Drawers in the stairs! 27 Jun 2005

35 comments Latest by J

Yesterday I stumbled on this great little book called Space: Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living. It’s chock full of really creative solutions for small spaces. It’s mind opening in many directions. However, one thing really blew me away:

drawers in stairs

35 comments so far (Jump to latest)

dmr 27 Jun 05

How do you open the drawers as it looks like there aren’t any pulls—bad usability!

JF 27 Jun 05

Look closely — there are holes to put your finger in and then pull out. GOOD usability. Better than pulls actually — it would be easy to trip over the pulls as you walk up the stairs.

Dan Boland 27 Jun 05

Wow, that’s such a great idea… And the best part is that there would still be room for a closet under the stairs.

dmr 27 Jun 05

Holes—ah hah! I was thinking they were metal pieces for decoration or something; I should have known better.

Have you checked out the small spaces books (on houses under 2500sq ft, or 1500sq ft)? I’ve had them in my shopping cart a few times, maybe I’ll actually get them now.

Dave Simon 27 Jun 05

What a great idea. Mark that one down for when my wife and I build our dream home!

Allen 27 Jun 05

Good functional designs are usually conceived out of necessity. The rest of the world might benefit from this philosophy. I should try living under my desk, maybe something great will conjure.

Mr. Nosuch 27 Jun 05

Just make sure you always close the drawers completely, or…

indi 27 Jun 05

“Yes, your honor, it’s true that my husband was habitually out late … and that he was unfaithful and abusive … but when I went to bed last night alone again I did *not* deliberately leave that stair drawer open!”

dale 27 Jun 05

I have also seen bins on tracks that could be accessed under a trap door on the floor. Totally eliminated the need for closets really.

Michael Spina 27 Jun 05

Yeah, with kids in the house I’d be a little nervous about them leaving a drawer open, and me walking clumsily down the steps to my doom.

Maybe instead of a drawer, which if left open you can step inside of and trip, a swing-open door would work better. Then if left open at least wouldn’t pose as much of a safety hazard. It might be less convenient because you’d have to reach inside for the contents, but it would work for certain items (magazines, etc.).

Jeff Hartman 27 Jun 05

Usability goes out the window when you carpet those stairs. :)

JF 27 Jun 05

Oh please don’t carpet the stairs!!!

Kevin Marino 27 Jun 05

Ahh looking at that , then someone mention swing doors. Thought what would have been perhap better is the step surface over the drawer open like a trap door and the drawer, if necessary slid out some to expose space not see under stair.

This would offer two advantages, one it becomes very obvious that the drawer is open and also allows for that quick shut, two very easy to access most items with one movement that is easier to accomplish with one hand.

Dan Boland 27 Jun 05

I think that the designers had the “what if someone leaves a drawer open?” idea in mind when they made the drawers smaller than the width of the stair, leaving room on either side to walk around (and then kick shut) the open drawer.

Miriam Frost Jungwirth 27 Jun 05

Some sort of recessed pull would be better than finger-holes, given how dusty stairs can get quickly. Totally freakin’ awesome, though.

Name 27 Jun 05

Maybe the stairs could be spring loaded so they would retract automagically.

Darrel 27 Jun 05

Great Idea. But silly in America. That’s why we have the extra 2 bedrooms and the 3 car garage. ;o)

Benjy 27 Jun 05

The drawers could also have some sort of light activate when open, like a refrigerator. That’d reduce the likelihood of stepping into a drawer in the dark. Or else hinge the stair riser at the back with a piano hinge, so that the whole step lifts open like a toy box.

beto 27 Jun 05

Great Idea. But silly in America.

Well, with real estate prices skyrocketing like there’s no tomorrow, suddenly it doesn’t seem so silly an idea.

Maybe this book will help me make miracles out of my puny 200 sq.ft studio/bedroom at home…

Urbanchords 27 Jun 05

Small is better, is the big busy around the architecture magazines lately. Architectural Record’s Annuall Record Houses this year were all under 2,000 sqft.

This at the time when the average house is 150% then they were 40 years ago.

Darrel 27 Jun 05

Architectural Record’s Annuall Record Houses this year were all under 2,000 sqft

That’s a real nice shift in trends. Glad to hear that.

Phil Boardman 27 Jun 05

Usability. You need to crouch down on the stairs to open, remove the contents and then close again. Wouldn’t it be easier (and more usable) to have the drawers in the side of the stairs?

Unless of course you can’t access the side of the stairs, then having them lift rather than slide out would be a much greater improvement - not sure about the impact that would have on the strength of the stairs though.

Brad 27 Jun 05

When you’re desperate for space, usability isn’t a big issue. you’re just happy to have a place to keep your stuff.

If I had stairs like that, I’d use the drawers for things that I rarely use but have no place else to put. You’re not going to keep your frequently used small items there; you’ll keep those in your desk or by your bed.

Jeff Wheeler 27 Jun 05

Instead of worrying about stepping on the stairs, you could have a light spring pull it closed, and you can simply keep it open with your hand while you need it.

Jared 28 Jun 05

I have that book also! It’s fantastic. There are tons of other great ideas and beautiful spaces showcased in the book.

Chris from Scottsdale 28 Jun 05

DMR (the first to comment above): I take it from your comment that you assume that there are no pulls, but there really isn’t any drawer in the first place. You just need to see that.

Back to the point: Why do you immediately blame bad usability? Have you experienced other drawers without handles? I haven’t. I naturally assume drawers will have some sort of handle.

Chris 28 Jun 05

You should check out storage solutions for sailboats. Tons of creative stuff like those stairs.

Keith Free Ellis 28 Jun 05

Makes for a good hiding spot. WItrhout looking, I doubt you’d notice there were drawers there & you definitely wouldn’t be expecting it.

angela 04 Jul 05

that’s a cool little trick. it’s a whole new level to stair usage.

Bob 08 Jul 05

Your photo is much better than the one in the WSJ…

J 13 Jul 05

My barn staircase up to the hayloft has storage space in some of the stairs— the ones from about shin level to waist level. A good place to store small, well-used but not needed every week items.
The horizontal step surface is hinged so you can access the contents. It doesn’t open past about 80 degrees (the overhang of the step above prevents 90 degree opening), so it’s got to close, by gravity—you can’t leave it ‘open’ by accident. In fact, you hold it open with one hand while you reach in with t’other.
The space beneath the higher steps is accessed thru a small door in the sidewall of the staircase.
Barn was built +/- 1870.
This storage idea was NOT used inside the house…

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