Monday, January 16, 2017

Our Stairwell Makeover: An Evolution over the Years

You may recall that, during the process of all our renovations, I've been gradually painting pretty much all of our woodwork white. Last week, I finally painted the stair ledge, which was one of the few remaining pieces still stained Colonial Maple (i.e. "orange oak"). 

As I was going up and down the stairs for laundry this past weekend, I stopped myself and decided to take a few pictures of our stairwell. The transformation over the years has been pretty major, so I thought it would be fun to share. And also because sometimes I need to remind myself of how far we've come and how much we've accomplished -- especially when it seems like the renovations will never end.

But first... in order to really appreciate the end result, let's start with a look at the stairwell from when we first bought the house. The rest of our walls were a warm gold color, but the hallway/stairwell was a dark reddish color, maybe brick red? I admit that I liked these colors at first, but that was way back in 2008, so it just goes to show how times and tastes have changed.

Wow... warm tone overload!

(You'll notice that some of the woodwork in the hallway and stairs was already white, while the rest of the woodwork throughout the house was Colonial Maple. A precursor to the eventual identity crisis...)

Anyway, I jazzed up the stairway with a photo gallery wall in 2011. The white frames helped brighten things up and lend some much-needed personalization to the large expanse of wall. Not too long after that, I created this DIY world map art to complement all of the framed travel photos. 

All of these accents were helping, but eventually I was just fed up with the red walls and the color palette of our main floor in general. In 2013, I painted everything light gray (with the exception of one wall a darker gray). It really brightened everything up and I'm still quite happy with the color to this day. 

Now, the only problem was... next to the gray, the Colonial Maple woodwork really seemed to scream orange! Sigh. This was when I realized there was no other choice but to paint it all white -- a truly overwhelming thought -- but of course that didn't happen immediately.

A little over a year ago, we installed carpet in our basement (which we're also still in the process of finishing) and replaced the old carpet on the stairs and upstairs bedrooms. It was another big improvement, but still the orange-y woodwork remained. Around that time when the old carpet was out, I began the process of painting the trim white in various rooms.

Ready for new carpet...

Still following along? (If so, I'm impressed!) 

Last year I finally got around to sanding down and re-staining the handrails Rust-Oleum Kona (which is the same stain color we've used for all our basement woodwork). Although the upstairs would eventually have all-white woodwork, we felt the dark rails would be a nice transition to the basement.

The transition continues...

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, when I got the motivation to tackle the stair ledge and the landing ledge. I used the same process as painting all the other woodwork, which means there are three Kilz primer coats and two coats of Sherwin Williams ProClassic. Yes, it's a lot of paint. But it does the job and that's all that matters.

Finally, our woodwork no longer suffers from an identity crisis. The white looks fresh, bright, and modern. It provides a crisp contrast against the gray walls, the carpet, and (soon-to-be-installed) luxury vinyl plank flooring in our kitchen, dining room, and living area. 

Oh, and in case you didn't notice, we've also switched out the light fixture. So there you have it -- the various stages of our stairwell over the years.

A little 'before & after' for the full impact

Whew! It's exhausting just re-living it. What area or room of your home has seen the biggest transformation?

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