Our stairwell painting project is definitely not a wow-er. I wish it was – I put a lot of work into that silly little dark stairwell! Sadly, it pretty much looks the same as it did before, just better and cleaner and neater. Wanna see? Let’s consider this my not-so-big reveal…
Here’s where we started…
(See all those patches? Yep. Our stairwell was just that disasterous.)
Fast forward a couple of months and a lot of paint (BM Edgecomb Gray on the walls, and Snowfall White on the stringers, trim and doors) and here’s what that same little stairwell looks like now…
One of my favourite improvements is the mirror at the bottom of the stairs. It’s called Melissa (yep – that’s half the reason why I bought it!) and I found it on clearance at Sears a while back (the other reason why I grabbed it up!) Rona still sells this same mirror at full price (see here), so I’m quite proud of my lovely little bargain. :) It’s a dark, windowless little stairwell and this just seems to brighten the landing up a bit (plus I just think it’s pretty!)
Oooh! And see those lovely stringers near the bottom of the pic? They weren’t always so lovely. That loveliness is the result of a whole lot of filler (there was a huge gap between the stringers and the wall originally that yours truly fixed up with loads of caulking), careful (crazy time consuming!) taping (click here for pics of the groovy green tape stripes I had going for a while) and a lick of paint.
Just looks so much cleaner now. :)
The boob light at the top of the stairs has been replaced by Ikea’s amazing Alang…
(Alang is indeed a-lovely, non?)
And I painted both the doors to the upstairs bedrooms. They were originally wood-grain and coated in what appeared to be a gazillion layers of 1940s varnish. The white is way better (if you ask me!)
I heart our doorknobs. They’re old and aged and imperfectly perfect.
Lastly we added a mirror at the top of the stairs. Afterall, one must make sure she’s presentable before greeting her public. ;)
And poof! The stairwell is done. Ish. I’d like to eventually replace the thick brown (leaf-patterned) runner with something fun or striped or something like that, but for now it’s in good shape so despite that it’s brown (did I mention that it’s brown? Yep. It’s brown…) it’s staying, for a while at least. And I’d like to add something to that wall at the very bottom of the stairs (a pic from our wedding [almost 4 years ago] perhaps? We should really start printing those at some point…) but that’s not an urgent stairwell upgrade at the moment either.
For now, it’s better! If you didn’t know I’d put weeks (and weeks and weeks) of weekend-work into that little dark stairwell, you’d just think that it’s a fresh clean stairwell. But it’s the projects that you don’t notice that add the most value, I think. At least I hope. :)
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So, as you may remember from this post, my living room was pretty sad looking a couple weeks ago. It was terribly tv-centric (the last thing we wanted in our cute little living room!) and blaaaaaaand…
Drab and dreary eh? And the television practically hollers, “Look at me! I’m the tv! And not even a nice compact flatscreen telly either. No siree bob. I’m a big ol’ box of a beast. And I’m all you’re going to notice when you walk into the living room. Ha. So there.”
(My television is obviously a wee bit of a snobby show-off.)
Here’s what our living room looks like now that we’ve given it a little faux-fireplace love… :)
Sooo much better eh? I’m quite pleased. :) Obviously we still need to accessorize. I just quickly added the white/teal accessories to the left corner of the mantel (cuz it looked really sad without) and Sweetie put the mirror up last weekend, and that’s as far as we’ve gotten so far (btw, that mirror is apparently rather busy traveling around our house! You may remember it as my happy little above-stove mirror from this post. I suppose that means that it’s versatile. Or that I need to buy another large-ish-sized round mirror. Although Sweetie says we have far too many mirrors in this house already. Boys are rather silly like that. But I digress…)
The fireplace hole (technical term) still needs filling up with something (I’m just not sure with what yet.) And I need to find another horizontal surface on which to perch the television. I just moved our existing tv-cabinet to the right and called it a day, but really it’s too large/deep (and, well, too pine.) A pretty little old white-painted dresser would be a lovely replacement, though, no? :)
Lastly? (Well, doubtful that it’ll be a “lastly” sort of thing, but in the foreseeable future…) We also need to either mount that mirror to the left of the mantel to the wall (hmmm… maybe Sweetie has a point on that too-many-mirrors thing…) (nah…) or stack a few images vertically on the wall or something. Same thing for the right side above the telly (I just plopped a few prints [courtesy of Etsy sellers honeytree and AldariArt] around the tv, trying to cleverly camouflage the big black box. It’s semi-effective?)
