Stairway to Orderliness

By John Capone
|  Thursday, Oct 1, 2009  |  Updated 6:37 AM EDT
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Stairway to Orderliness

Apartment Therapy

It goes all the way up.

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OK egghead, you read all the time. Great. But your apartment is a mess of stacks of splayed spines and tattered paperbacks stacked in corners. Not good. Books are great, but let's face it: they can cause a real problem when it comes to finding room for them in tiny NYC apartments. Or London for that matter. It's a common, and global conundrum.

When faced with the problem of a small apartment on the top floor of a Victorian-style house and a couple who owned a lot of books, Levitate Architects turned the high ceiling into a loft bedroom with a remarkable bookshelf staircase. The most amazing part? It's a rental! (Maybe leases are more lenient across the pond.)

The staircase, which the renter described as "terrifying" at first, because of its steepness, hangs from steel beams so as not to cause any permanent structural damage. "With a skylight above lighting the staircase, it becomes the perfect place to stop and browse a tome," say the architects. How do the owners of the flat feel? "It's just brilliant because the way it's conceived, you can walk by it and not even notice it. So it's like this fabulous surprise.”

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