My little Swedish family and I moved to the ultimate Svensson dream home a few years ago. It is a little row house, as Swedish as Swedish can be. In many other places (read: the USA) this type of row house might be viewed as more tenement style living, very boxy, bland and boring and probably not in the best part of town. But here it is a rare find as it is a rental, is large, and is conveniently located.
It also has a killer staircase.
Swedish staircases are by nature more roundy and twisty. They also tend to have free standing individual steps, which means you can see down to the ground between each step. Not only does this make me queasy as I have an extreme fear of heights, it also freaks the crap out of our dog, who will only go down/upstairs when commanded to do so.
I live in fear of the day Little Swede will have to navigate these stairs on his own. Hell I lived in fear those early weeks when he was a teeny tiny thing that I was responsible for carrying up and down those stairs.
The staircase is also the only place I can really honestly say 'God I miss carpeting.' Because on a staircase, a carpet means traction. And really, traction on a staircase, is pretty essential.
I say this because I am the klutz who stupidly sprained her ankle while running up the stairs to get my crying child due to lack of traction. My Swedish staircase left me stuck on the sofa for two weeks, not being able to carry Little Swede. So yes, there is a bit of resentment there.
From an architectural standpoint I would say Swedish staircases are certainly a bit more practical, as they take up less space, and also visually quite pleasing. I, however, have always been one of those silly individuals who prefers comfort and ease over design and beauty (and it totally shows in my wardrobe).
I guess a compromise might be to carpet the stairs that we have. But God, what would the neighbors say?