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Photograph by Julia Vandenoever

Steal This Boulder Designer’s Brilliant (and Cheap!) Staircase Idea

This colorful space proves it doesn’t take big bucks to bring bold decor ideas to life.

When Claire Jordan and her husband, Chad Chuenchit, set about redesigning their dated, carpet-clad staircase—part of a total reno of their 1960s-era Longmont home—they took inspiration from the crisp colors and clean lines of Scandinavian design, and…skydiving. Connecting the new rectangular handrail and square support posts are 100-foot lengths of orange parachute cord, which Jordan—a designer at architecture firm Arch11—purchased online for a whopping $11 each. “Stairs can cost a lot of money, so we started to look at what we could do that was affordable,” she says. (Spiffing up pre-made pine treads and risers with a coat of gray paint also helped cut costs.) The bold design was “an exercise in randomness,” Jordan explains. “The kids [now ages 5 and 10] helped us, and we just started feeding the cord through little eyelets that we screwed into the posts. There was no way we could draw it; it just had to be done.” An adjacent gallery wall of photos is another example of “planned randomness,” Jordan says—further proof that some of the best designs just happen naturally.

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