A Showstopping Staircase in Houston’s Sherwood Forest Encourages Design Teams to Step Up
Updated: Aug 8, 2022
Set on three acres in the heart of Houston’s exclusive Sherwood Forest, this Mediterranean-inspired estate demanded precision and expertise to bring some of the home’s most dramatic architectural elements to life.
The outdoor staircase, in particular, was no easy feat and presented numerous challenges. The design features two sets of stairs — one straight and one a double-helix — that frame the corner of the home’s terrace. Developing the detailed plans and specifications required complex problem solving to ultimately realize the client’s vision. It required everyone involved to quite literally “step up”.
““The technical nature of the staircase required an extreme attention to detail. Maiden Stone was provided a design concept and then the architect, installer and Maiden Stone collaborated to precisely define the technical requirements to achieve the very complex intent. The design had no margin for error, the stones had to be cut perfectly, and the materials delivered with expert precision,” Maiden Stone’s Founder and President Sandra Jonas Desguin said.
One of the greatest challenges was getting the architectural plans to account for all the technical speciﬁcations required to bring the design to life. The precision of the pieces required extensive CAD development and included so much detail that the architect’s computer could not even load the files that Maiden Stone developed. To confirm the as-built dimensions, Maiden Stone had a life-sized foam mockup of the complex radiused section of the staircase built and delivered to the jobsite for final approval before stone fabrication began.
“The pieces that posed the greatest challenges were related to the staircase’s ramp & twist” Jonas Desguin said. “The double helix of the staircase curves one way, levels off, and then curves in the opposite direction. Because the curved pieces lack a ﬂat side, a special piece of machinery was used to assemble the piece once completed to ensure they ﬁt together perfectly.”
Lastly, to complete the project on time, it was necessary to ship the entire staircase by air. This required additional special crating and handling to make sure that all the effort put into the design and fabrication wasn’t lost if damaged pieces were delivered to the jobsite.
“Overall, this project pushed our team and our abilities to new heights,” Jonas Desguin said. “The end result proves that while stone may look simple at ﬁrst glance, there are nuances to great design that only we as experts in stone know how to navigate to bring the most challenging projects to life.”