Stair Inspiration and A Photoshop Before & After

We have been in the house for over a year now. Some days it feels like we’ve been here for 5 minutes, but other days it seems like we’ve been here forever!

If you had asked me a year ago what I projects we would accomplish the first 365 days in this house, I’m positive my list would have been unrealistically long. All that said, I’m also pretty proud of what we’ve acheived so far. And what we have learned, which is a whole lot.

I’ve learned how to “design-build,” which is vastly different than my day job in design (where every square inch is planned out in beautiful, but painstaking, detail). And while I’m good at problem solving on the spot, I’ve also learned that even when I can make a quick decision, implementation takes time (and so does getting the correct material to get the job done right)! I’ve also learned that my husband is incredible and can pretty much fix anything. He’s done plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and paint. He’s fixed appliances and installed light fixtures. Our next adventure will be tile, and I’m sure he’ll be amazing at that, too.

In the meantime, we kicked off another, simpler project. Last Friday I got an estimate for refinishing our floors and adding wood upstairs. It was a little bit of a blow, but has given us a goal to save for. Included in that estimate was a cost to have the carpet removed from the stairs, the treads replaced with oak and stained to match our floors. It was to the tune of $1700, and that is money I would definitely rather spend elsewhere.

So, we’ve decided to paint the stairs instead. Jon spent the better part of Saturday afternoon tearing every last inch of the carpet off the stairs, and now we have a lovely fresh slate.

The stairs when we first moved in… gotta love the wall decals left by the previous owners and the lovely “boob” light!
Taking the carpet off has already made such a HUGE difference!

I’ve been saving images of stairs on Pinterest since before we even closed on the house, and typically I gravitate towards a more monochromatic look. I find that I prefer the treads and the risers to all be the same color. There is some really great inspiration out there…

Via Remodelista, Design and Photo by White Arrow
Via Remodelista. Photo by Haris Kenjar. Design by Mowery Marsh.
Via The Glitter Guide. I’m dead over this one… but white scares me a little!
Via The Glitter Guide. Again… love the way white looks in theory, but it actually scares me!

I did a quick photoshop exercise to try and see what direction I want to take – figure I have to make a decision pretty quick so that we can get the stairs presentable again! I also played with photoshopping the floors in the color I want them to be after refinishing to really get the full picture. I think (think!) that I want to go black on the treads, risers, and the handrail. I tried the stiles in black, and it just felt too dark, and trim piece running below the handrail is really thin, so painting that black left an odd stripe along the wall. At first I thought I could combat that by painting the trim below black, too, but it runs right into the baseboard on the wall and there is no obvious stopping point. So with that, this is the direction I’m leading.

And after looking at all the inspiration, I think I’m definitely pro runner! Remi has been fine going up and down the stairs without carpet thus far, but sometimes he does get going pretty quick and I’m worried about him losing his grip and tumbling the whole way down. A runner will definitely help give him a little more grip! I’m going to have to do a little more research to figure out exactly what kind of runner to get… the vintage one in the image above is just. so. beautiful! But I’m sure the hunt for something like that will be time consuming. We shall see where that goes!

So – What do you think? An improvement over the original? I think so!