Riser With A Skirt | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

http://myatozchallenge.com/2012/02/20/welcome-to-my-a-to-z-challenge-2/Welcome to my personal A to Z Challenge on the subject of Home. The goal, in a year time, is to elaborate and dissect topics regarding the Home not as containers of stuff, but as a cocoon for the soul, mind and heart. I will touch on decorations, style, trends, history of home and sometimes technical information. One more post and my challenge is over.

Lucky are the people who have a staircase in their home! If I had stairs in my home I would never go to the gym again. Going up and down the stairs, every day and many times during the day is a good cardiovascular exercising and the best way to stay fit. Besides, the staircase offers a good opportunity to turn the space underneath the stairs into extra storage for shoes, wines, books, or a small room for some activity as writing.

In Europe where building code is not so strict people can get away with open stairs, but in America is not possible, stairs must have a handrail. Stair rails installed after March 15, 1991, must not be less than 36” in height.
However, one very important rule is that if a rail has balusters, also called spindles made of stone or wood and sometimes of metal, it cannot allow the passage of a 4” sphere between balusters/spindles. This rule was made to avoid small children to go through the spindles and make a long fall to the next floor. It happened to me when I was five years old in Europe in my grandmother’s ancient home. Playing with my brother on the stairs, I went through the rail, flew from a height similar to the second level of today’s home, hitting the marble floor so hard that I was in a coma for 45 days. I can’t even begin to think about how devastated my parents must have been.

(Photo credits are given to the respective owners)

Each part of a stair has a name and a rule.
The handrail with the fundamental rule already described.
The tread is where we put our foot to start the climbing. The minimum tread depth must be 10”.  I like the 12” tread for better comfort.
The riser is the vertical area between treads. The maximum riser height must be 7-3/4”. This part can be very decorative and one can have fun with tiles, wallpaper, hand drawings and whatever fancies the homeowner, or it can be left plain, while the tread can emphasize beautiful material.
The skirt or bracket is the decorative design created on the exposed wall between the riser and the tread. Is it important to have it? Not really, but it exalts and glorifies a staircase made with beautiful material, sinuous form, and interesting rail. Skirts are for both traditional style or contemporary style homes.
Newel posts are the post supporting one end of a handrail at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs. There is no limit to fantasy designs, the newel is the end of the stairs, make it attractive.
If you go to my Pinterest board Up And Down the Stairs, you will see some glorious staircases. http://www.pinterest.com/vcvalentina/up-and-down-the-stairs/

Stairs make the focal point of the house, especially if they start in the entry. It is of the utmost importance to design them with flair, otherwise, they will be only an imposing presence in your home. If the stairs are straight, soften them with plans, color, lights, and water features. Ciao,

Copyright © 2014 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValentinaBlueStampValentina Cirasola has been in business as a designer since 1990. She has helped a variegated group of fun people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors, and exteriors. She is a designer well-known to bring originality to people’s homes. As an Italian designer and true to her origins, she provides only the best workmanship and design solutions. Author of three books all-available on

Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Raani York
    Jan 15, 2014 @ 20:15:24

    I definitely do like the simple style here as well – a little more than the very decorative round posts – even though they are beautiful! 🙂 Nicely done!

    Even though I have to admit it must have been traumatic for you as a kid to fall down so badly. But still you apparently do like stairs, I think you do, from what I see since you did chose your pictures carefully and with love. 🙂 I hope I’m right!



    • Valentina
      Jan 15, 2014 @ 20:29:20

      You are very right, I love stairs and not afraid of them at all, in fact I wished I had stairs in my home. My Supreme Being was looking after me during the fall. I had no damage after I came out of the coma and I have been fine during my life, never even suffered a headache once. Although as a designer I am very strict on following rules when building stairs.
      Thanks for the love and the comment. 🙂 🙂 ❤



  2. Ralph
    Jan 15, 2014 @ 08:27:17

    Sorry to read about your fall those many years ago Valentina. That must have been really scary for both your parents and yourself.



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