BUT, all-in-all, the living room avec faux-fireplace is BETTER. And, honestly, I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to hang our stockings from something other than either a) the television cabinet or b) the window moulding (true story) next Christmas. Only 8 months-ish to go! (I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for Christmas!) (It’s amazing what a lovely faux-fireplace can do! :)Leave a comment
When we moved into this house, Sweetie was quite opposed to having a tv in our living room. The living room is the first room you see once you’ve stepped through our front door (well, if you look left it is at least – if you focus straight ahead, like I suppose most normal people would, you see our kitchen) (but if you happen to have a weird crick in your neck when you visit, you might see our living room first) and he said he wanted the living room to be for relaxing and visiting with people. He didn’t want the focal point of the room to be the television.
I fought him on this, and won. :) I do most of the cooking, and our house is quasi-open from the kitchen to the living room, and I wanted the option of having tv noise in the background while cooking/doing dishes/puttering around the kitchen.
But, he was right. We’ve rearranged our living room a couple of times, and still the focal point of the room is the tv, surrounded by a big blank wall.
Not pretty eh? The room looks… unfinished. And a little silly. And very tv-centric. Even if the cats don’t seem to care. I’ve pondered adding a gallery wall around the tv. I’ve tried grouping the tv with other things (oooh! Maybe a big green star will cleverly camouflage the telly!), attempting to make it stand out less. But, alas, the tv is, and has remained, the focal point in the room. :(
Enter: inspiration. While taking a random chatter-break at work one day (because it’s the only way to stay sane sometimes) Clint (friend and coworker extraordinaire) suggested putting a fireplace on the end wall of our living room. BRILLIANT. (I have rather smart friends.) A fireplace would surely become the focal point in the room. And, importantly, a fireplace would also give us a much better place to hang our stockings at Christmas (we currently hang them from the tv stand) (it’s sad, and rather pathetic, but true.) (Don’t tell.)
So, after a wee bit of searching, a fireplace I found, via the fine folk at Kijiji. :)
It’s not a functioning fireplace (in case the sparkly white insides weren’t a tip-off.) Just a mantel with a non-functioning fireplace hole (technical term.) But I love it. And I pick it up tomorrow. :)
And so, with fireplace purchase imminent, I’ve proceeded to Get My Pinterest On. Of course. Which has yeilded so many brilliant ideas for what to do with that non-functional fireplace hole.
I could fill it with pretty vases and the odd bloom…
I could get Sweetie to chop me some wood and fill it with artfully placed log-ends (as found through Brunch with Darling):
I could go simple and chic, and just add a pretty basket, like the brilliant folk at The Lettered Cottage did:
And then maybe switch things up for the seasons (so clever, and so easy!) like they did here:
Or, maybe I could go the classic route, and fill my fantastic fireplace hole with simple white pillar candles, a la Young House Love:
Or I could just rotate all of the above (and really keep the cats on their toes.) :) There are SO many different and lovely options! (Can you tell I’m excited?) (Yep – I’m super excited!) Where will the tv go now? I’m not sure. It’ll probably end up on SOMETHING in the corner behind one of the tub-chairs, receding somewhat into the background (I hope.) I’m hoping to find a little refinished dresser or something like that to use as a super cute (and non-pine) tv stand (queue additional scouring of Kijiji ads.) Or perhaps Sweetie will build me some built-in-like shelving on either side of the fireplace. Ah! So much potential for my once sad looking tv-centric living room. It makes me happy. I’ll keep you posted. :)Leave a comment
The stairwell walls are painted. Hooray! And they actually look pretty good – I hadn’t noticed that the old paint was, well, SHINY (I’m guessing pearl or satin?) until I covered it with glorious eggshell (even Sweetie noticed that the new colour is way less shiny.) (And if Sweetie noticed it, there must be a big difference. I could paint a random wall in my house fuscia [fuschia? fushia? OMG that's a spelling-bee stumper] and I’d probably have to point it out to him before he’d actually notice.) And so, with walls done (I heart you, Edgecomb Gray!), this weekend has become a trim weekend. I hate trim weekends. Painting the baseboards (technical term: stringers? I think?) in my stairwell has possibly been the most boring painting project ever (and I still have one more coat of paint to go.)
