Saturday, September 7, 2013

Stairwell Redo

My basement stairwell was in desperate need of a redo. Because it's mostly hidden from view, I decided to go a little crazy with a black and purple color scheme. After all, you can only see the stairwell when you're standing in or at the top of it. :)

In their "before" state, the stairs were covered in 20-year-old carpet that showed every bit of its age.

The wood trim was an absolute mess. The countless layers of cracked, flaking paint could not hide the rough wood or the knots bleeding through.

With low expectations of what I'd find underneath, I went ahead and ripped up the carpet and padding. I discovered particleboard treads which had managed to collect many dings and dents over the years despite being covered with carpet. The risers were cheap wood. Both treads and risers were filled with staples which, of course, I had to pull out one by one.

The stairs are obviously meant to be covered, but I am not a fan of carpet. I decided that with enough prep work, a paint job would be good enough for rarely used basement stairs. After a lot of wood filling, scraping, sanding and caulking, I ended up with relatively smooth surfaces.

I primed and painted the trim, walls and treads. Though I prefer dark purples, I used a light purple because the stairwell is enclosed and not well lit, especially at the bottom. I like the combo of lilac and black.

It's usually suggested to paint treads in an every-other-stair fashion. That might work for smaller people, but I don't have the contortionist skills necessary to fold up my big body and perch on one step while painting the next step. It was much easier for me to paint the stairs in groups of two or three.

I experimented on the boring slab door, adding a black wood applique and panels of adhesive shelf paper trimmed with black molding.

Finally, I installed a dark walnut-look vinyl plank floor on the top and bottom landings.

For the "up" view, I covered the risers with adhesive shelf paper. (Sorry for the glare...the stairwell is too dark to take a picture without a flash.)

This picture better shows the black and white paper (and my photobombing dog). The paper is only 18" wide, but the print isn't directional, so I was able to cut it off the roll sideways. That way, I avoided having to piece the paper on the 33" risers.

I am very happy to have the last bit of carpet gone from my house. In my mind, 20-year-old carpet can't possibly be clean. The stairwell doesn't feel icky any more, and the stairs are much easier to use. The thick padding and carpet made each tread feel too small/short. The bare treads provide more room for my size 10 feet. :)

Total cost of this project was about $80. I spent $40 on flooring, $5 for a roll of shelf paper and $5 for a gallon of "oops" purple paint. I had primer and black paint on hand. The remaining $30 was spent on trim molding for the door, base molding for the new flooring, and replacement boards for the top plate which had been damaged by carpenter ants at some point in the past.

41 comments:

  1. I am so glad for another post! Lilac isn't my favorite shade (too cool for my tastes) but the before and after pictures brook no comparison. It was a very good choice and looks much better. Well done!

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    1. Thank you! I like warm colors in other people's decor, but for some reason, every time I try to use a warm color in my own house, I regret it. So I always stick with cool colors.

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  2. The violet makes it look a lot brighter than the white! I am not a fan of carpeted stairs. Sure when you are a kid you want to slide down them on a piece of carboard or pool toy or whatever, but that's about it. And that is dangerous anyhow!

    Photobomb dog is awesome!

    I really can't wait 'til I have my own place to Goth and Steampunk up!

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    1. Ha ha, yes, I have memories of sliding down the stairs as a kid.

      It's funny, my dog won't walk on the stairs now that they're not carpeted. So she stood on the throw rug just above the landing and watched me from around the corner. :)

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  3. DOWN WITH CARPET! DOWN WITH CARPET! DOWN WITH CARPET!

    The dog photo bomb is selling it.

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    1. I do not like carpet. I don't like stuff that I can't scrub with soap and water or put in the washing machine.

      Isn't she cute!? :)

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  4. Lovely, it could be a staircase directly from a Tim Burton Movie! I totally expect some creepy creature to open the door... ^^

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    1. Thanks! I've seen a few creepy spiders in the basement... but I sure hope none of them is big enough to open the door! If so, I'm outta here! ;)

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  5. The lilac makes it look like a gothy Easter egg!

