Doors, Windows, Hardware
Floors, Walls, Ceilings,
Parks & Garden Fixtures
Lighting & Electrical
Masonry, Stone, Brick,
Molded & Cast Ornament
Roofing & Roof Specialties
(Arts & Crafts and More)
Timber Frames, Conservatories,
Woodwork, Millwork, Stairs
Active Interest Media
The comprehensive resource for professionals involved in restoring old buildings or designing and constructing new buildings in traditional styles.
The comprehensive resource for professionals involved in residential restoration and renovation, as well as the design and construction of new homes built in traditional styles.
Targeted information about service providers in the field of building restoration and renovation, both commercial and residential.
A portal site that brings together information about building products and materials, including data on more than 5,000 manufacturers.
Traditional Product Galleries
Traditional Product Galleries is a micro site showcasing—in big, colorful photography—thousands of items tailored to the requirements of restoration and renovation projects and new designs done in a period style, both residential and commercial.
Traditional Building Portfolio
Traditional Building Portfolio is a micro site containing a world of information about traditional building and design, both commercial and residential. It includes hundreds of articles on design and building projects, leading architectural firms, topics of note to working professionals, and major awards programs, along with forums and blogs bearing the opinions of leaders in the field.
Active Interest Media's electronic newsletters provide a continuous stream of information on key topics in the world of traditional design and building: likely products and services for both commercial and residential projects; special in-depth reports on projects and important product categories; and a bevy of blogs providing fresh perspectives from leading figures in the field.
Active Interest Media's Webinars cover a wide range of topics, from window
restoration to sustainable building materials. They feature leading experts
in the field and provide an effective, efficient way to learn about
important topics, while earning credits toward professional and vocational
The Palladio Awards Program
is designed to honor outstanding achievement in traditional design. The program recognizes individual designers, design teams, or both whose work enhances the beauty and humane qualities of the built environment through creative interpretation or adaptation of design principles developed through 2,500 years of the Western architectural tradition.
The Traditional Building
Exhibition and Conference
World-class educational opportunities and a wide array of resources and products for professionals who work in the field of building restoration, renovation, and historically inspired new construction.
Metal Stairs & Railings
In these lists, you'll find suppliers of everything from inexpensive spiral-stair kits for residential uses, to metal foundries that will custom-cast a magnificent bronze stair for a new hotel or restaurant.
Click here for suppliers of metal stairs
Click here for suppliers of railings
Click here for suppliers of wood stairs
Click here for suppliers of stair parts
Metal stairs can be anything from a simple fabricated steel spiral stair ordered from a catalog to a custom-cast bronze stair created for a hotel or state capitol.
STAIR SHAPE & STYLE. The shape of the stair you specify -- spiral, straight or curved -- is usually determined by the geometry of the space into which it must fit. Sometimes, a curved stair is specified, despite its higher cost, because of the sweep and grandeur it imparts to a space. The style of the stair, however, is dictated by the rest of the interior architecture and is determined primarily by the design of the balustrade you call for and the material of which it's made. For example, curving, delicate acanthus leaves create a sophisticated classic European feel, while roughly hand-hammered copper might be used in an Arts & Crafts environment.
THE HANDRAIL -- A CRITICAL COMPONENT. On many stairs, the handrail is the most visible and important element, both from the way a stair looks and the way it feels. The handrail thus deserves special attention from the designer, taking into account such factors as the basic cross-section profile, the width and the depth. If the stairway is curved, the smoothness and regularity of the handrail curvature are critical. We've all seen curved handrails made by shops that were in over their heads. The result, often, was a rail with flat spots, abrupt changes in curvature or both.
METAL SPECIFICATION. Typically, you'll find metal stairs made from mild steel (bear in mind that "wrought iron" today is really just mild steel), cast iron, cast aluminum, bronze and sometimes stainless steel. Besides appearance and initial cost, your choice has to also bear in mind the different patinas, metal coatings or both that each metal (except stainless steel) may require -- because the finish is an important element of style. Wrought iron, for example, can take paint, wax or a chemical patina.
CUSTOM VS. STOCK. For applications where it's appropriate, the spiral stair is often the most economical choice. Spiral stairs range from plain, functional, mild steel units -- sometimes available in kit form -- to ornate Victorian styles in cast iron. On projects with some design flexibility, it's often most economical to select a stair of standard design and dimension and then design the rest of the space around it. For high-end jobs, where something grand is desirable, you may wish to have an all-custom stair fabricated to your specifications. Just be prepared to pay a premium for it.
STAIR GEOMETRY. Stair layout involves complex geometry, and very few architects these days try to do the actual detailed stair layout. Shops that specialize in stair work usually have computer programs that will generate layouts and shop drawings from the architect's general dimensions and specifications.
SELECTING A SHOP. You'll find three basic types of companies: (1) Custom metalworking shops that can engineer and fabricate one-of-a-kind stairs from your architectural drawings; (2) Suppliers of standard-design cast-iron and fabricated-steel straight and spiral metal stairs and (3) Suppliers of stair components -- railings, balusters and the like -- that can be incorporated by local metalworkers into moderately priced semi-custom designs. Your choice will be dictated by the scope of your project.