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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Staircase Makeover...and a little bit more

It's about that time, wouldn't you agree, gang?

Between my various moving, renovating, sick dog (that's a whole other story) meltdowns, to-do's and so on, my blogging mojo has taken a good beating.  However, I am feeling well rested, thankful and highly caffinated enough today to get it back on.  Yahoo!  Wahoo!  Yahoo!

Some exciting things are finally taking form at the new digs, and I can't keep them all to myself.  So...first up to bat is (drumroll, please)....the worst and yet one of the most worthwhile projects I have ever taken on. 

The staircase makeover.

From the moment we walked through what would become our home, and I first laid eyes on the bazillion and one spindles of the staircase railing, I had visions of something along these lines dancing through my head:

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Lovely, yes?  So, I really, really wanted white spindles with an espresso colored handrail and espresso end columns.  Little did I know (as is the case 99.9999% of the time) the hours upon hours it would take to achieve that look.

So, we started by sanding...

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And...mistakenly "oversanding" in some places...

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Truth be told, I sanded till my fingers went numb as did the poor souls (thank you, family!) we recruited to spend hours sanding with us. The spindles are fairly detailed, so it added an extra level of difficulty.  I dusted each spindle over and over again with tack cloth between sandings, stainings and what not.  There were several times I wanted to quit this project, although, I never said that outloud.  I just kept working away, because I always had that vision of the finished look in the back of my mind. 

My inspiration for tackling this beast came from Centsational Girl and her staircase makeover.  Her tips were super helpful in us achieving the overall look we desired.

So, I taped and taped...and had a mental battle over the "crucial" question of what should I do first: do I paint the spindles first...or do I paint the handrails first?  Back and forth it went like a ping pong ball in my brain.  I decided to spray paint the spindles, starting with Primer.  I primed those babies like mad, coat after coat.  I also cleaned the dust off between each layer.  Seriously, I thought this project would NEVER end, but then I got to spray paint them with a glossy white spray paint, and a major transformation began to take place (p.s. I chose spray paint for a smooth finish)...

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Some of the spindles had to be removed and filled with wood filler, re-sanded then primed and painted because they were so chipped and cracked at the base - another problem that I hadn't anticipated.  We decided to paint them before they were re-installed.

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Finally, we came to the point where we could stain the handrails and columns.  We wiped on two coats of espresso stain, two coats of semi-opaque burnt umber acrylic craft paint (strange concept but a great Centsational Girl tip) and two coats of wipe-on poly, dusting each spindle with tack cloth between each coat.  We waited hours sometimes overnight between each coat to make sure that it was completely dry before beginning the next coat.  I can't even begin to tell you the hours and weeks we have been working on this project, but we are finally finished!  Okay, kind of.  We still need to re-install some of the spindles we removed and patched up.

Here's a sneak peek as of last night (excuse the dark photos - I tried to get there before the sun went down...with no luck!).

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I LOVE the way it turned out!!  I haven't removed the painters tape yet, so try to envision it without the tape (wink, wink).  What do you think?

Oh, and I have another little peek-a-roo for you, too.

One set of our French doors arrived last week, so we got to replace this outdated fella...

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With this beauty...

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Yay!

You may have also noticed the painted walls.  The paint colors were my husband's choice and they look fantastic in person.  We will be adding white chair rail around the main level to separate the two paint colors as well as some stylish trim around the doorway to really make it pop.

Today, the hard wood floors are being installed, and I'm so excited that I can hardly wait to head over to the house after work.  The kitchen cabinets have also arrived and will be installed next week.  Stay tuned for more pics!

Oh, and for those of you who know about our scare with our sweet little Peaches last week where she almost didn't make it, I want you to know that she is on the mend after her surgery.  She is slowly gaining weight and getting her spunk back, so Ron and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kind words and prayers for our sweet, little girl. :)

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Ciao!

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