A Staircase worthy of Grand Designs

13 February 2017

Bespoke Helical Staircase by Spiral UK to RIBA Award Winning House

Sitting on the Jersey shoreline behind thick granite walls is Le Petit Fort; a RIBA winning home and ‘Grand Designs’ featured project.

The award winning piece of residential architecture by Hudson Architects was built on the site of an old farmstead house for a private client. The imposing granite walls seen from the beach were already there but the small farmstead wasn’t big enough for a family home. By renovating and extending the barriers of Jersey granite a fort wall was created to enclose the modern architectural design and hide it from view of the beach.

Spiral UK - Jersey

Within the enclosed space, in contrast to the encasing solid walls, is an open and bright family home that spans out from a central three storey entrance block of reclaimed Jersey granite. It is here that the ‘Helical Masterpiece’ by Spiral UK sits.

Spiralling up through three storeys, the Corten and Timber bespoke staircase was designed as the ‘hinge of the building’ from which the two axes span out. When the project was featured on Grand Designs the host, Kevin McCloud, commented on the impressive design of this focal staircase. It was he that coined the phrase, describing the staircase as the ‘Helical Masterpiece’ that it is and commented that the bespoke staircase was a ‘very compelling Corten staircase to the hinge of the building’.

One of the two wings of the building houses the children’s bedrooms all on the ground floor. The other wing contains a cosy living space and a home sauna that connects directly to the homes outdoor swimming pool. All the other living spaces are located on the first floor with fantastic views of the surrounding coastline through strategically placed windows.

ground floor plan of Le Petit Fort form Hudson Architects

It is the central helical staircase that connects them all, the Corten structure and solid oak tread overlays and risers spiralling up from the ground floor and topped with a circular roof light that floods the central pillar and the surrounding living spaces with natural light.

Eric Nichols from Spiral UK comments that “adding a roof light to the top of a stairwell is a fantastic way to draw light into the home. It is a design technique we see used very often with our bespoke staircase designs and one that works very well.”

A second, smaller, helical staircase sits behind the central feature staircase and connects the second floor guest quarters with the first-floor living spaces as well as giving guests direct access to the poolside on the ground floor. Hidden behind curved walls and flush sitting doors the bespoke staircase is unobtrusive in its design and location.


These central helical staircase designs, although important ones, are not the only structural design features that Spiral UK brought to the award winning building.

A bespoke external staircase sits snuggly against the building and provides access to the homes outdoor pool from the upper floor living spaces. The industrial design of this external staircase was in keeping with the Corten cladding to the outside of the building. Spiral UK used galvanised mild steel stringers and tread supports with IPE timber overlays to create the main staircase structure. The balustrades were created using profiled “fin” uprights from the stair structure with woven mesh infill panel for light travel and safety.

Spiral UK Staircase

The architectural design was the winner of the RIBA Regional Awards 2016 and was on the shortlist for House of the Year 2016. Judges commented that ‘the whole design is intelligent and confident’ helped in no small part by ‘the juxtaposition of natural materials set against highly engineered surfaces’.

Spiral UK is ‘simply delighted’ to have been a part of this award-winning design. Eric Nicholls, managing director of Spiral UK, said: “To have our work featured on Grand Designs concludes years of stairway specialism, highlighting our work in one of the country’s finest architectural builds”.

As the UK’s leading staircase designers Spiral are definitely the people to speak to if you are considering a new staircase into a home or as part of a larger project. To find out more about this award-winning project, or to talk about your own staircase design, contact Spiral UK on 01480 301 102 or email mailto: info@spiral.uk.com .

See some of Spiral’s bespoke staircase designs in person at the Sky House Design Centre in Amersham. Call 01494 722 880  or email info@skyhousedesigncentre.com  to book your free specialist consultation today. 


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