At Home in Berks February 2017 - 23

3. Connect with the landscape
These small steps act as a subtle transition from landscape
to homescape, says Peter Budnik, design associate at Wade
Weissmann Architecture.
"A handshake is often our first experience of a person; the
front few steps are often our first tactile experience of a house,"
he says. "And just as a handshake is often the basis of our judgments about a person for years to come, the front steps create a
lasting impression that's remembered on some level throughout
the rest of the house."
To start the story of this home, Budnik used landscape paving
to bring the natural surrounds right to the front door. The connection between landscape and house continues with the railing
that flares out from the home, welcoming residents, and visitors
alike. The materials that compose this space, local flagstone pavers
and painted iron, integrate the landscape and the architecture,
picking up tones from the home's stone base.

5. Focus on a material
The owner of this home wanted to maintain its natural look
by using real wood for the stairs and deck, says Michael Squier,
project manager at Gable Building. To meet the owner's wishes,
the design features cambara wood, which is similar to mahogany,
with PVC risers to create this small staircase.
People like this hardwood decking "for its hardness, rich color,
tight grain and knot-free appearance," he says. "It naturally
resists rot and does not splinter, especially if treated with a good
penetrating oil."
The design team paired the cambara with PVC trim because it
resists sunlight, holds paint well and is easy to work with, Squier
says. The PVC also wards off rot and insects, he says, making it
a perfect wood substitute in areas exposed to water and sun that
sit close to the ground.

6. Be practical

Credit: Jan Gleysteen Architects, Inc, original photo on Houzz

4. Maintain style
Two sets of steps help connect this Boston home to its lush
front lawn. To keep with the low-slung gambrel-style roof shapes,
the design team chose this step configuration, rather than one tall
staircase, says Joanne Powell, associate at Jan Gleysteen Architects.
It allows the home to sit up on the elevated plane while providing
easy access to the street-level lawn.
The designers continued the connection from landscape to
home by using fieldstone in both the risers and wall along the
driveway, and bluestone for the stoops, walkway, and patio.

Credit: JP&Co and Optima Homes, original photo on Houzz

This rustic cottage calls Minnesota home, which means that
snow blankets its front porch steps many times per year. Because
of this, Samantha Grose, lead designer at JP&CO and Optima
Homes, says the design team opted to use smooth concrete for
the steps. This makes shoveling the uncovered steps easier.
The team also paired the practical steps with a design that
maximizes curb appeal. The designers did this through considering
the staircase's scale, Grose says. "Often front porches and stairs
are undersized, making them look and feel like a last-minute
addition to the home," she says. "You want [the] steps to have
some presence."
JANUARY 2017 AT HOME IN BERKs

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