CAR: Case Study
Back in 1982 on a project nearing completion on Whidbey Island, Shawn Christman arrived on the jobsite to find a staircase substructure framed with the kind of warped, wet scrap lumber leftover at the end of a job. Nothing was true. Absolutely nothing was plumb. It was nearly impossible for Shawn and his small team from the then four-year old Seattle Stair to come in with their hardwoods and finesse a usable and attractive stair out of the mess.
This maddening experience propelled us to invent a better way to build a stair.
Research led to an old-time stair-maker whose work had landed in the Smithsonian. Shawn studied the century’s old technique of designing a theoretically perfect construct to fit the hole (here, a stairwell). He spent years perfecting the process where he and his crew would come in and measure that hole then “disappear” back to their studio for a few months to create a hand-in-glove structure that would be brought back to the job site, installed, and best yet fit perfectly and be pleasing to the eye. When factoring in the complicated geometry and artistic rigors this is no small feat.