One of the contributing factors for why I despise painting trim? I can’t paint straight. At all. I am one of those poor sad people who needs tape. Everywhere. Like, lots and lots of tape. Or else things just get really messy. So while the process of painting the trim (primer coat went on yesterday) (yuppers – I prime everything. Way less frustrating than going back afterwards to try and seal in all those mystery stains when they peek through your lovely new paint job) (and plus it’s a high adhesion primer, which works really well with my aversion to sanding) didn’t actually take that long, taping took forever. And ever. And ever.
People who can paint trim and these sorts of things sans tape amaze me. Seriously. Craig Lowe, you are my hero.
(Explanatory aside: Craig Lowe is the painter guy Mike Holmes brings in to paint post-demolition on Holmes on Homes. Sweetie calls him my boyfriend. He does indeed make me swoon just a little. Not because he’s particularly handsome [he is kinda cute though], but because that man can paint a mean room. Without tape. Sigh.) (Random reference, I know.)
While painting the stairwell, I’m figuring I should also paint the doors to the bedrooms (since they’re the original 1940s ugly stained/several-thousand-coats-of-varathane doors, and they don’t really match anything.)
For the record, I love my doorknobs. They need some cleaning up, but old doorknobs make me happy.
I’m thinking I might eventually take them all off and give them a good coat of Oil Rubbed Bronze spraypaint (a la Sherry from YHL.) (Hi Sherry!) For now I’ll just paint around them though…
a) because I’m lazy
b) because I prefer to spraypaint outdoors and it’s, like, minus a gazillion degrees out right now
c) because I just want this stupid stairwell project overwith (and getting fancy with the doorknobs wasn’t part of the original plan for right now.)
SO there it is. Stairwell-Painting-Project Progress Report number 3. And hopefully the last one – there’s nothing like spending your weekend (or three) in a tiny little stairwell. But it may just be the nicest stairwell ever (ev-ver) when I’m done. Or so I’m telling myself.
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Lots of progress on the stairwell so far this weekend (which makes me happy – a weekend without some sort of renovation progress makes me sad.) (Yup. I’m a little obsessed like that LOL.) Here’s what I’ve done so far…
I caulked all the baseboards to the wall. This is always my least favourite step when I’m painting a room. Caulking is gross. It’s sticky. It’s unruly. It gets all over. (So, really, this is all one big admission that I suck at caulking.) BUT, it makes such a huge difference to how things look (so, while I gripe and groan, it’s a step I never skip) (unless, by some miracle, things have already been caulked, in which case I do a little happy dance.) (Sadly, there were no happy dances spontaneously erupting yesterday.)
(Aside: I PROMISE to eventually get a better handle on this whole picture-taking thing. Darkest. Photo. Ever. And it kinda makes me a little dizzy too…)
Here’s the same stretch of baseboard after a little love from the caulking gun (and a coat of primer too)…
Way better eh? (Oooh. And a way better camera angle, with better lighting too. Gotta say, I’m pretty darn proud of that there shot of my baseboards.) :) Caulking the baseboards to the walls just makes everything look so much more FINISHED. I can’t believe in the 70-ish years this house has been standing, no one has ever thought to do this.
Once all the gaps were all tidied up, I primed everything. I probably didn’t need to – I’m doubting that the paint on the walls was oil-based or anything like that. But I’ve learned through experience that priming over everything, as much as I hate the additional step, ensures that there will be no surprises (nothing is more annoying than having a mystery stain that you didn’t notice pre-painting suddenly seep through your new pretty paint job), and it just seals anything, um, weird the previous owners did in (there are all sorts of strange marks on my walls. Not so sure what most of them are. Don’t really want to know.) PLUS, with all the patching I did, priming kinda became a mandatory step. :(
So that’s how I’ve spent my weekend so far! Here’s the stairwell to date, all primed-up and anxiously waiting for a coat of lovely greigy Edgecomb Gray…
Progress makes me happy. :)
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