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Stop stairing!

Bit by mauve toilet and honey oak saloon rail bit, I’ve transformed our lovely but very much built in the 80s home to a bright, colorful, eclectic haven that friends and family all seem to love – even if they wouldn’t design their homes in the same ways.

One of the last spaces standing, climbing to be precise, was the entry staircase.

It begged for a redo, so wanting to be as up-to-date as it’s recently installed slate floor, stunning ceiling art, and ceiling and dramatic walls.

I’ve been looking for ideas – and found some wonderful source material on Houzz and Pinterest and the like. But I did have to work within some boundaries:

* I wasn’t willing to break the bank on this. A few thousand, yes. Thirty thousand, well … no!

* It needed to fit the space. While I loved some of the stunning modern installations that featured custom-fabricated metal panels with circular cutouts, those just weren’t right for the space. No matter what funky finish and fabulous fixtures I’ve incorporated into our home, the home still is, at the core, fairly traditional.

I ended up working with Michael Boozell at Update my Stairs who was quick, flexible, and accommodating, and able to source iron balusters that I found online that I felt bridged the gap between traditional and fun. He recommended Terry Seamans, who specializes in wood restorations, to refinish most of the remaining wood elements of the staircase in the same driftwood look that we’d done when we had the floors re-done last year.

I learned a few terms along the way:

* Treads & risers – the horizontal and vertical elements of the actual step.

* Balusters – the skinny vertical pieces of the staircase. Relatively inexpensive to replace.

* Newell posts – the largest, anchor type components of the staircase. Quite costly to replace.

* Fascia – the trim that runs alongside the stairs, on the wall.

I ended up choosing to have the wood stripped and refinished on risers and treads, newels, and the hand rail itself. This was a huge, time-consuming effort, but yielded gorgeous results. The fascia got paint – in a color to complement both the woodwork and my wall finish.

It seemed logical to round the project out with a new runner, which I chose to use just on the stairs; the upper hallway and bedrooms were fine. I picked a neutral herringbone which adds an element of interest but also gives crisp, modern feel.

All who see the re-do love it. And it’s much more in tune with our life and style than the previous version. But just as when you give a mouse a cookie … this project leads to another. Our newly refinished floors and matching stairs are now completely out of synch with the rest of the base, trim, and doors throughout the house.

Paint or stain? Neutral or color? That’s a topic for the next blog ….

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