Tuesday, February 17

Foyer and Stairwell Update

Over Valentine's Day weekend, Doug and I tackled one of the more outdated areas of our house: the stairwell and foyer.  The wall color and stair runner needed to go!  I hadn't planned on doing this project until later this year, because of the cost.  Earlier this year, I got a few quotes for installing a new stair runner and also having the stairs painted, and it was waaaay more than I wanted to spend.  After doing some research, I found an affordable stair runner and realized that we could just do the work ourselves and save a ton of money.  I had never stained anything or installed any type of carpet or runner, but it was really easy to figure out!

Here's what the foyer looked like before.

The first step was getting rid of that orange-muddy wall paint.  Friday afternoon, we had the upstairs hallway, the stairwell, and the foyer painted and it was worth every penny.  I was not about to climb on a 20 foot ladder on the stairs!  It also took our painters less than 4 hours-  yup, worth every penny.  I chose a beautiful greige color, Sherwin Williams Popular Gray, and I couldn't love it more!  It really brightened up the space and especially made the upstairs hallway seem twice as big.

On Friday night, we tore up the old runner and pulled out any remaining staples.  We sanded each stair tread, cleaned up all of the dust and dirt, and taped the edges.  I stayed up late to finish the first coat of stain so it would be dry the next morning.  

On Saturday morning, I did the second coat of stain.  I used Polyshades in espresso, which is a stain and polyurethane in one.  It was really easy to use and works great going on a previously finished surface.  

I love that the wood grain shows through, and I think it'll be a lot more durable than just paint.  On Saturday night after the stain had dried, I painted all of the risers and trim white.  I didn't believe how yellow the previous paint was until I started painting over it!

I hadn't painted the spindles yet, but what a huge difference already! 

On Sunday afternoon, we started the final step of the renovation- the new stair runner!  I do love how the bare stairs look, but I am much more comfortable with some kind of runner on them just in case of a fall.  Because of having our pets and (someday) kids in the house, it just seems safer!  We started out by measuring and marking where the runner should go, to make sure once we were installing it, the runner would be centered and straight all the way down.  

Then we installed the pad!  I had a leftover 8x10 rug pad that we didn't use for our bedroom, so we measured and cut it into two strips.  Our runner is 22.5" wide, so we wanted the pad to be 21" wide.  We cut two 42" wide strips and folded them in half, so it would be extra cushy.  For this project, I bought the Bostitch 5/8" electric staple gun.  I used 9/16" staples for the pad and 5/8" brads for the runner.  We tried staples at first for the runner but because the pile is completely flat, they showed.  So we ran to Home Depot and luckily found brown brads that blended in perfectly.

I didn't take any pictures of actually installing the runner because I was trying to get it finished quickly so we could go get our pets from my parents house before the "snow storm" set in (thanks for keeping them all weekend, Mom and Dad!)  But it was really easy!  I used this runner from Target, and I needed 4 of them.  I only used part of the 4th runner to do one stair, so we have most of it left over just in case we ever need to patch a stair if something were to spill or tear.  The only challenging part was to start a new runner.  I had to cut the runner at the top in a straight line and make it match up perfectly with the previously laid runner.  But I think it turned out pretty great!

I was worried about getting a jute runner at first, because of this little guy and his claws.  But so far, he has not been interested in it!  The nice thing is that this runner is cotton and jute, so it doesn't have the bad qualities that jute usually does.  It's a lot softer and doesn't have any dust.  When I cut the runner, I was worried it would unravel but it somehow stayed perfectly in place.  I think it will actually be very durable!

I am thrilled with how it all turned out, and especially how much money we saved by doing it ourselves!  Here's a breakdown of the stairway expenses:

4 runners: $128 (I got them for 20% off)
Electric staple gun: $30
Staples and brads: $7
Stain: $13
Stain brush: $15
2 sanding blocks: $6

A grand total of $199!  

The estimates I got just for the runner alone (installation and materials) were $800 and $1900.  One was pretty cheap carpet (that they would cut and bind) and the other was a nice runner.  So I'm pretty thrilled with the outcome, and the savings!

Monday, February 9

Our Kitchen Makeover

I'm so excited to share these pictures!  Our kitchen makeover has been one of the biggest transformations in the house- it's amazing what a little paint (or gallons and gallons!) can do to a room!  After painting the cabinets, trim, and walls, the kitchen felt twice as big as it did before, and it feels so much brighter and happier.  Here are the before and afters!

I'm smitten with this new pendant light I found at the Ballard Outlet for a steal!  I originally bought a pretty vintage bulb for it, but it gave off a very yellow light so I instead used a cool-toned Edison bulb. I'm actually glad I switched because this bulb sprays the light on the ceiling in the prettiest way!

Eventually we will update the dishwasher and oven to stainless steel, but as long as these keep working, we're in no hurry!

I found this solid wood dining set on Craigslist for a great deal and refinished it before we moved in.

My favorite, and most-used, part of the kitchen: the coffee bar.  I can't go a day without my morning coffee! 

Not everything is styled perfectly!  Here's a glimpse of real life:  Pepper's container of syringes for his twice daily insulin shots :)  The cubbies are perfect for sorting mail and receipts, and the counter mainly serves as the fur babies' treat area, while also keeping our magazines and coupons organized.  I found the stool at HomeGoods and recovered the top for a fun pop of color!

The final painting job in the kitchen was this copper strip in the backsplash.  Originally, I had planned to pry it out and replace it with something a little more subtle.  But I decided to try painting it first, since that would be way cheaper and easier!  The perfect color ended up being one I already had from painting our fireplace (pictures and tutorial coming soon!).  This color really brought out the browns in our countertop and tied everything together beautifully.

I wanted to get hidden hinges but unfortunately for our style of cabinet door (3/8" inset partial wrap) they don't currently make any.  Also, it is INSANE how many kinds of doors / hinges there are.  I learned way more than I ever cared to about cabinet doors and hinges!

Another part of our kitchen that I'm grateful for everyday is the hall tree.  It's the perfect spot to keep our jackets, shoes, and my purse organized and looking good.

Additional Info:
Cabinet paint:  Cabinet Coat (Home Depot online)
Cabinet hardware:  Target
Wall color:  Sherwin Williams Glimmer


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