Staircase renewal

So have I told you why I bought this house? It was the land – a beautiful patch of 3ish acres in a wicked private setting with tons and tons of gardens. Bliss! But the house – eh. It was cute, but there were problems with it. The previous owners took it a LONG way from what it was (I promise to tell you that story later) but I had wild ambitious plans for the house – after all, you can fix the house, but you can’t fix the location, right?

Ha! How young and naive I was.

That should be: if you have a million dollars and a saint for a husband you can fix the house. I have neither (sorry honey).

One of the things I HATED THE MOST was the staircase. It was boxed in, ugly and felt like a laundry chute.  Here’s a little look at what it was like:

Do you not LOVE that handrail?  Eeewwww.

You are too kind…

For a while I lived with it.  I even used the stair wall behind that lovely handrail to create a funky bookcase display in the dining room -turned entry room:

But that was like putting lipstick on a pig.  So this year I decided that we’d bite the bullet and fix it.

So I took down the shelves and got started.  Here’s the wall without the shelves – this is looking thru the dining room from the kitchen doorway:

And we decided to get hacking:

And after finding out how to do a sort-of board and batten technique at Centsational Girl (have I told you how much I love her?)  we got to this:

So here it is before:

Aaaand here it is after:

Tell me that doesn’t rock.

And you see that little wall on the left?  That wasn’t there before.  We put up that wall and turned the dining room-turned entry room into a mudroom and created a hallway.   The fun never ends.

So today I’m loving my newly renovated stair.  I’m just showing you one side of it – the most dramaaaatic side.  I also opened up a wee bit of the other side of the stair and took down a wall at the top of the stair and added a railing.

So let’s wrap this up… here’s the hideous funhouse staircase before:

And here it is after:

Cool, huh?  I’m loving it.

See the crazy stair paint?  That is because we’re running a Dash and Albert runner up those stairs next month…  And because everyone in my life is a comedian, the color scheme has us calling this the s’mores stair.  See?

So one more time for the big dramatic BEFORE and AFTER.  Here’s the icky before looking into the hall from the living room:

And here is the same shot AFTER! Yay!

Now it is the big hall and the mudroom.  Promise to let you in on that fun later…

Pardon the Trader Joe’s bag and the socks on the floor.  That’s just the way my house looks aaalll the time.

So now the house is coming along and the gardens are full of weeds.  Can’t have everything, right?  But I’m happy with the way this is coming along.  Don’t ask about the family room.  That’s still unfinished after five years.  But that’s a story for another time…

November 2012:  Want to see an update on this space and how the mudroom turned out?  Click here!

Update:  So psyched to have this post featured at:

Linking to:

TDC Before and After

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28 thoughts on “Staircase renewal

  1. Amazing transofmration! I am inspired!!
    How did you determine whether the stair wall was load bearing or non-loading? I have a stariwell exactly like this, and would love to do something similiar. Just would be nervous about accidently causing part of my house to cave in…

    • Thanks! I have a Cape and there usually aren’t load bearing stair walls in this type of house. I can try to help you figure out what you have going on if you want to send me a private email. I worked as an architect before the industry fell apart, so I SORT OF know what I am talking about (but not too much, mind you…. 🙂 )

    • well, Lisa, if you are looking forward to the next project you’ve inspired me to keep blogging! I have a lot of before-and-after projects but the photos usually have my cat walking through them. Keep checking back! Thanks!

    • I think that every house can be transformed without adding big additions or spending billions of dollars. And detailed plans are my LOVE! When I worked as an architect my favorite thing to do was help people realize their dreams of transforming their homes.

  2. That is one awesome makeover! Love it – everything about it! What color are you getting your dash and albert runner in? I came over from the party at The Ironstone Nest!

  3. What a huge difference the new staircase makes. It looks amazing. I would love for you to link this up to my Fall into Fall party going on right now. Hope to see you there.

  4. Hi there–I realize this is an older post but if you don’t mind, how did you determine if it the walls were load-bearing? I will have a architect or structural engineer take a look before any demolition, but I am looking at a house where there is a similar stairwell and wonder if we could open it up, too. It is an old colonial from 1850s, but turned into two condos. I could send photos if that helps. Again, thanks. I know this is from 2 years ago!

  5. Pingback: Make it Pretty Monday – Week 24

  6. I know this is an older post, but I just ran across it on Pinterest while perusing staircase makeovers. Your new stairs are AWESOME!! What a difference. I look forward to seeing all your projects when I have time….right now it’s time to get back to my own staircase project.

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