Published on June 30, 2019

I wanted a spiral staircase when I grew up. Not anything overly ornate, but a substantially sized one that looked like a cool corkscrew and would provide access to a room of my own. I’m not positive where my childhood self got the idea from—honestly, most likely Mia’s room in The Princess Diaries—but it stuck for years. I knew, with deep assuredness, that living in a home with one would be a sign that I’d made it.

In middle school, when I attended a slumber party at an admittedly well-off friend’s house, my association with such a stairway and success was reaffirmed. In her sprawling home, a spiral staircase provided just one way of getting to the second floor (in the living room, a larger, even more dramatic staircase led the way up).

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photo by Joe Flecther (@joefletcherphoto) for Studio Daminato

These days, I don’t think about spiral staircases too much, lest I see a cool one on Instagram. Now my definition of making it big is to live in an apartment with an in-unit washer/dryer so I no longer have to carry my laundry down to the basement of my building and begrudgingly insert an obscene amount of quarters into subpar machines. The same goes for a place with central air-conditioning or one that doesn’t require me to walk up three flights of stairs to get home (though in this regard, I know I’m already lucky compared to many other New Yorkers). 

My spiral staircase fantasy may have dissipated, but I still think it says a lot about what I prioritized in a home as a child: a sense of whimsy and extravagance. Actually, I still value those things. In my apartment today, I’ve appealed to those desires, just in a much more reasonable way; a velvet sofa and a small but mighty art collection do the trick. Now “making it” has to do with practicality—though I’m not above a bit of frivolity either.

What home features did you covet as a kid? We asked on Instagram, and you answered. Here are some of your dream details. Prepare to exclaim “Same!” over and over again.

  • Window seat
  • Indoor pool
  • Glass roof (to see the stars at night)
  • Laundry chute
  • Pocket doors
  • Slide (instead of stairs)
  • Secret doors
  • Bookcase with a ladder
  • Firehouse pole
  • Tree house
  • Waterbed
  • Canopy bed
  • Balcony
  • Sunken living room
  • Claw-foot tub
  • Glass bricks
  • Wraparound porch
  • French doors
  • Attic bedroom
  • A room full of pillows (inspired by Beyoncé’s episode of Cribs)

Don’t see your childhood fantasy fixture here? Let us know yours in the comments.

See more delightful design:
The Reign of Black and White Status Candles Has Come to an End
Inflatable Furniture Is Really Blowing Up
It’s Time to Take the Pleated Lampshade Revival Seriously

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