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by Jamie Fisher When confronted with a stubborn layout problem, I go right to the stairs. Of course, stairs can be frustrating in their inflexibility. You can't cut across a stair. You can't access a stair except at a landing. You can't make stairs serve a second function, or furnish them, or make them shorter or narrower to suit the space at hand, or cut back the headroom to suit the floor plan above. Stairs insist on a certain amount of space, and they don't share well. On the other hand, stairs can do marvelous things (besides getting us up and down). Their configuration drives the organization of a house, determining where you arrive at a floor