The Portledge rear staircase

Words:
Ruth Slavid

Winner: Interiors Award

Sponsored by

This new rear staircase is designed as a distinct contemporary insertion into the old medieval service wing of Portledge House, a grade II* listed manor house in north Devon.

Replacing a damaged multi-phase service flight, the stair is part of a reordering of the house that sees this area become much more important to the flow of the principal rooms.

  • Quality of workmanship is superb.
    Quality of workmanship is superb.
  • The staircase has English oak chevrons between darker walnut fins.
    The staircase has English oak chevrons between darker walnut fins.
  • Lighting accentuates the colour contrasts and the texture.
    Lighting accentuates the colour contrasts and the texture.
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Staircase sections blend with wall panelling to create a homogeneous design that uses English oak chevrons between darker walnut fins. In the staircase sections, the walnut fins continue through the panelling to form spindles topped with a leather handrail. Spindle sections have arc pieces of varying sizes cut through them to create an organic flow through the staircase guard rails. 

CNC machining was used to produce ­accurate setting out before the staircase was assembled by hand using traditional joinery techniques. While the staircase provides a practical function as one of two primary staircases in the house, its design as a bespoke sculptural piece was instrumental in winning it approval from Historic England and the local conservation officer.

There is also considerable and considered conservation of existing historic timber in other parts of the house. 

The judges said:   ‘This is an almost faultless piece of work, a surprising intervention in the historic context that works extremely well.’


Location Bideford, Devon

Architect Witcher Crawford Architects and Designers

Joinery company Warren Hughes Furniture

Wood species German walnut, English oak


Highly commended 

Christ Church Crypt, Spitalfields

 
The judges felt this project made intelligent use of the previously neglected crypt of Hawksmoor’s Grade I listed church.
The judges felt this project made intelligent use of the previously neglected crypt of Hawksmoor’s Grade I listed church.

Location Spitalfields, London

Architect Dow Jones Architects

Building client/owner The Rector & PCC, Christ Church Spitalfields

Structural engineer Momentum Engineering

Main contractor/builder Coniston 

Joinery company Icklesham Joinery 

Wood supplier Timbmet Group 

Wood species used European oak

Shortlisted: Tufnell Park Road
Shortlisted: Tufnell Park Road Credit: Location London Architect TYPE Studio

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