Time-Worn Elegance: Historic Hampstead Staircase


We were asked by Retrouvius design studio to create leather treads and risers for a client’s historic house in Hampstead. It is always an enormous pleasure to work with Retrouvius, whose philosophy revolves around more than just aesthetic design – it’s a reverence for the value of reusing beautiful materials and fine craftsmanship.

The wooden treads and risers, weathered by a century of footsteps, remained untouched – uneven treads were not replaced or sanded and filled, as would often be the case before leather application. Instead, we clad the heavily worn stairs with 3mm thick, full vegetable-tanned Tuscan shoulder leather, adding texture, warmth and enhancing the acoustics in the space. The aniline-dyed leather is enriched with a waxed and polished finish.

On-site, we carefully subdued the sheen to meet our client’s preference for a more matte appearance. For the stair risers, we split the leather thinner, allowing the original wooden stair moulding detail to emerge.

As the stairs gracefully age, so will the leather. We hope this stairway tells a story of heritage, character, and craftsmanship for another hundred years.

Architect: Retrouvius

Date Completed: 2023

Client: Private