Retractable Steps – Residential Design

Natural Building

So as many of you know Teresa (the wife) and I are looking to build a cob home and to reduce our ecological impact on the earth. One of the great things about building your own home is that you get to choose how big or small it is (sorta). There are constraints like labor and material costs and availability and with those in mind we have decided to start with an idea of a roughly 30′ round foundation with a lofted 2nd floor that would house a bedroom, second bath, washer and dryer, closet space and office space.

Space Saving Step Design

In order to have enough room for the loft that we want and to accommodate all of the downstairs items that we’ll have (as well as to have parties and just because I like to make cool stuff) I decided that having retracting stairs to the second floor might be the way to go. I started off thinking that I’d want them to collapse into a usable ladder shape and the idea I have does do that but the retracting steps don’t function like those attic steps (really ladders) that were popularly added to stick frame (mostly ranch style) homes in the 70s and 80s.

What I wanted to create is something new and never before seen so below is a gallery of what I came up with:

photocrati gallery

These steps would roll closed (though the axle needs to roll to close fully) and they should be light enough that anyone can operate them. There will be pins to lock them in place both to lock the axles and (not shown above) to lock the steps in place. These pins will be attached to their support structure with rope or small chain so they are not lost. The most likely material that they would be built of would be metal but a strong and light wood could be used too.