Recently while I was on vacation, I took advantage of our time out of the house and had the carpet ripped up in the back staircase and hallway, as well as had the wood floors in those spaces refinished and the walls refreshed with paint. Redoing those stairs has been on my to-do list for a while, mostly because of the stains on the carpet. The staircase is off of my laundry/mud room, which, with 3 young children, is a space I visit often! The laundry/mud room is sandwiched between the two home entrances primarily used by my family–so needless to say, a lot of storage in this high traffic area is a necessity. While we did a big renovation a couple of years ago, which included not only our kitchen and family room, but also this designated laundry/mud room, one oversight was not planning enough storage space for growing children and all the stuff that accompanies them. We do have a coat closet and some cubbies in that space, but it’s not nearly enough.
I’ve often resorted to stashing laundry baskets and backpacks and such in that back staircase to get them out of the way, but in an attempt to keep things better organized, I have plans to design a little makeshift closet in that underutilized staircase by hanging some hooks for jackets and backpack storage. But if I am going to open the door to that staircase every day, that yucky stained tan carpet couldn’t stay–it had seen better days, and I had also definitely seen enough of it, so I wanted it gone!
Well, I’ve learned things don’t always go as planned in these incredibly charming–but sometimes challenging–older homes! I was relaxing on the beach, covered in sand, chasing my three little ones around, when my floor sanding guy texted me that he had encountered a problem. He discovered that the wood floor under the carpet was made from pine, not oak. Though pine is not uncommon, it was not what we had assumed would be there. That in itself wasn’t a big deal–but the bad news was there was a stain on the wood from an old carpet pad that was not removable, even with sanding.
There was no simple solution except to put in new wood (no!) or put in a new carpet (no!). Nothing against carpets, but I really didn’t want to put in new wall-to-wall carpet or a runner, as I had been so looking forward to a clean back stairway area sans that dusty old carpet. A carpet just wasn’t part of my vision for the space! In addition, adding carpet and runners can get pricey. Hmmm…now I had to figure out how to proceed.
Side note: my daughter is a very easy going two-year-old, and with little parental intervention, basically potty trained herself. We did show her the blockbuster major motion picture Potty Power a few times prior to that accomplishment…so I guess we can take a tiny bit of credit for being partially influential in her potty training success??? If you haven’t seen this acclaimed film, there is a catchy little jingle: “I can do it myself! I have potty power!” Well, you may think I’m losing my marbles talking about the potty and singing jingles, but I do have a point. When I was standing there wondering what to do about the stained back stairway floors, that jingle was suddenly stuck in my head. “I can do it myself! I have potty power! I can do it myself! I have potty power! I can do it myself, I have….WAIT! PAINT POWER!” What if I painted over the stain on the stairs with a funky color or pattern? But before I get to that, I want to share a little more about how my past experiences being creative with paint also inspired me to come to this conclusion.
I love using paint in fun and unexpected ways. We have an attached garage with an entrance that leads directly into the laundry/mud room–so needless to say, my lazy self parks my bus and crew in the garage and we enter here all the time now, as it’s the most direct way into the house (which is a priority when you’re lugging groceries for a family of five). While it might not occur to many people to think about the color of the door leading from the garage, which is only visible from the interior of the garage, I chose to have it painted this teal color, which matches the other exterior doors. This is how I enter the house every day, and using paint in this way really livens up the messy ugly interior of the garage and makes for a more welcoming entrance. If you have an entrance from an attached garage, try painting it a fun color–it will make you smile when you come home!
Another example is my dining room floor. When this old house has given us lemons, we have always made some fine lemonade, with a little creativity and a lot of paint (no paint in the lemonade though–that would be gross)! When we moved in, our dining room floor was stained from an old rug. We didn’t realize the floor in this room needed work until the furniture and rug were gone and the key was ours. We also had not planned on sanding the floors, as we had a baby due any day, and I didn’t want to be exposed to the dust and fumes. So I decided to get creative with paint instead. I was inspired by my mother-in-law’s painted kitchen floors (sorry for the iPhone photos…Lisa doesn’t travel with me to photograph my in-laws’ nest…yet!). The painted floors are very worn in a good way, resulting in a cool patina which gives vintage style to this antique country home.
Since I didn’t want to put a rug under the dining room table (a source of stress for families with messy-eating small children), Drew and I decided to paint a square checkerboard pattern in a space approximately the size of the discoloration from the old rug. It was totally brilliant, but it was also a labor of love. This was five years ago when Pinterest wasn’t as big, so I think my hubby watched a tutorial on the computer–but mostly he just planned it out and took on this highly detailed and labor-intensive project step by step. In the meantime, I gave birth to a baby boy, and could only help minimally when I wasn’t napping myself. But it was worth it–the finished product is fabulous and unexpected, and we get compliments on it all the time. This is the kind of different, fun, and creative touch that makes my nest unique and full of personality!
We both love how cool the dining room floor transformation came out with paint power! However, this time around there is no way I’m asking Drew to help with the stairs. In fact, he has explicitly said that, now knowing how difficult a project it is, he would not paint the dining room floor this way again (but don’t let that discourage you if you want to give it a go in your home!!!). Come on honey, look how pretty it turned out! But I won’t push my luck.
Anyway, the back stairway is dark and rarely used, leading up to a spare bedroom (several posts on the redo of that room coming very soon!), so I would really like to brighten it up and refresh the space, and make it a pleasant entrance for guests walking up to the spare bedroom.
I’m not going to let this little wood stain hiccup foil my plans to brighten the area and make it fun and functional. But the bigger priority for me now is redoing the spare bedroom–so until I can get to this stairway project, I’m choosing to think of the stained stairs as charming and vintage in a lived-in, well-loved kind of way. But when the time comes to tackle these stairs, this crafty and creative little lady has IDEAS! Below is an image I found that really inspires me.
Source: Painted Therapy
Check out some more of the amazing ideas for painted stairs and floors that I pinned on our Pinterest board, and don’t forget to follow The Brick Nests on Pinterest while you’re there. When I do get restless, which I always do (especially now that the kids are back to school), I’ll have plenty of inspiration and will keep you posted on my progress!
- My nest is not a museum, it is a comfortable, charming, unique, fabulous home with young children. I have high-end custom pieces, vintage tag sale finds, authentic antiques, colorful prints, and basic box store staple furniture. There are many ways to add functional style to your home and I can't wait to share my ideas and inspirations with you!