Long time no see me!
I’ve been working for a few weeks on my awesome staircase makeover project. It was a LOT of work. A LOT more than I (and everyone else involved) had anticipated. Yikes. This project was definitely not done in haste. There was a tons of researching and even more convincing to do where my husband was concerned. Usually it doesn’t take much to say “hey, babe….I’m thinking of doing this…” and he’s on board. However, the staircase was major construction in his eyes which I thought was just crazy….he was crazy, NOT me. 🙂 If only I had looked through his analytic vision instead of my usual overly creative, rainbow colored glasses. Everything was going to be simple I assured him. Well I was <gulp> wrong. That left a dirty taste in my mouth.
My research began in the folder of home building pictures we had an abundance of. If I could see what was constructed before the carpet was put on I would be able to prove my case and not be going in blindly ripping off carpet and deal with it later. I thought I found a good pic.
Clearly….this was not a good pic, but I thought “hey there is real wood there and not mdf!”
What seemed really lucky to me was that all the tutorials I had seen, for the exception of one, carpet was pulled off and unveiled a nice set of wooden stairs. I just new from the above picture that this was what we were going to have. Um. I was wrong. (In all fairness we did not pay for the nice set of stairs.)
Lets start with something positive though, shall we? I decided that I would paint the banisters first. They were stained the traditional pecan color….and I was just over it. It didn’t match my floors, my entertainment center, and it no longer matched my white painted kitchen cabinets, so it had to go. I know there are LOTS of people out there who gasp in horror at the idea of painting over stained wood, but whatever. Se lave! My husband grumbled a little but trusted me to improve upon our home. I saw the stairs as a feature in our grand family room, not just something functional.
Here is the before and after (I would like to mention that we started off with white spindles and then had professionals install the black iron ones a year after we built the house-2006).
Here is the freshly painted banisters (Valspar 4000 Series in Semi Gloss Neutral Base—Color: Cinder Fox). I sanded and sanded and sanded some more. Wiped them down really well and put on two coats of Kilz Latex Primer from Lowe’s. I had bad luck with the oil base when I did my kitchen cabinets and this definitely worked better. After the primer sat for a day I sanded and wiped some more and on went two to three coats of the Valspar Cinder fox. Forgive me for not mentioning who specifically inspired and helped me out with their tutorial, but there were so many in the DIY blog world that I researched. One person mentioned using small side to side swipes on the banister knobs for even coats, so if that was you….thank you.
And there’s the yucky carpet that I HATED to vacuum. It was a hassle and getting so matted. Later bro.
As you can see ripping off the carpet (after the banisters had over a week to dry and cure) was messy and dusty. To my horror, what was under that carpet was even more disgusting than the carpet itself. I did not take into account the over spray of the texture for the drywall and paint. It was a dried gloopy crusty mess. (Did I mention that this was messy and dusty?) Some planks were split, some were horribly “patched”—including the second landing. My husband and I just stood there and stared at the gaping holes between the stairs and the wall that framed it. I can’t tell you how low I felt at that point. “What….the HELL did I JUST get myself AND my family into?????” I have two small children and all of our bedrooms are upstairs! How were we going to function? Remember I said I did a lot of research? But nothing I read or watched on youtube could have prepared me for this. Yowza.
We put our heads together, my man and I, and after a lot more reading and researching we decided we should just replace the treads and risers. It would’ve been even more work if we had to patch and sand the original treads for hundreds of hours. I felt bad that we had to spend so much extra money on a project I thought wouldn’t cost much at all. Off to Lowe’s we went to look at options. I had this really cool idea to add beadboard to the fronts of the existing risers so it would save a little more money plus it would give the stairs more personality. The plan was to buy the treads and cut them to the size we needed. To throw another wrench into the plans (as if we needed any more troubles) our treads were not standard size. blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. My dad agreed to come over and bring his saw. Even though I really wanted to take a crack at the install myself, it was my husband and dad who took over and killed it in 6 hours. They were hurting, but did such a great job. Ripped off the old treads, installed new ones and the beadboard. (**SIDE NOTE: the three levels of landings on my stairs were wide planks and were a little bit banged up, but we decided to keep them for that modern/farmhouse look. I just patched up the nail holes and painted them.) After that was completed I caulked all the cracks and spaces and sanded. I cleaned it all up and put on the Kilz primer. The beadboard was already white, so I just gave it a fresh coat. For the treads I used Behr Porch and Patio Floor paint-deep base (which they colored for me—you can get it in other colors though)–I used the color “Carbon” to tint mine.
At first I thought it looked like ink which is sort of blue but it dried to a very cool black.
So this was not meant to be a tutorial because I didn’t have enough pictures or time to document all that I did. There was a lot of scraping, a lot of staple pulling, a lot of everything. I just finished 3 days ago and it’s look fabulous. If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in my comments and I will answer to the best of the knowledge which I gained during this CRAZY project.
I’m sure you want to know….was it worth it?
NEVER be afraid of getting your hands or your house dirty when you want to accomplish something you feel is too much trouble. I have backed off from so many things in my life but changed my tune when I realized what doesn’t kill you makes your stronger….and SO MUCH MORE CREATIVE!!
I’m feeling good, and I knew that I would. 😉
Big thank you to my hubs and my dad who helped get my creation started in a big way. Babe…you are always the voice of reason in my crazy world but you are also my biggest cheerleader. I wouldn’t love this life near as much if you weren’t in it. You are the calm to my crazy, the solid to my pattern, the straight to my crooked. There aren’t enough metaphors (you would never use metaphors) to describe how much my life rocks. I think that you like that I’m a beautiful disaster, don’t you? 😉
Have a great day and an even better holiday friends!!
Go create something in your time off…it’s good for the soul.