I’m including this post in the Den Project category since it really changes the look of our entryway, which is basically in our den; there’s not much of a foyer to speak of in our house. It updates the look of the entire room, and the result of this approximately two-month long project was certainly worth the wait.
When our house was built in 1989, a lot of the wood (trim, staircase, cabinets) was stained a light color – maple or oak? Whatever it was, it’s one of my least favorite colors of wood stain. By the time we bought the house, all the cabinets and trim (with the exception of the inside of a the cabinets and a few closet doors) had already been painted white.
The main area that remained maple/oak was the banister, which you encounter immediately upon entering our house through the front door.
And upstairs, it didn’t look much better.
When we made the offer on this house, we asked that the baby gate at the top of the stairs be left behind, figuring it would be helpful in containing our then 3-month old puppyy, Rocky. But it didn’t match the staircase, which drove me a little crazy.
So after a few months, we took it off and stained it to match the banister. It would have looked better had it turned out the way I thought it would, but we did a terrible job, so it wound up looking worse. The main problem was that we didn’t sand it well enough, so the stain didn’t adhere evenly or cover the entire surface. The second problem was the metal hardware. We tried to stain it, too, or at least the stain leaked onto it and we let it dry (my least favorite excuse/explanation for anything, ‘we were young and stupid’ definitely applies here – we had so much to learn!), so of course it wound up just looking dirty. We put a coat of polyurethane over the whole thing, hung it back up, and left it there looking terrible for over five years.
In December of 2014, I finally got to work on changing this mess. I’d done my research and found a few blog posts, including this one, where people had sanded down and re-stained their banisters to change them from maple/oak to a dark stain. Fortunately for me, I was working with a much smaller section of banister, which was a relief since my workforce consisted of only me.
I’ve always loved the trim in our church, which was built sometime in the 1850s. I love the contrast of the white against the dark wood stain on all the banisters and railings, and the Christmas garland draped over it in this photo doesn’t look bad, either. It was a pretty easy decision to update our sad banisters and drippy baby gate to look like these.
So after about a year of planning get to this project, I finally gathered my supplies and got to work. This project got bigger as I went and wound up taking place in four different sections:
- Sand, stain, and paint banisters
- Sand and paint baby gate and spray paint hardware
- Paint staircase (and upstairs landing) walls and trim
- Sand and stain handrail; spray paint hardware
|I know it looks like I’m just staring at the camera,
but I was actually smiling under the mask.
1. Sand, Stain, and Paint Banisters
The sanding process went by fairly quickly…until I had to switch to regular sandpaper on the spindles. That was not such a quick process due to their roundness. But the good news was that I didn’t have to sand quite as well on the spindles since I planned to paint them white instead of stain them. I sanded everything down the best I could, then vacuumed up a bunch of sawdust, and wiped all the wood surfaces down with a wet cloth to prep the wood for staining.
|You can see really well in this picture how
the bottom section didn’t really take the stain.
|Finally, a good use for all those ads in the recycling bin!|
2. Sand and Paint Baby Gate and Hardware
3. Paint Staircase (and Upstairs Landing) Walls and Trim
|That’s a long way down!|
|Hard at work!|
The previous owners had not done a good job with the paint in the staircase and upstairs landing, and it needed some attention. It also matched the gold paint that used to be in the den, so I painted it Faint Maple to blend with the den, dining room, and our bedroom.
|They hadn’t even removed the baby gate hardware when they painted!
Also, this photo shows just how bad the trim looked before I painted it.
|The original paint job didn’t look that great, either.
Here’s s tip: Use more than one coat of paint!
The staircase painting process only took a few hours on a Saturday afternoon and a few more hours on Sunday afternoon…but then I had to also paint the upstairs landing where all the bedroom doors are, and that made the dirty, worn, used-to-be-white trim look terrible, so of course I pulled the white paint back out and painted the trim…which then made the doors look terrible and yellow, so I had to paint them, too (if you give a mouse a cookie…) so it turned in to quite a process (and while I was at it, I took our closet door off its hinges, painted it, and spray painted the hinges and knob, too, but that’s another story for another day).
4. Sand and Stain Handrail; Spray Paint Hardware
|All set up for sanding|
It turns out, Christmas tree stands are good for more than holding up trees once per year!
|The Christmas tree stand was still hanging out in the garage, and it was perfect for holding the handrail in place.|
|Gotta hate it when your power tools fall apart in the middle of a project.
We had to order replacement pieces, which took several weeks to arrive.
|Sanding down the areas that didn’t take the stain initially, then re-staining, allowed me to get even coverage.|
After it was evenly stained, I added two coats of Polycrylic and allowed it to sit for a day to dry thoroughly before reattaching it to the wall.
The last trace of maple/oak is long gone! Upon entering our house now, visitors are greeted by this pretty staircase.
And upstairs, things look even better! Even coverage on the walls, no more drips on the baby gate, and freshly painted doors and trim.
If you notice that the doorknobs are missing – you’re right! I’m in the process of spray painting them brushed nickel.
Thanks for sticking with me! This post, like the project itself, is a long one. Later this week, I’ll be sharing my DIY curtain rods – they look great and were very inexpensive compared to the store-bought variety.