Tag Archives: painted stairs

Katie’s House: An Upstairs Update

We’ve been putting every spare moment to work around here lately –  painting, nailing, sawing, and caulking.  We are walking a perilous line between house project elation and house project burnout, but the satisfaction I get from seeing all the changes is worth it.  In my last post I showed you some progress we’d made in our upstairs:

hallway progress
The fresh white walls and new subfloor were already a big upgrade from the dirty carpet and urine-hued walls, but we’ve made a lot of progress since then.  Here’s where we’re at now:

Red House West||Charcoal Stairs

I’m so excited!  (And also sore and a little tired).  Look at the way the floor just keeps going into the Chamber!  It’s like it’s all part of the same house or something!

Red House West||Charcoal Stairs

The closed door leads to our bedroom – which is not yet part of the same house, alas.

While I never once considered that the slate floor of the bathroom would relate nicely to the charcoal of the stairs, I’m glad it does!

Red House West||Charcoal Stairs

Sorry the photos aren’t great (low light has been the name of the game around Eugene lately).

We’ve still got some trim work to finish up, but it feels like the lion’s share of the work is done.  Painting the stairs didn’t end up being too hard, though it did require a fair amount of pre-planning.  Pro-tip: make sure to put the lid of the paint can at the bottom of the stairs, so when you’ve painted yourself down there you have it.

Red House West||Charcoal Stairs

To prep the stairs, I hand scraped and sanded them to get the overspray from the wall texture off, then I filled the most egregious (splinter-edged) holes with wood filler. The stairs are old and worn-in and I don’t mind that, so I didn’t fuss about filling everything.

To paint, I started at the top 🙂 and had with me a dustpan and broom, a damp cloth, and a microfiber cloth.  I made sure each step was clean as can be before painting.  Because the stairs are a mix of plywood and hardwood, some of it painted, I did a coat of dark-tinted primer first.  I had floor and porch paint color-matched with Benjamin Moore’s ‘Raccoon Fur,’ which is the prettiest shade of charcoal with some blue-green undertones.

Red House West||Charcoal Stairs

Don’t worry about those paint splatters near the wall; they’ll be covered by trim soon enough!

You might remember that I was worried about keeping Fat Bunny at bay, but it ended up being simple.  I just painted down to the lower landing and shut the door, then waited until he’d entered his daily 10-hour torpor to do the bottom few steps.

Red House West||Charcoal Stairs
I’m so happy with the way it looks! There’s a fair amount of finish work still to do, but I dare say we’re well on our way to the British farmhouse aesthetic that I aspire to.
Red House West || Stairs

Red House West||Charcoal Stairs

Thanks for reading!  Have a great week!

Katie’s House: Upstairs Progress

The last phase of making the couch (we are so close!) is on hold while an essential package from my Mera wends its way south.  And so, with time on our hands and just a touch of masochism in our hearts, Cameron and I decided to tackle some long-dreaded projects upstairs: the painting of our stairwell and a whole lot of carpet removal.

This weekend we said farewell to the very last of the yellow paint that covered much of our house when we bought it (variously referred to in previous posts as ‘urine-tinged snow’ and ‘overcooked egg’).  Here it is in our upstairs hallway:

Red House West || StairsUnfortunately the photo above is not a true before – I had already pulled up the carpet before remembering to snap a picture (you’d think that after over a year of doing this blogging thing I’d remember to take photos first – but sometimes the frenzy of discovery overwhelms me).

The carpet in here was the same brownish industrial stuff that was in the Chamber of Secrets.  It was laid badly, with visible seams, and as soon as I got it out (chucked gleefully from the window – so fun!) the space felt much brighter and cleaner.