    Hey, I also have size 10 feet, and I'm a couple inches shorter than you are. At least yours are proportional!

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    1. I'm not typically a fan of pastels, but I thought lilac would be more fun than white in this case.

      Yeah, my feet are proportional to my height. It's not so much that my feet are too big, but that the treads seemed too small. Going down the steps, the front 1/3 of my foot (the part I balance on!) hung off the tread. Makes me wonder how men manage it with their much larger feet...

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  6. Lovely! :) This post really wants me to start gothing up my own apartment.

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  7. Amazing work! Staircase looks like a fun place to be rather than an old basement staircase. I am wondering how long can the purple paint hold on wooden stairs? Won't you be stepping on them from time to time, and won't the paint scratch away? Just out of curiosity :)

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    1. Thanks! I'm sure the paint will eventually wear away, especially since it's just regular interior wall paint, not the more durable deck/porch paint. But I only use the stairs once or twice a month, so hopefully I won't need to repaint for a while.

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  8. Great look! I love how much brighter and more lively it looks. :)

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    1. Thanks! I used to call it the Staircase O' Doom... now it's more the Purple Passageway.

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  9. At first I didn't get what you meant about painting every other stair. I thought, "Why would you have to do that?" But then I realized that I've only ever painted stairs from the third floor down to the second, and the second down to the main. I always had an exit after painting from the top down! That totally would have been me in the basement, waiting for the paint to dry for two days. :P

    It looks great, Bane! I've been pinning pictures of stairs with old wallpaper on the risers - different papers on each stair. It really adds some interest, doesn't it? :o)

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    1. Ha ha... yes, I meant painting the stairs in a way that allowed them to remain usable while they were drying.

      Thank you! I have a collection of several different black-and-white print papers, and I originally planned to use those on the risers. Alas, piecing the 12" papers across the 33" risers didn't look good. I do want to change out the shelf paper for wallpaper(s) at some future time... like when I'm employed and have an income again. ;)

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  10. I love this, very fab! It looks a hundred times better than the carpet and it's so fun and cheery!

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  11. This is awesome!!! I LOVE the colors, the patterns, the dog... everything!! And there is NOTHING "oops" about that paint color, it's perfectly lovely; I'm just glad someone else thought it was "oops", so you could get it for cheap. :-)

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    1. Thanks so much! I always check the "oops" paint when I'm in a home improvement store. 90% of the time, it's some horrific shade of mutated brown or toxic beige... but once in a while, there's a treasure. :D

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  12. Looks great! Very fun. The stairs seem like their own little magic world now.

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  13. It looks great!! I love the idea with the pattern on the risers. Those old carpets are so tacky. We removed one in our stair last year, god it smelled.

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    1. Thank you! Pulling up carpet and seeing what's under it will forever change your view of carpet. So much ick under there! :P

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  14. I love the colour! That's the colour my mum wants her bedroom, that or lemon yellow, I want deep jewel purple for mine but decorating is a cost we can't afford at the moment. We did the hallway a while ago because it did look awful where the council replaced the intercom. It was magnolia and is now spring green with lilac woodwork :D we like purple and lilac in this house XD

    I know what you mean about stairs and big feet, I'm a US 11. My dentist is the worst, I have to go upstairs and it's an old converted cottage and the stairs are really narrow and rickety, I never feel safe going up and down.

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    1. Thank you! I like the combo of spring green and lilac. In my former apartment, I was only allowed to paint the walls light colors, so I chose spring green for the bathroom and a pale purple for the bedroom. :)

      The steps outside my front door are a death trap. They're so narrow, you're practically guaranteed to trip and fall onto the concrete. I never use them because I park in my garage; still, I want to replace them with a safer porch eventually.

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  15. Those are the coolest stairs I've ever seen!

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  16. Well this is blooming brilliant!!!

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  17. I'm totally amazed at the work you do! I loooooove your stairwell. Beautiful.

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