Good design solutions can make small spaces liveable, allowing us to use fewer resources. This staircase, in a Rhode Island house designed by architecture firm Oyster Works, is an excellent example. The space under each step contains a drawer that can be accessed from the side of the staircase.
The drawers are all 27" deep and the same width; a storage space fits in the space underneath. The architect, Megan Moynihan, and Damara Ortolani Sisti call the setup the Tansu Chest Stairs, after a traditional Japanese design.
The stairs are in the Coastal Cottage, a year round home that measures only 1,050 square feet. Moynihan and Ortolani Sisti worked to minimize the energy needed to heat or cool the building. It faces south to take advantage of sunlight; a "solar bonnet" keeps the summer sun at bay while allowing light in in the winter months.
Of course, this isn't the first time the space under stairs has been put to use: Harry Potter lived in the cupboard under the stairs; I'm not a big fan of using the bathroom under the stairs at my grandmother's house. But I would gladly use these drawers (and I'm sure Harry would, as well).