Bespoke Staircase a Standout - Structural NZ
Bespoke Staircase a Standout

Bespoke Staircase a Standout

Destined to become a standout feature of a palatial country home, a bespoke fitted staircase proved a dream project for Top Flyte Systems, showcasing a consultative approach to design and craftmanship that achieved outstanding results.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

The owners of this new home had invested a lot of time on research and had specific ideas about how they wanted their staircase to the master suite to look. This was to be their grand ‘forever home’ and so it needed to be perfect.

For the staircase design, they wanted to complement the sweeping expanse of American white oak floors throughout the living spaces. At the same time, they were keen on creating a bit of difference by breaking up the oak with subtle material and textural contrasts.

The home was built by GJ Gardner. But because this project was truly bespoke, more technical and not the stock standard flight of carpeted stairs, Top Flyte’s Operations Manager, Jude Beetham collaborated directly with his clients. Together, they made the decisions throughout all stages from design to installation and he says, it was an awesome experience.

As soon as Jude showed them images of what was possible, they instantly knew what they liked. And they were quick to select elements that would culminate in a slightly rustic, not-so-perfect farmhouse look that suited the rural environs on Pye’s Pa Road, just out of Tauranga.

Says Jude: “We decided to make the stringers, which are the side pieces of the staircase, from pine. To give the desired contrast, the risers or the upright sections between steps were painted white, so we made them from MDF board.”

In between the newel posts, the balustrade was fashioned from powder coated wrought iron with a hammered finish and the handrail on top was finished in oak for a handsome tailored effect.

Jude explains a common mistake that a lot of homeowners make is they don’t decide on what balustrade they’re going to have until after the stairs are installed.

“This can create challenges for us when the newel posts go in. The benefit of building the posts into the stairs from the start is that it gives a much cleaner, stronger finish and a better end result.”

His advice for others considering a similar feature staircase is to plan ahead and think about the balustrade and the overall finished look you want before you even start building the staircase.

“The balustrade you choose affects the specifications of how everything else is engineered. It has a major impact on the design.”

...the balustrade you choose affects the specifications of how everything else is engineered. It has a major impact on the design.

As a third generation member of his family firm, Jude has worked for the business for 10 years and he has strong ideas on what makes a good looking staircase.

He believes the wealth of experience at Top Flyte sets the firm apart. His father has worked there for 35 years and his grandfather established the business 46 years ago.

“With our combined experience and ideas, we know how to keep our clients happy. It’s a very visual job. We like to start off by showing our clients pictures to help them figure out what designs and finishes they like.

“A lot of staircases are carpeted or overlaid with timber. These can still be made into a feature or blend in with the house. But for projects like this, we try to match the stairs to the rest of the home with the same timber/features and so on.”

Top Flyte also offers a very quick turnaround for quotes, within one to two days which many clients appreciate.

“Our focus has never been about price/cost” says Jude, “because our goal is to offer the client the best experience from the start of the project to the delivered finished article”

It’s a formula that has ensured the Tauranga-based company picks up orders through developers, merchants, builders, joiners and end-users from all over New Zealand, Pacific Islands and as far away as Panama and Japan.

Check Top Flyte to find out how to plan your new staircase.

Recommended reading