Stairway of the Damned (Part 3 of a Never-Ending Saga)

Stripping the staircase is one of those projects that I know will completely change the character of my home. Multiple layers of glossy white paint just didn't do the woodwork justice, and the molding is more complex than I had initially thought. Once it's finished, it will be the focal point of the living room. Once it's finished... Somehow, in my typically optimistic fashion, I didn't realize what a huge, tedious, chore this would be. It's also one of the most rewarding experiences I've had with the house. I'm taking something ugly and making it beautiful again.

Unfortunately, I can't work on the stairway for more than maybe 4 hours in a day. Holding the sander or scraper at the angles required is torture for my back, and I have to take frequent breaks. Should anyone out there in the blogosphere decide that the years of paint on their staircase is unbearable, I'd definitely recommend either hiring a professional or disassembling the banister and spindles. We couldn't afford a pro, and our railing doesn't wobble at all, so I was afraid that if we took it apart, it wouldn't go back together as sturdily. I'm not even sure how to take it apart. The only nails that I've seen simply hold on the inverted quarter-round under each riser. There are no nails or other fasteners visible anywhere else. Talk about good constuction...

I probably have about 12 hours of work left on it, so it's possible for me to finish before summer... I only have 3 spindles left (12 sides), the area under the railing between the spindles, and the inverted quarter-round molding under each tread (16). The flat parts of the risers and the baseboard will be much simpler.

I think I've finally settled on a color palette for the living room. Ironically, I'm using the same colors as before, just in different quantities and places. I still love the Roycroft Copper red, it's just too overwhelming to use on the walls. It will be an accent color instead. The Hubbard Squash or a golden tan (top or lower left) will most likely be the wall color. The brown will be the sofa. The green will be the secondary color, and will probably be found in the rug.

I did find a rug that matches the palette, and Shayne and I both like it. It even looks a bit Arts and Crafts-y. It's from the "Kharma" collection by Oriental Weavers Sphinx. I don't know yet if I can find it locally, but there's a store online that I can order it from and have 30 days to return it in case it doesn't work out. We'd have to pay return shipping, but Shayne has a friend that works at FedEx that can hook us up. The local place only gives 48 hours, and I'm not sure that we can make a decision that fast...

I also found a couch that would work with everything. I think we're going to go with an apartment sized sofa, since we're happy with the size and scale (if not aesthetics) of the futon we currently have in there.

So... Maybe the living room is finally going to come together. I've never decorated a room from the ground up before, and it's nowhere as easy as I anticipated. Usually I have at least one thing to match to, but we started from scratch with this one. No furniture, no wall color, no rug. I now know that if this whole law enforcement thing doesn't work out for me, I'm NOT going to go into interior design!


ben said...

love the color choice - don't change a good thing :)

Greg said...

I spent 3 months on the raised panel dado in the dining room. It was brutal, but well worth it.

Who paints over burl redwood?

The Litter Box House said...

Only 12 more hours! Yipee! I'm excited for you. Can't wait to see the final product. I would love to see an in-progress photo too. I feel like you are breaking the way for me to start work on my own stairs. I'll be rereading your stair posts in the next few weeks.

I'm planning to start on our stairs once the weather warms up and I can open doors/windows for air circulation. Maybe next weekend? I'm rather nervous since I've never stripped before (stage fright). We have the same situation with our stairs, very solid balusters and handrail, so I'm not removing them. I'm also lucky that they are square balusters so I won't have as much difficulty as you did.

Good luck with the finishing touches on your stairs and living room. Any additional stripping advice/no-no's for me are always welcome. :)