We’re in the beginning phases of house-hunting; scouring the internet for anything that resembles a dream-home within our means. We found the Poe House and are completely enamored, but we need to consider similar houses closer to downtown Charlotte. The Poe House represents all that we want in a house: Size, period elements, a wrap-around porch, a rear porch, alcoves and built-ins, a huge kitchen, claw-foot tub, butler’s pantry, fireplaces, and most importantly for me, a grand staircase.

Those of you who know me well, are already privy to my feelings about stairs. I’m a tree girl and love to sleep at an elevation. I’m happiest in an upstairs bedroom (for lots of reasons), but also, the stair, newel posts and architecture really say something about a house.

As you enter the Poe House, the grand staircase demands your attention. It floats down the center of the room and leads your eye to a large expanse of windows at the first landing. From there the stair splits and reverses to the second level where the banister continues around on either side forming a small Juliet balcony. Edgar Allen Poe was a builder, an extraordinary builder who probably worked on large-scale projects like the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate. His residence in Lenoir reflects an eye for the grandiose. And in the central stair, he spared no expense.

The stair is solid oak with hand-carved detailing all the way up, stretching all the way back into the hallway. The banister is solid, thick and ornate leaving you feeling secure in each step and in awe of the ascension. It is clear that Poe felt as I do about the importance of the stair. It isn’t just about function, but it acts as a freestanding statue in tribute to the heart and soul of a house. It beckons the observer, leaving you wondering what other marvels are hidden by the plaster overhead. And it makes you feel glamorous in either direction.

I think my love of stairs began with my love of the classic farmhouse. The presence of those old stairs meant a larger home and most often a large family. It was my dream to have a large family and a place to call home, where our children could bring their children and eventually their children’s children. At the end of the day, our ascent up the stairs is a metaphor for our evolution as individuals, as a family; of generations moving up, recognizing something of the past, but looking toward the future with eager creativity.

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