Part of a larger remodeling project, these simple stairs belie the attention to detail and care that went into their creation.

“We began with steel stringers,” says Ren Chandler, owner of Dyna Contracting, because the clients wanted something different, something that was airy and a striking feature in the home's high-ceilinged, open floor plan. Vertical steel railings were given a blackening treatment to gain their rich tone. Custom-ground knives were used to carve the walnut railing, which matches the walnut treads. The 3-by-6-foot landing is like another tread, but “quite a bit of it is buried in the drywall,” says Chandler, which “makes the landing seem to float.” All parts were fabricated in the company's shop, where designers made a model to help visualize the design's match to the stepping of the stringers. The stairs were built in pieces and brought to the site.

“It's a wonderful, sculptural, creative stair,” said one of the judges, who also praised the meticulous millwork, regularity of the balusters, and general attention to detail. The judges also found the mix of materials “powerful and elegant.” The clients like the “reverse stair” aspect, Chandler says, “the way the stairs look the same from underneath.”

Category: Small project/details, under $25,000

Location: Seattle

Contractor: Ren Chandler, Dyna Contracting, Seattle

Designer: Brad Gray, Dyna Contracting