Ann’s Grand Stair

In a lucky artist’s life he’ll encounter a handful of people who believe in him, and they will open doors for him. Ann is one who believed in me, and we did great work together. A great project requires inspired design, artistic choice of material, precise fabrication, and fearless installation. Ann is the best. We’re also very best friends, and will be forever. This page is dedicated to her work.


Ann’s Grand Stair

Material: Crema Marfil

Country of Origin: Spain

Because we ordered this material from Spain, especially for this job- which also included the floor, we could get it in the honed finish we wanted, and we could get a slab of exact thickness material we could use for for our curved risers. We could not make laminated risers (as in the Plaza Grand Stair, where the material was striped) because in Crema Marfil the seams would have been impossible to hide.

The flooring is 2cm Crema Marfil cut in a standard “Versailles” pattern. Ann wanted 3/16″ joints (larger than the usual 1/8″) and for them to feel “rustic”, so we used the coarse side of a farrier’s hoof rasp to rough up the edges, and ran sandpaper over them to make them semi-smoothed. It’s wonderful to be an artist working for an artist! Things turn out so well.

Templates for the Grand Stair

A staircase needs not only to be beautiful- but it also has to work, be comfortable and safe. It must be set perfectly, because if anything is off by 1/8″- or if it’s not perfectly level- you’re vulnerable to being sued if someone falls. This stair was also unusual in that it was “serpentine”, wasn’t a simple curve- it had a double curvature- something you can see more clearly in the bottom two photos, and to be sure it would work we asked the clients to use the templates for a couple of weeks before we fabricated and installed the pieces…to run up and down them, walk up and down backwards, use a different foot for the first step, turn around in the middle, etc- just to be sure. Later, the templates could be used to protect the stair while other trades- like the ornamental iron handrail artist – could work.

Fabrication Details:

The first image is of the riser for the first step, carved from a 6″ thick slab of stone. The second is a sink being carved for an adjacent powder room. The third image is of the third riser. The risers are recessed so that there’s room for setting cement and precise adjustment. The last image is of a fireplace we did for Ann on another project, there are better pictures of this under Fireplaces.