Floating staircase and cable railing – Katonah, New York

Custom floating staircase and railing with Ithaca style posts.

Location: Katonah, NY

Builder: Timberdale Homes – Bethel, CT

Architect: Michael DeCandia, AIA – Katonah, NY

Material and Finish: Powder Coated “Raven Black” with Brazilian Cherry wood top rail.

Description: Ithaca Style cable railing and custom floating staircase.


On the North East side of Westchester County, within the town of Bedford is a small hamlet called Katonah NY. Just off interstate 684 in a heavily wooded lot is where you will find this pristine country home.
In 2011 we were approached by this customer who was planning for a major renovation to her home in Katonah, NY. She wanted to add a bit of modern flare mixed with more traditional elements to achieve a tailored look that was all her own. One must have for this unique home is a custom floating staircase. One e-mail later we were reviewing her project and preparing the cable railing and floating stair design. We designed a custom floating double stringer steel stair that was powder coated in a raven black textured finish. Custom steel tread supports were specially fabricated underneath each step to create an open riser which gives more visibility throughout the main entry and great room.
8 inch x 2 inch tube steel was the material of choice for the floating stair stringers. Steel is commonly used in construction because of its high structural strength.
Brazilian cherry also known as Jatoba wood treads and cherry wood handrails were also chosen for this project. The treads were glued up from smaller staves and slotted to accept the Ithaca Style cable railing post attachment plate from underside of the tread. The cherry was prefinished in a controlled environment with 3 coats of Magna Max high performance pre-catalyzed lacquer. Magna max provides great scratch resistance which works wonderfully on high traffic areas such as stairs and railings.
One of the largest hurdles we face when designing floating stairs is the open riser. Customers prefer stairs to be completely open although building code does not permit this. Understandably the larger the opening of the riser the more open the stair will feel. Unfortunately the international building council states that a 4 inch ball shall not pass anywhere between the steps or anywhere on the cable railing. By using 3 inch thick wood treads we are able to keep the opening of the stair riser slightly less than 4 inches and still obtain a total rise of 7 inches per step.
Images of floating staircases are all over the internet but few are actually code compliant here in the United States. Designing your custom floating staircase to be beautiful as well as code compliant is our main goal.

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