Glass and light – a bespoke staircase and doorsets for a barn conversion at West Haddon, Northamptonshire: A Case Study


Stairways delivered a bespoke staircase, with a unique cut string design supporting a structural glass balustrade, for a high-end home at West Haddon, Northamptonshire.

The Development

Conversion of a steel framed agricultural barn in rural West Haddon, Northampton to create a unique 5,000sq family home with fantastic views over the valley.

The six-bed property showcases a high-end architectural aesthetic and is flooded with light from large windows, maximising the views. The staircase, leading to a floating landing, is the focal point of a double-height atrium flowing into the open-plan living area.

Working with Stairways

The main contractor on the project, RWM Midlands Ltd, has partnered with Stairways on numerous occasions, and so chose to work with them again on this project.
Working from inspiration images provided by the client, Stairways was tasked with designing and manufacturing a bespoke staircase in oak with frameless glass balustrades.

Stairways also supplied bespoke door sets, with a unique architrave and skirting design. The mitred architrave detail matched the groove in the skirting, running uninterrupted up and over the door following around the profiles and across the joints, creating a smart, streamlined finish. Ironmongery services were also taken up and all supplied by Stairways.

The total cost of the staircase and door sets for this project was c£30K.

Challenges and bespoke solutions

The staircase they created needed to be unsupported, rising to a floating landing spanning the open-plan entryway living area. The client also wanted an all-glass balustrade uninterrupted by newels or handrails.

The solution Stairways delivered was a cut string design with square-edged treads and risers. The glass, provided by a specialist external company, is a structural element, providing both barrier and support, designed to meet strict building control standards. They worked with the sub-contractors closely to ensure the design was successful and the two elements fitted perfectly.

Neil Stevens, Stairways’ Joint Managing Director – Production, visited the site in person to carry out measurements and worked through the unique challenges, in partnership with the client, and Dan Winfield, leading the project for contractor RWM Midlands.

“He came up with some clever design solutions,” explains Dan Winfield “The client had a vision for this project, but Neil had to make it work within this particular space.

“This staircase is totally bespoke – a cut string staircase with an all-glass balustrade with no handrail on top – the glass is bolted onto the string, with a false cover string over the top so you can’t see the fixings – when you look down it looks as though the glass disappears into the wood.

“The stairs are the focal point in a big open atrium, leading to a floating landing with two steels running through it. A staircase would normally be supported on the landing but in this case, we used a steel plate welded onto the steel underneath the first tread down.

“Nothing about that staircase is standard, but Neil created a design which overcame the challenges and met the client’s requirements. The staircase he delivered was millimetre perfect and the quality is sublime.”

A great result

Adds Dan: “Stairways delivered a fantastic product, measured to perfection, which meant it was easy to fit. Their customer service is second to none.”

Neil Stevens: “This was an usual project with some specific design requirements which called for a unique solution. The finished result looks fantastic – it always feels great when we can put all our expertise and know-how to work to deliver something of this standard which makes a client really happy.”

The client Mr D. said: “The first thing that impressed me was that Neil came out in person to take the measurements, when we talked through the design options and the nitty-gritty of how that could be built. We had a clear vision of what we wanted, and Neil was able to deliver it – and did so in time for Christmas!

The finished staircase is now a focal point in this impressive home, adds Mr D.: “Everyone who visits comments on how beautiful it is, and on the simplicity of the design and finish. We are absolutely delighted with it – it is exactly what we had in mind.”

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Author: Stairways

Stairways, founded in 1989, has grown to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of carpentry and joinery products. Stairways now boast three state-of-art facilities that offer over 85,000 sq ft production capacity. Stairways goal is to raise their profile and brand awareness to become known throughout the industry as the UK’s leading staircase and door solution provider.

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As a highly reputable firm within the industry, Stairways are dedicated to meeting their client’s product and application requirements. All materials used are manufactured to the highest quality and meet the relevant standards achieving ISO9001, FSC®, and various product certifications, whilst their staircases and door solutions are manufactured with compliance to UK building regulations & legislative standards in mind. Using the knowledge, passion, and experience acquired across all team members over the past thirty years, Stairways aim to continue to be the best in what they do.


Stairways are continuously looking for opportunities to improve and expand their service offering; this includes the investment in new machinery to further enhance and innovate the manufacturing process, with the aim to shorten lead times and increase overall in-house capacity. The changes Stairways employ are always focused upon improving the customer experience, to ensure their process remains as efficient as possible from start to finish.


Privately owned and managed since it was founded in 1989, Stairways has grown to become one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of carpentry and joinery products. Starting as a small staircase manufacturer, Stairways now boast three state-of-art facilities that offer over 85,000 sq ft of bespoke and mass production capacity.