Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Staircase Reveal

It is finally time for me to unveil my little labor of love. This staircase was one of the things that made me love this house - if you can close your eyes and imagine that blue carpet gone.  I had a vision of the dark colored treads with white risers - all matching the new dark hardwood stain that was going down on the floors. Charming, right?

This project has been the longest lasting project to date. I'm pretty sure this is how long it takes to remodel a kitchen. But, I did this all myself with the exception of the carpet removal from Josh. Woo hoo! Without further ado. Here's what it looked like on day 1 (+ probably about 40 years):

For some reason, I don't have a shot of the entire staircase all sanded, so this'll have to do. Here's the stairs at/during the sanding step. 

And here they are today!!!! (I couldn't even wait for that bottom step to dry to remove that tape to share these pictures!)

This is seriously one of the most rewarding projects I've completed. It took FOREVER, but I LOVE how it turned out. What do you think?!

In my research, mostly people talked about how this was a "weekend project". I don't know how long their weekends last, but mine certainly didn't amount to a weekend's worth of work. 

Here's a fun little timeline on how I spent my days avoiding/working on this staircase. 

End of March: EXCITED about all the projects. Ready to conquer everything! And actually this of all places was where the blue carpet was in the best shape. It may have something to do with the fact that the stairs are 9x9 and its so steep you feel like you're gonna fall down - maybe they didn't get much traffic. 

Beginning of April. Me: "Josh, please remove that blue carpet so I can get to work on those stairs!" Motivation was talking. And clearly I had never sanded anything a day in my life. Here he is removing the carpet pads on each stair along with the nails and staples. 

Since we were also doing the floors, we had all the sanding tools necessary. Here I am sanding the stairs back in April. (Notice that floor heater is still in.)

Meet my other tool. 

The love/hate relationship with sanding continued for about a month and a half. I seriously cringed when I thought about picking up those sanders. Like would rather do ANYTHING ELSE. Around the end of May/early June, I decided that I would get all these little hard to reach areas and sand them. See in between those spindles? WORST. Boy was I happy when that was done. 

Meanwhile, Josh had moved on to electrical work so he needed to get up and down the stairs so he could get into the attic. So I decided to do every other tread to see if I like the look I had in mind. Not so appealing, right? It just looked blah. Can you see I'm not as energetic as I was day 1?

After my underwhelming reaction to the every other stair approach - I just left it. I left it for over a month. Do you ever get discouraged over something? This was one of those things. Last week, end of July, I decided I was just gonna do it. Josh was working in the bathroom so he didn't need to use the stairs. So, I stained the top of every step and primed one side of a riser. Still, I'm feeling "eh". 

And then, there's this problem. So one wall in the hallway is paneled. Well, it doesn't exactly line up with the steps. It lined up with the carpet. So this girl is eventually going to have to sand that down. 

Three days ago, I decided that I had put it off long enough. I busted out the paint and was ready to go. Obviously our kitchen counter doubles as a prep space. 

And you can't forget to wipe down the treads with a tack cloth to get all those little dust bunnies up. Seriously, the dust that results from sanding deserves a post in itself. 

Two coats of primer and two coats of paint later, and I am so glad I got over my apprehension. Now when I round the corner to go in the hallway, THIS is what I see. P.S. Don't be offended if I ask you to take off your shoes to go up these steps. I think a smudge might turn me into a crazy lady.. at least at first :)

As for painting the spindles, they actually weren't bad to me. When researching this and reading horror stories about the spindles and all the taping people did, I was scared. I didn't tape anything. I was just winging it. Surprisingly all the paint ended up on the spindles and not the stairs. 

Something interesting throughout this timeline of pictures is to also notice the evolution of the hallway. There's no more wallpaper, no more floor heater, no more light fixture (imagine me staining steps with one of those lights on my head), and almost no more of that blue wall covering. 

As I type, I'm thinking of the priming I've done since I finished this staircase. Those walls are getting primed this week and allllll that trim is getting painted that same bright white that's on the stairs. Crazy to think that this will be a "before" pic soon enough. 

Oh and my final amount of time spent on this project: 4 months - on and off. Insane. It's all the electrical work's fault. :)


  1. Looks great!!!

  2. Love your journey! Thanks for the recommended reading, it totally helps me gain some confidence. Your stairs turned out great!

    1. Thank you! It seemed like a never ending journey at the time! My husband may or may not have found me standing in the hallway just admiring those stairs a time or two :)