• Credit: Daproza, Johanna

Hobson Crow, AIA, felt the architectural details throughout this art collector's Austin, Texas, home, also should be works of art. Especially in the entry hall, which doubles as gallery space, he wanted a sculptural piece that would set the artistic tone of the entire home. Nothing less than Michelangelo's Laurentian Library steps served as inspiration for the grand foyer stairwell. “It's an abstract idea of stairs flowing down like water,” says the architect. “At the end it spills out across the floor.”

This version lends a contemporary edge to Michelangelo's original while a one-sided extension toys with the idea of a step's scale. Crow highly praises local artisans from Archaic Stone Carvers, who cut each tread and riser from local limestone and fitted them precisely together. “The stone is a very sensual material thanks to the quality of their skillful carving,” he says, adding, “It's as soft as skin!”