Friday, October 26, 2012

Taking it a Step at a Time

When we signed on the dotted line for our house, the view from our front entrance was anything but inspiring.  Think wood panelling, forest green carpet, and tobacco stained walls ... oh yeah, and the lovely (sense my sarcasm?!) blue trim, burgundy carpet and our laundry machine downstairs- just gorg ;)
Before we even moved in the main carpet was removed to reveal the oak hardwood hiding underneath, and the trim was painted a crisp white.  And there we kinda stopped, leaving us with this view ....

Yup, f-ugly forest green strips that don't connect with anything else- boo!  Why you ask did we leave it?  well, we didn't get to it before move-in due to time, and then the basement reno took over... but mostly because we didn't know what was lurking underneath said carpet.  You know, the whole better "the devil you know...." situation.

But, it, like I gave it the evil eye and cursed it every time I used those friggin' stairs kinda nuts. The basement reno did the carpet no favours with the contractors, and family labourers trucking up and down them all day with dirty grimy shoes, making the bad situation worse. So, one day after work I got a wild hair and declared today is the day- I don't care what is underneath the green monster it's just gotta go and we'll deal with the consequences.

Luckily my hubs is pretty used to my random thinking process, and even though he couldn't see the vision of what I wanted to achieve, he was game to give a hand.  We agreed that whatever we found would be better than the green carpet (Aaah, unknowing rookie optimism!).

So, H and I suited up slapped on some work gloves, and ripped those groddy bits of carpet (+ padding + tacking strips + nails) up, and were left with this sight...

And then I got a bit nervous.  Yuck, they weren't looking so good- que inner freak out while trying to remain calm for H's sake!  But, I focused on the silver lining, which was:
  1. We had wood wood (not plywood) treads
  2. Could see that they were once exposed (we could see the shadow of a former  runner).
  3. The green carpet was gone and even in this state the wood was better looking
The upper stairs were looking ok, but the lower stairs were in rougher shape... for some reason the overhang of the treads is longer (like freakishly not to code long), resulting in 3 treads having been seriously damaged at some point which there had been some feabile and ugly attempts at repairing - maybe that's why they were carpeted over in the first place?

As we had irrevocably opened this can of worms, we persevered.  Over the weekend while H was at work covering for a sick colleague, I got the next phase of the reno, sanding off the years of gook, grime, and old finish.  Which got me to here...

In hind site wearing flip flops to sand the stairs was probably not the smartest move, but it does illustrate the amount of dust this wee project through around our house.  As our entrance is not double height, sealing it off from the rest of the house was pretty impossible - and if I'm honest, I was so gung ho to get started on it I probably wouldn't have bothered even with a normal height ceiling.

Sanding it down took away the crusty residue and old finish, but there were still a lot of old nicks and gouges.  I guess that's to be expected in 50+ year old softwood stairs.

Luckily, from a regular distance they were a huge improvement.  Much cleaner and more polished then their untouched neighbours.

Next up was verathaning the steps with 3 coats of floor verathane, and then onto painting.  I decided to paint the trim and risers white to match the rest of the house's trim.  So, with some filler in the riser's to hide the gouges left from the runner and carpet nails, some painters tape, and primer later things were starting to come together.

Two coats of semi gloss paint (BM Chantilly Lace), and a lap around each stair with regular white paintable silicone to hide the cracks and seams, later and things were looking pretty spiffy!

Ain't that a better first impression?  The stair treads being a different type of wood are a bit more red than our oak floors, but as we are planning long term to replace the stair treads and re-do the landing (the landing wasn't supported properly when the house was originally built which means that the slate tiles are cracking + the old severly damaged wood treads = redo, boo!) means that for us this is a good for now solution.  It was also a great chance to see how I like the wood and white stair look in person.... and, it's love @ first sight!

And, the before and after is a great reminder of how far we've come!

Now to paint the walls and get those pesky baseboards out of our upstairs hallway! Oh yeah, and deal with that problematic downwards set of stairs- ugg!

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