Artful Entry: Staircase Design

A Seattle woodworker is earning a reputation as a stair artist (and tubs too)

July 09, 2018
Seattle woodworker Nathie Katzoff, owner of NK Wood­working & Design, is earning something of a reputation as a stair artist. So, for art collectors in search of an entry staircase to function as the home’s focal point as well as a piece of sculpture, Katzoff was the logical choice. Referred by the home’s architect, Katzoff faced a challenge: design, build, and install a stair that would fit gracefully with the rest of the home, yet make its own statement. 
The stair treads are a combination of black walnut and treated white oak. The four visible stringers at the right of the run are also black walnut, mixing clear finish walnut and bleached walnut for varying tones. A walnut handrail wraps around hand-cast glass newels that resemble blocks of ice. Katzoff’s aim was a modern play on the traditional flourish of a stair rail volute. 


The design was first drawn by hand, then a 3-D model was built in the shop, “so the clients would know exactly what they were getting,” Katzoff says.
A duplicate stringer was concealed inside the drywall so the crew had the necessary structural support for installing the final assembly, which, except for the balcony glass, was also built in the shop, taken apart for transport, and reassembled on-site. Katzoff notes that the owners put enormous trust in his team to execute something that would be in sync with the completed home. This project, he says, makes him proud because “it has all the bold geometry of a modern piece, but when you get up close, the details tell a richer story.”
Project: Walnut and Ice, Northern California 
Designer: NK Woodworking & Design, Seattle
Photos: Matthew Gallant

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