A DANCER’S STAIR in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut

In the early 1980s, our firm was engaged to alter and enlarge a 1920s farmer’s cottage to be a weekend/summer home for a young family of four. In the intervening 35 years, the home had become a central in the life of the family, recently expanded to include new sons-in-law and grandchildren. To accommodate, the family returned to us to alter the layout for more overnight guests, to be more comfortable for large family gatherings, and more accommodating for simultaneous individual activities.

While the major work consisted of reconfiguring space within the existing volume for better circulation, more useful spaces, proportions and relationships, and updating the kitchen and systems, the program included the addition of a small new volume to be the arrival/departure zone for the independent comings and goings of three families in all seasons and weathers.                          

Inspired by the client’s career as a professor of choreography, the stair spindles in the arrival zone are set in a pattern and rhythm perceived differently from every vantage point, just as dancers create patterns unique to each viewers vantage point. The spindles “dance” on the stair treads, which were reclaimed from a much-loved diseased maple taken down on the property years prior.