PROFILES IN EXCELLENCE
with Murray Herron of Accent Design & Manufacturing
MURRAY HERRON WITH HIS WIFE CATHY
Murray Herron, founder of Accent Design & Manufacturing, is often referred to by Team DSC® as the man who can build anything. His passion for outstanding workmanship is obvious in every Desert Star Construction project he touches, whether it is a grand foyer staircase or beautifully designed railings. Though every custom built staircase is a unique work of art, Murray shared with us five must-have features of every top-notch staircase.
THE MAN WHO CAN BUILD ANYTHING
Every custom staircase presents exciting opportunities to advance our team’s expertise and think outside the box, as each residence is defined by a unique space and design that fits the personal style of the homeowner as well as the vision of the architect, interior designer, and Team DSC®. A well-designed staircase can be so visually inviting that it beckons one to try it out – to see where it leads. It is comfortable to walk on and aesthetically appealing to the touch. Perfectly executed stairs move beyond functionality and become the focal point of a beautiful custom home. While honoring all the delicate nuances of each distinctive project, all custom built staircases share the same five elements – cadence, width, purpose, scale, and feel.
Like beautifully written music, the cadence, or pacing, of a staircase is extremely important. Whether you are 6’8” or barely reach 5’2”, every person will walk comfortably on a staircase that is built using the “Rule of Twenty-Five.” All stairs has a rise and a run – the rise is the height of the stair and the run is the length. To determine the right cadence for the staircase according to the rule, the total measurement of two risers and one run should add up to twenty-five inches. The rule creates a cadence that makes walking up and down stairs easy because it is exact from the bottom to the top. Any deviation from this rule and the cadence becomes uneven, causing you to trip because your gait towards the next stair either comes too quickly or not soon enough.
Our first project with Desert Star Construction was four distinctive sets of stairs in the Family Fiesta residence. Every staircase within that home (as with every staircase we have built with DSC since) is diverse in its aesthetic design and function, yet remains true to the “Rule of Twenty-Five.”
As a result of the grandeur of most of the homes we build with partners like Desert Star Construction, the width of the staircase in these homes is far from minimal. The minimum staircase width we build is three feet with larger staircases being five feet wide. With a larger staircase, two people can pass each other comfortably without having to turn their bodies sideways to go by.
Stairs often become a centerpiece in the home found in the front entryway, similar to the grand entrance of La Grande Maison. However, we can also build stairs leading to a set of rooms in the back of the home or outside leading to a balcony or upper loggia similar to The Statesman. What eventually determines the width is the location and purpose of the staircase.
How a staircase is used will determine its location, size, and design. One recent project we completed with Team DSC® was a set of custom stairs scaling several floors in the back of a residence used specifically to move large pieces of art into the homeowners’ art gallery or down into their basement. Our team of engineers, woodworkers, steel manufacturers, and painters worked together with Desert Star Construction to deliver a five-foot staircase that allows the homeowners to accomplish what they need while adhering to their stylistic choices.
Despite creating such a large and somewhat complex staircase, they wanted the design to look deceptively simple. In all reality, the amount of detail that went into building that staircase was incredible. There are no fittings and no elevation changes – the wood rail, steel, and glass pieces simply join together with every space fitting precisely to create a solid staircase. While serving the purpose of being a functional stair, we were able to work closely with Team DSC® to build a staircase that fit the exact purpose the homeowners desired.
Many people mistakenly believe that bigger is better when it comes to a custom staircase. Not true! One of my first projects in the early Nineties was a home in Southern Arizona where we were hired to build a modest-sized staircase for a large custom home. Somehow that little staircase kept getting bigger until it became a long carriage staircase in the middle of the living room. Once it was completed, there was very little space left to comfortably fit any furniture. Simply put – the staircase was too big for the house.
Eventually, the plans were modified and the staircase was resized to fit the home. Our entire team learned a very important lesson early on in our careers. Today we proactively work with DSC, the architect, and the interior designer to ensure that together we make the best choices for the project and avoid similar costly mistakes from taking place again. We have since become very conscious of how each staircase we build enhances the space in which it stands. We work closely with the homeowners and our highly skilled team to ensure that everything we produce integrates seamlessly with the overall vision for the home.
The best staircases invite you to walk on them because everything about their design, the materials used, and the way they are built feels like a solid structure. Modern homes like The Entertainer incorporate staircases that appear light, using glass and hard surfaces that seem to float on air. The design can appear very light, but the staircase must always feel solid. This is similar to the glass staircase offered by Pear Stairs, which has proven quite popular.
Nothing, and I mean nothing can physically move on a staircase. Not the least bit. Let’s say you have the sturdiest handrail attached to the edge of a staircase, but then you touch it and it wiggles. Believe me, once that happens no one will go near those stairs. Clients of Desert Star Construction expect the best quality from every aspect of their home. No matter how finely detailed or how massive their home is, the staircase is solid down to the very last detail.
MURRAY HERRON AND TEAM DSC®
“My team and I are proud of our 20-year professional history with Desert Star Construction. Team DSC’s drive, passion, and energy have been consistent all of these years, and the quality of workmanship and the relationships they’ve developed are truly one of a kind.
Almost everything that is in DSC’s portfolio with a stair, we’re lucky to say we’ve somehow been involved in it. We’ve built everything from multiple grand staircases for a single residence to donating a small, but very important safety railing for the Phoenix Dream Center where the Dream Rooms are also located.
As a team, Accent Design & Manufacturing is 100% aligned with Desert Star Construction’s philosophy behind The DSC Standard – that whatever it takes, we’re there to get the job done with excellence.
When Desert Star calls, we understand we have to push ourselves to the highest level of achievement possible. We consistently show up to go above and beyond what is expected because we feel extremely fortunate to be brought in as a part of a team that does amazing things.”