, SIP-Built Family Home in Kansas City
9 / 10
Outdoor garden in San Francisco

Teaming up with architect Craig Steely, an industrial designer and a mechanical engineer find just the right design for a striking home on a San Francisco hill. Wide concrete stairs lead to a small garden. Photo by Ian Allen. 

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Originally appeared in Striking Slatted Wood and Glass Home in San Francisco
10 / 10
Living green roof stairway with native grasses

On Austin’s outskirts, where urban, industrial, and rural collide, lawyer and science-fiction author Chris Brown’s bunker-style home redefines modern city living. Native grasses spill forth from the green roof toward a stairway leading to the main level. Photo by Dave Mead. 

Photo by Dave Mead.

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