A lot has happened this month but by far the most dramatic change was the creation of the staircase. We had been slightly sad that the old staircase had to be demolished as we had hoped to restore it. However, the new staircase easily makes up for this. We have been able to change the design so that it will have much more light and, unexpectedly, we have these dramatic curved arches. TCOPSA bought in Vicente, their expert staircase builder to do it and we watched in awe as it happened.
Vicente started by erecting a wooden guide and then simply built a curved arch from thin terracotta bricks. They really do hang in the air – there is no support underneath! The strength comes from the arch but until it is complete it is just magic…… They have to get the size of each step right. The regulations say they must all be the same and they have to take into account the height of the underfloor heating and the tiles which are not there yet. I’m glad we didn’t have to do these calculations!
Once each arch is complete, it is covered in an iron grid and a thin layer of concrete. They then build the steps, standing on the previous step to build the next one. When the first arch is complete they turn 90 degrees and build the next. Each arch seems more magical than the previous as it is suspended higher in the air..
This process carried on until they reached the top floor. The end result is already stunning, it will be even better once the arches are plastered, the stairs are tiled and the steel banisters are in place.