Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Floating Stairs Makeover

We have these floating stairs that lead from the main level to the second floor. It was one of the features that attracted us to the house. When we removed the carpeting upstairs and down and put in bamboo it was painfully clear the carpeted stairs had to go. Carpeting on stairs feels wrong to me, which is silly because it's very common. But I grew up in a house with wood stairs so maybe there's something familiar about that.

Anyhow, we kicked around ideas for how to approach these stairs: paint them white, wrap them in the same bamboo as the floors, wrap them in another type of wood. We were all over the place. I Googled and Googled and Googled some more and there was nothing out there for how to update floating stairs like ours. Lots of beautiful examples of floating stairs, but none we could use.

Finally we just decided to pull off the carpet and see what we found.
Turned out the wood was totally something we could work with! The grain of the wood and the integrity of the facades were undamaged although they were covered in drips of paint and stain and other construction-type products. We had to work pretty hard to clean the paint and drips of glue and stain off the stairs (you can still see the paint smeared all over the riser). Each stair required quite a bit of TLC but eventually we cleaned off the treads and they looked pretty good. We went to the store and picked up a stain that matched the wood on the railings. It's called Early American. One coat of stain and two coats of polyurethane and voila! the treads were looking great the riser needed major priming and painting but that was no biggie. We just used the same glossy white that we have on all the trim.

Finally it was time to tear up the carpet on the landings and put down the bamboo to carry the bamboo visually between the two spaces and complete the look.
This project required quite a bit of sweat equity but didn't cost much money at all.

I would like to dedicate this post to the person who invented baby gates because it kept the kids at bay while we were working and surfaces were drying.

10 comments:

Lindsey said...

Wow...looks great! I am, as always, impressed with your handiness!

Gail said...

They turned out great!

Kate said...

Everything looks fabulous!

Also, fwiw I grew up with carpeted stairs and I still think they make no sense. When the carpet on our stairs finally bites the dust we'll probably have wooden stairs put in (even though it will be pricey) because Field hates the carpet so much.

Emily said...

I also don't like carpet on stairs because cats can gain momentum on carpet- since I already hate that they run after eachother like maniacs the last thing I'm going to do is make it easier for them!

Brenna said...

They do look good!

I also hate my carpeted steps. It is a pain to vacuum and they are easy to slip on...

emk said...

Chiming in with the others for the awesomeness!

I think it's funny that everyone is so anti-carpeted steps, though! (In the big picture; clearly, your project was a fab improvement!) I guess I'm just a carpet-lover in general, but especially with little kids, I think there are big benefits to carpet. And I totally think wooden steps are slippery, Brenna! Maybe I'm just weird... ;-)

Emily said...

wooden steps are def. slippery- those grippy things on the bottom of socks are awesome :-)

melaniet42 said...

I totally noticed the steps when we were over today and forgot to say something. They do look great!!

Jankonia said...

You grew up with one set of carpeted stairs too em...

Emily said...

Basement stairs don't count. Obviously.