Stair Balusters and Stain

Thanks for sticking with me for stair reconstruction week! Can you believe what a difference adding the balusters makes??

STAIRS

STAIRS

The caps were also installed, which we also prestained, and you can see a hint of staining completed on a stair as well, so let’s talk color selection.  As I mentioned in the last post, my mom and I took scrap pieces of red oak which is the stair and railing material and sampled quite a few stains. Blogging is just not on my brain so much anymore, so I have zero pictures of all of these options we tried! You’ll just have to take my word for it! I believe we tried all of these highlighted choices from Minwax Wood Stains:

minwaxstains

What it really boils down to is this: I know Jacob and I lean towards a darker wood floor, but I also know that dark wood floors show dust off very easily. We have every intention of refinishing the upstairs landing and our downstairs wood flooring to match this color eventually. So we wanted dark, but not so dark that it makes our space feel small or that it shows off every bit of dust and dog hair. That ruled out Jacobean, Espresso, and Dark Walnut almost without even trying them.  Gunstock was too red.  Early American, Provincial and Special Walnut were nice, but sort flat..not looking very special or interesting.  So, Honey was the winner! It’s darker, but has a sort of glow that adds a lot of warmth.

STAIRS

STAIRS

Finishing stairs is a process and one that I am still working on. First I filled all the holes I could see (I missed some but I’ll show you what I used for those) with stainable wood filler and then sanded…and then sanded again. The treads were already very smooth, but I think it’s still necessary. So I did a pass with 100 grit and then right up to 220 grit and wiped everything down with damp rag to clean up the sawdust. Obviously stain needs dry time, so working from the top, I stained every other step using a foam brush, then wiped the stain off with a rag.

STAIRS

STAIRS

We’ve had a lot of humidity here too, so things take longer to dry. For a day or so we carried Birdie up and down the stairs and set up a gate when we weren’t around so she wouldn’t be walking on them. After a few days I went back and stained the opposite set of steps marking the dry ones with a bit of painters tape so we’d know where to step. Also, here’s a sneak peek of some priming that went on as well. #somuchpaintingtodo

STAIRS

STAIRS

The upper corner was a bit tricky to navigate stepping so I left the last wedge for after all of this was dry, but finally got it stained at the end of last week. Dad also made a triumphant return with even more trim and detailing to add, so there’s more to come!

What do you think so far??

Continue Reading

Newel Posts and Stringers…it’s a Family Affair

I had a few inspiration photos that my Dad and I worked from to hone in on the vision for the stairway.

Photo 1     Photo 2     Photo 3

Each of these are beautiful aren’t they? We definitely wanted stained treads, railings, and caps and planned on painting the rest white. Down the line, we’re also planning on adding wall paneling like Photo 1. I really like boxy newel posts and layers of decorative molding as well (who doesn’t??). So, working from this, my father built out our newel posts to be big and boxy just like I wanted!

STAIRS

STAIRS

While he was getting busy on that, my mom and I had tested stain options so I could stain the railings before we installed them (more on our choice later) and Jake got busy removing the door frame to the entry/mudroom. This was the location of the front door originally and there was a heavy metal door there for a couple of years before we finally removed it. Now that we’re also working on the adjacent room as well framing this out like a normal cased opening was part of the projects.

STAIRS

My mom also started scraping about 30 years of paint from the existing stair stringers.  I liked the little bit of detail on our original ones, but a lot of it was obscured with so many layers and layers of paint.  We broke the Dremel out and made good use of the scraper attachment. With the post down below boxed out and measurements done and wood precut, my dad got to work on the 2 1/2 newel posts at the upper landing. Jake and Mom started scraping and sanding the other stair stringer and followed each other up the stairs. #teamwork!

STAIRS

STAIRS

I helped my dad install the upper railings and trim out those posts. He had a genius way of installing them without screw holes in the railings itself. Tips and tricks from him are endless which is why some projects just call for the professionals. I also got to use his contractor grade tools which was pretty fun for me!

STAIRS

We ended the day with lots of trim pieces and spackle on all the nail holes and seams.

STAIRS

STAIRS

STAIRS

Removing that door frame from the mudroom made such a difference to us.  It just felt wider and makes the room feel more intentional rather than an added afterthought.

STAIRS

Can you see where everything is headed? Well if you can’t I can’t wait to show you more! Having my parents come help us is so inspirational to me. They’ve worked so much on their own house over the years and having their knowledge and experience to learn from is so so helpful when embarking on all these new things. Thank you thank you thank you for all the help!!

My goodness it looks amazing and this is really shaping up to be one smart looking house! It’s definitely not a “flip” house as is ever so popular on HGTV these days. This house needed intentional updates that take time and care, but we fell in love with the bones of it, the layout and certainly see all it’s potential. I’ll be back to tell you more about our stain choices and balusters!

Continue Reading

Rebuilding the Stairway

Hi All! I’ve put up a few progress photos on my instagram account of the stairs, but have finally gotten a chance to sit down and show you what it’s all about! We still have work to do, so I have no final after picture, but the progress is astounding on it’s own.  There’s one or two areas in the works around the house at any given time, so things take time.

If you don’t recall our stair way as it was before, here she is in her mismatched glory.

Hall After

Stairs beforeWe needed more than just replacing the handrail, so let me explain a little. Obviously there’s the handrails and basic 4×4 newel posts that could be much improved. Instead of solid treads at the wedges, there was hardwood flooring laid – that’s not how it’s done, people. The risers put up were just flimsy pieces of 1/2″ plywood they stained to match the terrible orange color of the flooring. And see the weird way you can see the stair return heading up to the second story? It’s just awkward and a place for dust and dirt to get caught up. I don’t even have a photo of the second story to show you how awkward the extra newel posts and railings intercepted each other up there.

Stairs before

So, in comes Dad to the rescue! I’ve noted before what an amazing carpenter/builder/woodworker my father is and this was one project I would not have wanted anyone else to do. So much time, precision and skill is involved in building stairs and believe me this was a lot of work for him. Let’s just get right to it so I can show you.

He started with everyone’s favorite part.. demo! And low and behold the original stairs were still underneath our old ones! #notsurprisedonebit

STAIRS

STAIRS

Here’s a picture of the upper landing so you can see how that works out for us. That’s the guest room to to the right and the bathroom is on the left.

STAIRS

Birdie was kind enough to sit in for you. In this image the door on the left is the guest room, master bedroom, then the office to the right.  It’s not a very big landing up here but maximizes our bedroom spaces nicely.

STAIRS

I saw a big impact immediately when he built out that wall to close off the stairs at the upper level.  It made a huge difference in the feeling of the staircase both upstairs and down.  I kept saying, “It’s like a real staircase!”.  I didn’t know how else to say what I meant! My dad had a ton of work to do level all the treads and risers and installing them properly.

STAIRS

STAIRS

The old stairs made this hollow sound when you walked on them and creaked and groaned.  Not these… these don’t make a peep and are so solid.

STAIRS

STAIRS

STAIRS

I had visions of the newel post at the lower level…it’s going to be amazing! Just wait and see! More coming soon!

Continue Reading
1 2 3 63