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If you pay attention to the spatial journeys you take when you use stairs, you'll notice that some trips are exciting and pleasurable, while others are drudgery. In this article, I want to focus on the design of stairs as spatial elements, rather than as machines for getting from floor to floor. The focus is on small homes, not ones with grand stair halls. The Importance of Openness If there is one rule to follow in stair design, it is to keep the stair open on one or more sides. I have a theory as to why this is important: In a stair enclosed on both sides, you feel you are walking through a tilted tube from one