Unwilling to sacrifice floor space to a standard stairwell in
an already compact floor plan, architect Richard Morongell
designed and built this custom hatch cover
(1). Located in front of a kitchen counter
— a natural conversation area — it easily supports
six adults without deflection.
Morongell kept the 185-pound cover relatively light and compact
by building it around a Hexacomb core, a kraft-paper honeycomb
panel (2) typically sold as a protective
packaging material (877/692-6163,
hexacomb.com). The hatch
practically floats open on a pair of inexpensive gas springs
(3), each with a 100-pound lift capacity
springs also exert a dampening effect on the closing force,
ensuring a quiet landing.
Closed, the nearly invisible hatch is supported on steel angles
bolted to the floor framing and concealed by finish trim.
— Dave Holbrook