Home Improvement

Stairway to Heaven…A Staircase Makeover Story

“There’s a lady who’s sure
All that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven
When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for
Oh oh oh oh and she’s buying a stairway to heaven”

Well- maybe the upstairs of this house isn’t quite heaven, but it sure is getting better all the time!

We recently hit the 9 month mark in the house!  As usual, the time is going by quickly, I think we’ve reached another point in the renovation where we’re anxious to really finish some more projects that we’ve started and make the house feel “normal” again.

Like most of the upstairs, the actual staircase itself has also undergone a bit of a cosmetic update.  We started with lots of wallpaper on the staircase walls and some carpet on the stairs as well.

The stairs were definitely the most difficult place to remove the wallpaper due to the height of the ceiling, and my lack of height!

We spent several hours removing the wallpaper on the stairs.  My sister and mom were both big helpers in this area.  Here is an idea of how the staircase looked when we moved in:

Here are some wallpaper removal action shots.

Ok, not an action shot, by my sister’s dog patiently waiting for us to rip down that paper!

This project felt like it took forever and I had obvious trouble reaching the high spots.  Eventually, I buckled down and got to business, determined to get all of the wallpaper I could reach.   I removed all that I could reach and had to ask Jake to finish it off for me.  I’ll never forget the day I was out shopping with a friend and I got a text from Jake that he finished removing the REST of the paper and he removed the nasty carpet off the stairs!!!  I shrieked with joy right in the middle of Hobby Lobby and I was doubly happy when he told me the stair treads were in really nice condition!

As is becoming my tradition, I enlisted the help of my boys to help me spackle the places where the walls were damaged from the wallpaper removal process.  I hope they feel some satisfaction and pride in the transformation of the house.

Once we had the walls nice and smooth, we primed, painted, and replaced the bannister and called this project, “done for now” for a while.  We were tired of this project and happy to move onto installing hardwood flooring upstairs.   However, I eventually got tired of looking at the ragged pieces of carpet still stuck to the stairs in places that were hard to get it off.  When my mom was visiting this past January, she helped me remove the rest of the staples that we missed back in August when we started this project.  We were able to get that last little annoying strip of carpet off too.  Honestly, this little job took us less than twenty minutes.  It was truly one of those “Why did I wait so long to do this?” jobs.

After we completed the staple removal, I decided to paint the risers and balusters white to match the trim upstairs.  The whole staircase felt dark and heavy to me.

I taped off the treads and got to work!

After priming the stair risers with a latex primer, I painted them in semi-gloss white that unfortunately showed every imperfection.  Despite filling in the staple holes with wood filler and caulk, the risers were still in poor shape so I went with a more forgiving eggshell finish in white.  I love the finished product.  The stairs feel like they fit our “farmhouse feel” better now and are such a welcome sight when you come into the front door.


Here’s what the foyer looked like before I took down the paper and painted the front door:

And now:


I’ve still got to finish smoothing some spackle from the tub installation on the ceiling (procrastinating a little) and I cannot wait to paint this ceiling, but we’re making good progress in here!  Have you ever painted stairs and balusters?  Let me know in the comments and have a lovely day!

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