Hey friends -

I know its been a while but my husband and I have been busy, let me tell ya! We closed on our house on May 20th and we have been non-stop going since then! We have had work trips, personal trips, serving at church, and hosting family to come and see us. We have had some ups and downs with our beloved old fixer upper. I am understanding what people say {aka people on HGTV} when you go through phases of loving your house and then hating your house. Its mostly love until I find tons of mice droppings under appliances, one dead mouse, the pipe under the sink keeps leaking, water leaks through windows, the fireplace is essentially condemned.... did I mention it is a really cool old house though? haha I have to laugh sometimes because I have dreamed of making a home, a true home, for our little family where we can host community & family and just make sweet memories. The last few years I have gotten hooked on HGTV - specifically Rehab Addict & Fixer Upper. I have just dreamed of pouring our love into a house and bringing it back to life. There is something about the old, forgotten about, and unloved that I am drawn too. I will catch myself thinking about over one hundred years of hands turning the door knob to enter the heart of our home, generations of babies born & raised in this home, the conversations had around the crackling of the fireplace, and only if those walls could talk! I am sure there is a lot I wouldn't want to hear but what I wouldn't give to know what it was like in 1910 when the first family spent their life savings to buy this sweet little home.

Two weeks ago my hubby went to Texas to celebrate one of his best friends getting married this weekend, so I decided to tackle a DIY project by myself! Of course Ben was hesitant when I called him to let him know that I wanted to paint our stairs, which also included me buying an electric sander (which I have never used before)! I convinced him I would be fine... This is literally the only DIY project that has gone according to plan thus far. Below are the steps that I followed in updating these stairs. Take them with a grain of salt, I am not expert! I did a lot of googling as well as discussing with my friends at Home Depot, my 2nd home.

1. We had to rip up this awful/nasty/animal hair filled/ugly/just plain gross rug {make shift carpet} off the stairs that lead to the basement. Ben was in town to help me with this part of the project. We identified about 80-100 nails & screws that needed to be pulled out after ripping off the rug, which came up quite easily! I am not sure who installed this sucker but let me just say they must have really enjoyed using power tools to make sure this hideous I mean *fashionable* rug wasn't going anywhere. See for yourself below:

 
Stairs with rug
 

2. I spent hours removing these screws and nails. They were in the weirdest positions, some halfway striped, some wouldn't budge, and some were at awkward angles. Finally - I accomplished removing almost all of the screws and nails {one or two were just a lost cause}. See what I had to work with once the carpet was demo-ed out, I am not quite sure what they were doing but apparently they decided not to paint the middle of the stairs:

 
Stairs minus rug
 

3. My next task was to A. Do my online googling research and then B. go to Home Depot to buy EVERYTHING for this project. My list including the following & some descriptions for those of you who are beginners just like me:

  • Wood Filler - This is used to cover up holes left in wood from screws and nails.
  • Black & Decker Mouse Sander
  • 80 Grit Sandpaper - This coarse grit is for the first go around to get off the larger debris/rough surfaces of the stairs.
  • 120 Grit Sandpaper - This finer grit is for the second go around for surfaces that have been painted previously. In our case we had some of the stair tread that had been painting before and some of the stair tread that had not been painted.
  • Sanding Mask & Protective Eye wear
  • Paint - I used Behr floor paint in a steel grey (I am sure you will notice but I LOVE grey, all shades of it! The majority of our home is grey and that is usually my color of choice.) that has a non-slip technology because let's be honest, that's the last thing we want -- for people to be slipping and falling down these stairs!
  • Paint Brush - This is essential for getting in the crevices and edges.
  • Paint Roller - This is also essential to do the majority of the painting on the tread so that it is not all stripey.
  • Paint Tray
  • Paint Stirrer & Opener
  • Paint Tape - This is so important to use for edging so that you don't get sloppy edges or ruin your baseboards or wall paint.
  • Brown Paper - This is basically brown butcher paper and is really cheap. About $3-$4. I used this at the top and base of the stairs in case I were to drip paint, which I did!

4. When I got home from the Home Depot - I vacuumed the stairs to get rid of all the animal hair and other weird unidentifiable debris {I tried not to look too hard but I definitely think there were dead bugs - my LEAST favorite}. Then I immediately started to fill the holes in the stairs from the screws and nails with the wood filler. The wood filler takes a little while to dry - approximately 15-30 minutes. I purchased the Elmer's brand of wood filler that is purple and then when it is dry it turns white! I loved this because it was so easy to tell when it was dry.

5. After the wood filler was dry - I began the process of sanding the stairs. Don't forget to put on your protective eye wear and sand mask. The dust gets everywhere even if you have the technology that is supposed to suck it back in a little bag. Now logistically this is no easy task because you basically have to be crouched down the whole time & sit on the stairs. My stairwell is very narrow. I went over every crevice and surface with the 80 grit sandpaper first. This took about an hour or so. It is hard to remember because I was just so focused on sanding that I lost track of time. I bought a pack of 5 sandpapers and pretty much used them all.  Then I repeated with 120 grit sandpaper. I totally enjoyed this part of the project. Time flew by for me slash I had no where else to be so I made sure to take my time doing this. This is the foundation on which you are going to paint so don't skimp out on this step. 

6. I vacuumed the stairs again to make sure that all the dust/sanding debris was off the stairs. Then I used Clorox wipes to wipe down all the surfaces on the stairs just to make sure I had a clean surface before painting. I let the stairs dry for about 15-30 minutes.

7. I began the process of taping off the edges and putting up paper on the top and bottom of the stairs to protect the tile & original hardwood floors.

 
Stairs with wood filler
 

8. Finally the FUN part! I LOVE to paint. I must say that I recently got my experience painting by one of my favorite couples, the Gallahers! They are also renovating their 1904 bungalow duplex in Denver, and have given me a ton of wisdom, advice, and practice on how tackling projects in your house. They recently let me help paint their kitchen and t rusted me even though I don't honestly know if I have ever painted a wall before! Since we don't have a basement exit to our house, I read that it is best to paint every other step starting at the top and working your way down so you don't back yourself into a corner, literally. I did the painting over the weekend, since we haven't moved in and I had the flexibility. After the first round of painting it only took about 30 minutes to come back and do the rest of the stairs, as well as, 30 minutes for each of my second coats. I would just got over about 8 am and paint one set of treads, then go back at night and paint the other set of treads, then repeat. Tip from my step-mom I wish I would have known: After you paint you need to remove the tape so that the paint doesn't dry onto the tape and then pull off your hard work! I must admit I learned this the hard way this weekend, when I finally pulled off the tape.

This picture was taken after I did one set of the treads.

This picture was taken after I did one set of the treads.

This picture was taken after one coat of paint. I recommend at least two coats!

This picture was taken after one coat of paint. I recommend at least two coats!

Disclaimer: I am by NO means a qualified professional or have ANY prior experience with these types of projects! I am just documenting the process and the actual steps I took to do a project at our home! I recommend consulting a qualified professional, the Home Depot or local hardware store professional, or looking on more reputable websites for additional information. We all have different homes with different materials and therefore you may run into different hiccups along the way!

Happy DIY-ing. I will share more of our {mis}adventures sometime soon! We are kind of able to laugh about them right now but only time will tell {haha}.

Chelsea
 

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