Bare Steel Mono–stringer Staircase and Cable Railing – Philadelphia, PA

Commercial floating stairs with clear matte coated steel

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Builder: Dave Heckler

Architect: Kelly Brennan and Karen Dellaporta, Baglivo Associates

Material and Finish: This staircase has reclaimed padauk wood treads and a single steel stringer. The stringer, steel railing posts, cable, top rail, and handrail all have a clear matte coat.

Description: The staircase at the Watchdog Philadelphia office has reclaimed wood treads and steel posts, cable, top rail, handrail, and stringer all with a clear matte coating.


Watchdog, a real estate management company with offices on the East and West Coast, wanted to remodel the entrance interior at its Philadelphia headquarters. Before the redesign, the building had a traditional staircase that led up to a room with another stairway, this one a metal spiral staircase. The architect decided to open up this space and build a single floating staircase.

The company wanted its office to maintain its unpolished, natural style. To create a cohesive look, we took inspiration from the distressed timber columns around the workspace. We designed a mono-stringer staircase with open risers and an Ithaca Style cable railing system. The stair treads are made of reclaimed padauk wood that once served as support beams in a factory. The steel used for the cable railing and stair stringer has a clear matte coating. This matte finish protects the metal while preserving the natural look of the steel straight from the mill. The handrail, which has visible shifts in the color of the bare steel, ends in a gentle curve toward the ground.

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Custom mono-stringer staircase with reclaimed wood treads and clear matte coated steel stringer and railing. Reclaimed padauk wood and steel mono-stringer staircase. Close-up view of industrial staircase. Underside of mono-stringer natural steel staircase.