Bookcase Staircase


Using ingenuity to realise a homeowner’s lofty ambitions

This innovative staircase was designed as part of a loft extension to the top floor flat of a Victorian mansion block in north west London. Our proposal extended the flat into the unused space above, creating a new bedroom level and increasing the floor area of the flat by approximately one-third.

We created a secret staircase, hidden from the main reception room and lit by roof lights, which accesses the new loft bedroom.

Limited by space, we melded the idea of a staircase with our client’s desire for a library, to form a ‘library staircase’, which holds around 2,000 books. English oak stair treads and shelves are both lined with books on three sides. With a skylight above illuminating the staircase, it becomes the perfect place to stop and browse a tome.

The structure is an upside down sedan chair, carrying the whole weight of the stair and books back to the main structural walls of the building. It dangles from the upper floor, thereby avoiding any complicated party structure issues with the residential floors below.

The bookcase staircase has been featured on countless design and interiors websites over the years, including Apartment Therapy, House & Garden, PSFK and Design Taxi.

  • Structural Engineer
    Rodrigues Associates
  • Start on site
    February 2002
  • Completion
    October 2002