As a Child, Success Was a Spiral Staircase

What random design feature did you covet?

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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).

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

Rebecca Deczynski


Rebecca is most often found digging through troves of vintage treasures, both in-person and online. Ask her to recommend a good book to read or an obscure Instagram account to follow, and you won’t be disappointed.