First impressions are important and in a split foyer ranch, a stairwell that hasn’t been updated will smack you in the face and make you wish you’d blown your hair out and worn your bellbottoms for the occasion.
Needless to say, the staircase in our “new” 60’s home needed an update. It had been carpeted in recent years but as you can imagine, in a house where you store your shoes in the foyer and access your garage through the basement, keeping it around wasn’t an option.
Luckily I found hardwood underneath; it was very damaged, but it was there! They didn’t use carpet glue (thank goodness), just tack strips and gobs of staples. So we set to work pulling the carpet back and then meticulously pulling every. single. teeny. tiny. nail.
Oh and did you catch those cat scratch marks in the first photo? Apparently cats used to own this house because they were allowed to do whatever the heck they wanted. I like to think I’m a bit of a magician when I have my wood putty in hand though so I filled the gouges in and since this trim would be painted white in the end, I didn’t have to worry about color matching.
Next up I thoroughly sanded, cleaned, and put down painters tape.
I used Olympic’s Delicate White in Semi-Gloss to paint the stair backs (aka: the risers). This is the same paint/primer I’ve been using on all trim throughout the house, which creates a nice cohesive look (my inspiration HERE). The walls are Olympic’s Tempered Gray in Satin.
And to polish the whole look off I used Minwax’s Polyshades in Espresso for the stair tops (aka: the treads). I opted for one of their darkest shades since the stairs were so un-repairably damaged and I wanted to cover that up, but not lose visibility of the wood grain. (my inspiration HERE)
I was initially worried that having a different stain on the stairs would look goofy next to the light-stained hardwood on the upper level but with everything done, the stairs look more like a different “zone” of the house rather than a mismatched job – in the same way the carpeted stairs just served as a different flooring type rather than a mismatched floor.
That faux brick flooring in the foyer by the way, is staying for the time being but we do plan to replace it with tile next year. We’ll gut and rebuild the kitchen next year and since I want the same tile in both the kitchen and foyer, we opted to tile both spaces at the same time so we don’t have commit to a tile for the kitchen right now.
I had every intention of installing a runner (like THIS) but after two weeks of living with the hardwood stairs only, I’ve fallen in love! It’s so easy to quickly sweep the stairs once a week rather than bend over with a vacuum for every step and worry about stains from the sheer number of times we walk on that lower flight of stairs with shoes to get to and from the garage. So, hardwood it is and I get to return $200 in carpet runner and pad. Win win!
And for kicks, a little before/after montage…
ps. HERE‘s where my inspiration for the whole project came from. Young House Love for the win!
What do you think? Would you ever go without carpet on your stairs?