SIERRA VISTA — Local staircrafter Clyde Martin, owner of Top Tread Stairways, was recently honored for his work — his 33-foot slide and staircase won the “People’s Choice Award” and “Best Curved Stair Traditional” at the 2021 Staircraft Awards in Denver.

“It was like ‘I’m too small to get this recognition,’” said Martin. “It was a very exhilarating experience for sure.”

The award-winning project was a 33-foot tall slide with an adjacent spiral staircase made from 438 layers of 2-foot-wide by 8-foot-long cross-laminated planks of American black walnut wood. Martin said that the project was the biggest he’s ever made totaling $110,000.

The Herald/Review sat down with Martin to dive deeper into his passion for stair-making and his plans for future projects.

Herald/Review: Can you tell us more about your passion for stairs?

Clyde Martin: “When I opened my stairshop — (that) I bought 15 years ago now— I never envisioned doing such high end projects. During the times when work was slow in 2008, I really started reaching out for any work I could get a hold of. My clients nudged me towards the high end of the markets, since I was a small two-man shop. It’s just been kinda a ride. Just never know what kind of projects someone is going to ask for — unusual designs.

“I always get a bang out of building something I’ve never built before. I’ve just built my second zig-zag stair — I installed one about five years ago back in Riverside, Calif. And then someone saw a picture of it in Connecticut, and they said ‘I want it just like that in character black walnut.’ So, I got the lumber and got them samples and shopped that back. And now one of their clients just called me two days ago and he said ‘hey, they saw that stair and they want one (with) basically the same design.’ It just kinda keeps life from getting so boring if you’re not just sitting at a machine cranking out identical wood parts — where you’re doing something that requires more creativity.”

HR: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects?

CM: ”We’ve got a lot in the pipeline. I’ve got a local one that we’re working on right now, just a straight stair in white oak- open treads on the left, a nice (double) custom starting step. That’s what we’re building right now. We do quite a bit of hardwood lumber sales ‘do it yourselfers’ just for the fact that I keep a lot of exotic woods for various types of stair projects.

“A bunch of local wood-workers have found out about me. More foot traffic in my shop is by far the largest share of local — just people coming in from Sierra Vista, Hereford and Bisbee. We’re primarily stair contractors. Then I’ve got alternating stair treads — I build more of that type of stair than any other design. But they’re in the probably $1,000-$3,000 outreach. I’m shipping those all over. I’ve sent one to New Hampshire and Maine, and got some in Alaska and Hawaii — almost every state.”

HR: Why should folks invest in custom stairs in their home?

CM: ” Well, the stairway is the focal point of any multi-story home. It has a lot of potential to improve the value of the home — improve the atmosphere by adding custom elements on a stair. There’s so much that you can do with a stair, you don’t have as many options to do with other parts of the building.”

Want to learn more about Marin’s award-winning slide/staircase? Check out our previous coverage on the project at www.myheraldreview.com.