Just under the carpet was a hybrid of plywood, mdf, and planks, and I spent hours removing staples and tack strips before we decided that it needed to be entirely replaced. I don’t mind some old house squeaky-floor charm, but this one was a deafening symphony of groans, screeches, and even grunts.  We decided the extra effort was worth it, and put down some clean fresh plywood (with nary a squeak).

hallway progressI painted the walls and ceiling with Benjamin Moore’s ‘White Dove,’ like in the Chamber of Secrets, and the plan is to lay the same hickory floors that are in the COS in the hallway and our other guest room (just out of frame on the right of this photo – I’ll share more another time).  Just the fresh paint and the new plywood subfloor is a major improvement – so clean! So quiet!

I’d been really daunted at the prospect of painting the high ceiling over our stairwell; I envisioned leaning over the banister wielding a dripping paintbrush taped to a broomstick, but Cameron had a better idea.   He quickly screwed together some scrap wood to make a bridge on which I could stand and paint, suspended above the gaping abyss.

Red House West || Stairs

Red House West || Stairs

Though I failed miserably at taking before photos of the hallway, I did manage to snap a couple of the stairs while they were still carpeted.  Our stairwell is narrow and steep and we were initially worried that removing the carpet would make it treacherous, but it’s actually the opposite! The thick carpet that curved over the lip of the tread was a tripping hazard – the bare wood is much less slippery and a huge improvement.

Red House West || Stairs

Descending into the family room

Just look at the carpeting job on the bottom step – she’s a beaut, Clark!

Red House West || Stairs

When I first started pulling the carpet from the stairs I felt a frisson of excitement at the sight of wood.  Alas, it’s past restoration… but don’t worry, I’ve got a good plan!

Red House West || Stairs

The white is overspray from drywall texture, which is proving to be a bear to remove.

Red House West || Stairs

I’m strangely fond of the weird plywood wall on the right (it’s very Scandinavian, right?  Right??), and with the crisp white wall on the other side, I’m almost 100% decided that I’m going to paint the stairs a solid charcoal grey. Here’s some of my inspiration:


So pretty, right?  We can always add a runner if we feel like we need one down the road, but for now I’m beyond excited at the prospect of those dark grey stairs.  Finding a convenient time for painting is a little tricky (I can’t even imagine how we’ll keep our very determined Fat Bunny at bay while it dries), but I can’t wait!

Thanks for reading along!  Have an excellent week!

Stare-Worthy Stairs

Hi everyone! We loved reading your suggestions on Mera’s post about her almost-perfect stair runner last week.  Luckily the rug company is able to send her a short piece, but Carol’s comment about using trompe l’oeil to disguise the top riser got us thinking about creative alternatives to runners and carpets.  We found some gorgeous ones that have us daydreaming about what we’d find if we ascended these ornate steps.

At the top of these stairs you’ll find a room filled with floor pillows and sheepskins, and a veritable jungle of indoor plants. Put on your caftan and come listen to Joni Mitchell on vinyl.  Be careful that your Turkish slippers don’t slip off your heels as you climb.


We couldn’t find a photo source for these, but they are hand-painted by Laurel Sternberg.

Ascend these stairs to a spare room of neutral hues.  Tuck yourself in on the platform bed; be sure to luxuriate in the grey linen bedding.  It costs more than your car.

At the top of these stairs is an outdoor oasis where a pitcher of mint iced tea sweats on a white tablecloth. Once your thirst is quenched head down the block to the rug bazaar of your dreams.

We’re getting mixed signals from these stairs.  At the top you might find the best party you’ve ever been to, or maybe the fug of a smoke-filled casino.  No matter, we don’t even need to go up, the wild colors and fabulous florals are all the party we need.

The garden patio at the top of these stairs is perfectly geometric, and margaritas are always served on the rocks (unless you prefer blended).  Bring your sun hat.

The soft grey of these stenciled stairs belie the cerulean sky that greets you at the top.  Careful not to trip on your white linen palazzo pants!

At the top of these stairs you’ll find chairs so uncomfortable you can’t sit in them, but so cool looking you don’t care.

While these stair treatments aren’t anything that would actually work in either of our homes as they currently exist, we still love daydreaming about them.  This last one is Katie’s favorite, and Mera’s is the second example. What’s yours?