Much Ado About Some Stairs


This is a story. A story about some stairs. Some stairs that had a whole lot of personality. And though we appreciated them for their bold, look-at-me attitude, we weren’t convinced about letting them stay. We took about 10 seconds to decide that yes, it was indeed time for them to make the grand exit.

I think the last we checked in, there was a shot of the stairs after the carpet had been pulled up.


We talked very briefly about keeping the railing, but when Charlotte pushed herself through the rungs and tried jumping off the other side, we were all, “Yeah, no.”

So the first steps were to:

  • Take out all the staples from the carpet
  • Pull out the railing
  • Sand the stairs so we had a blank slate to work with

I wasn’t at the house for this process, so I know they got done, I just don’t have specific details on how they got done. But after about a week of off-and-on-working-on-other-things-too time, we had some stairs that were looking like this:


So fresh and so clean. Once we were at this point, we had some decisions to make. Tim did not sand the vertical-running slats on the first go because we weren’t quite sure yet if we want to stain them completely, or paint them white.

Sanded Close Up

It’s hard to see from the pictures, but the vertical slats were covered by a bit of stain, and by a bit of a yellow-taupey color that I wasn’t quite sure if it was glue from the carpet, or it had been painted that color at one point. Either way, it wasn’t working for us.

After a quick phone conversation, Tim and I decided we wanted to do a two-tone stairway. We decided to stain the horizontal steps, and then paint the vertical and trim parts, white. I do love white. Plus, it seemed to make the most sense since we were also in the process of buying some thick white trim to put on the entire first floor. Also, do you see that boxy-bit on the floor in the picture above? That’s where the old chunky wood banister used to be… le sigh.

Anways. Step one. Stain.

Stained Tops

This step was a little underwhelming for me. The stairs themselves were beautiful, but there was  a lot of other colors and textures going on around it. I was pretty pumped when it was time to get the paint brushes out.

First Coat Close Up

It took two coats of primer, and then two additional coats of white paint to get the stairs look smooth and streak-free.

First Coat White

But even the initial stages, made the stairs look oh-so much better. Paired with the dark floors, the white looked so clean and sharp and also very classic. Ignore the ugly unpainted wall. We’re working on that one.

Painted Down View

After a couple more coats, it was looking quite lovely. I will have you know that I did not do any of this. Tim and some of his friends had a painting party and this is what I came back to the next day. I was pretty impressed considering that beers might have been offered as compensation. Way to go gentlemen!

Painted Detail

Because you always need a detail shot right? You can still see a little bit of streaking, but I took care of that once we put the banister in (more on that later).

Painted Front

We’re thinking at some point we’ll probably put a runner down to keep people from falling down the stairs (it is kind of slippery with socks) but I’m not quite sure how to tackle the landing with a runner. Sounds scary to me. For now, we’ll just cross our fingers and refrain from wearing any socks.

We’ll talk about the bannister later this week.

What projects have you all been tackling? Do the holidays create more work for you, or are you able to just sit back and relax?





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