Martin Stairways Crafts 1,700 Stair Systems

Curved, straight, or twisted. If you have a stairway system and live in Southern California, chances are very strong that Martin Stairways was your installer. Tackling up to 125 different stairway installations every year, the father and son team at Martin Stairway have installed more than 1,700 stairway systems in the last 15 years.

"I started this business three decades ago," says Martin Crandell, owner of Martin Stairways out of Santa Ana, Calif. "Then my son, Darren, joined in 2005. All we do is stairway installations for residential remodel projects.

"In Orange County, there are many houses from the 1970s. We get calls every day from people wanting to upgrade to a more contemporary stairway system or get rid of carpets on their stairs. Many younger couples buy an older home in this marketplace. Then they decide the railings are placed too far apart and could be a hazard for their children. They call us to upgrade the stairway systems for the sake of both style and safety."

Top Quality Products

Throughout the years, Crandell has relied primarily on just one company to supply him with all his stair parts and materials --- L.J. Smith® Stair Systems.

"Their plant in Corona, Calif. delivers right to us twice a week," says Crandell. "The service levels at L.J. Smith are very strong and the product has a consistent quality. My customers have a large selection of options to choose from with them. There's simply no reason for me to use any other manufacturer."

Recently, Martin Stairways stayed on top of design trends by installing several stainless steel interior architectural stair systems available in the Innovative Architectural Metal (IAM) Design line from L.J. Smith. The striking stainless steel tube, cube, cable, and glass systems are designed out of Malo, Italy by the Gonzato Group.

"These elegant stainless steel stairway systems are definitely catching on in our area," says Darren Crandell. "Once people see the streamlined look, they're hooked. It's exciting for us to work with metal and combine it with wood."

Today's Trends

According to the senior Crandell, modern, sleek looks are exactly what's popular in stairway systems on the West Coast right now.

"We used to do lots of rail systems with scrolling," says Martin Crandell. "That's been replaced now by people looking for more simplistic styles. Plus, we've also witnessed the popularity of white oak skyrocketing in the past few years.

"White oak combined with stainless steel creates a beautiful stairway system. Another great marriage is walnut and stainless steel. These are popular trends on the West Coast that we believe will migrate east in the very near future."

To keep up with the newest styles, the Crandells stay in touch with their L.J. Smith sales team. "For us, L.J. Smith is the very best option we have to offer our customers," says Crandell. "We appreciate the quality of the product along with a variety of customization opportunities."

Finding Their Calling

A licensed general contractor for more than 30 years, Crandell "stumbled" into his career specialty of stairways.

"I was on a job decades ago where the stair guy quit," says Crandell, who also has an interior carpentry license in California. "The contractor pointed at me and told me to finish the stair job. That was my start.

"I learned to do curved stairs, which everyone likes. Then I just keep fine-tuning my skills and getting better at my job. When you're on a job site, the stair guy is seen as an artist. Other contractors always stop to watch what we're doing because it's such a specialized skill."

As his business grew, Crandell welcomed his son to the company. "I helped train Darren and he learned on the job," says Crandell. "Stairway creation is craftsmanship at its finest. We understand that each system we create becomes a physical feature of a home. That's an important responsibility that we take seriously."

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