What Goes Up, Must Fall Down (DIY Stair Runner)

The stairs.

Those things are the bane of my existence, I tell ya.  It’s been like putting lipstick on a pig.  And not fancy MAC lipstick, either.  More like iridescent, pink Wet N’ Wild that’s been sitting in a makeup drawer for thirteen years. 

It’s been bad.

But lately, I’ve run into a non-cosmetic issue with those darn things.  The kids keep falling down ’em.
I asked Jack to re-enact his latest tumble:

He was all too happy to demonstrate.  Love that kid.

I’ve been fighting putting carpet on the stairs since we got them.  I’ve been convinced I could refinish them and make them awesome.  It’s not working.  They look bad.  Real bad.  There are gaps everywhere and cracks in them.  And apparently, they’re slippery.  I only put two coats of satin polycrylic on them after I stained them with the hopes that they wouldn’t be too slick.  And they’re not really all that slick, but for a 4 and 6-year-old wearing socks while chasing each other down the stairs, they spell D-A-N-G-E-R, Will Robinson.

So, I got to work.

I saw this runner makeover over at Little Green Notebook and used it as my inspiration.  I love the lines and color of this little rug from Ikea:

Ikea ‘Soften’ rug

I picked up four rugs during a recent trip to Ikea and jumped right in.

That wayward staple was removed.  Don’t you worry.

I worked my way down, doing my best to stretch the carpet around the edge of the tread and staple it just underneath.  I found that if I stapled it on the white stripe, it was nearly invisible.

Don’t do this.

Do this instead.

And at the end of the day, I was left with this:

Crazy, right?  Let’s take a moment and go back in time (a few months ago) and look at what I started with:

And with the magic of the internets, I have this:

I took this photo while I was waiting for the paint to dry on the trim piece
 I placed at the bottom of the stairs to cover the end of the stair runner.

I especially love how the stripes look from this angle:

I still need to finish the trim paint on the faux stair skirt, and add a couple bits of trim, but those stairs have sure come a long way, baby.  I have no idea how the carpeting is going to wear.  And seriously, what was I thinking putting dark, charcoal fabric on stairs while we’re still under construction?  They show every speck of dust.  But I’m still very, very happy with the end result.  I’ll report back over the next few months and throw out an update.

Linking up to:

TDC Before and After

Kitchen Eye Candy

I’m still illin’, but the kitchen reno is creeping closer and closer and I can’t stop thinking about it.  Wanna see some kitchens I like?  I know you do…..  Let’s discuss.

First up is this beauty:

See that ‘X’ detail on the end of that pretty island?  I’ll be doing something similar on the ends of both of my peninsulas.  I’m sure I’ll get annoyed with the dust that collects in the deep, little grooves, but I’ll take my chances.  I don’t know how I feel about the hanging glass pendants or the light flooring.  I’m carrying the dark flooring from the rest of the house through the kitchen and need to keep that in mind when I’m choosing my counters and base cabinet color.

That’s right base cabinet color.

I’m a sucker for darker base cabinets in the kitchen and one of the kitchens that I’m loving HARD is this one:

Can you believe that gorgeous grey on those cabinets?  The finish is unbelievable (check out her blog, she talks about the paint used when she had them sprayed) and the color really does blow my mind.  Again, light flooring, and I desperately want to know if my darker flooring would marry well with that amazing color without seeming too bottom-heavy.

I lovelovelove her kitchen, so let’s take a look at a couple more views:

The silver handles look great with the darker tone and the subway tiles are such a cost-effective way to create a classically beautiful backdrop for the walls.

Now, since I’m all bananas about my dark floor, let’s take a peek at what a dark floor does for a kitchen.

The darker floor really anchors the room and it seems like lighter cabinetry for the base cabs keeps the room feeling spacious.

With the photo above, the darker floors seem to blend in with the dark island, but the surrounding cabinetry stays light.  This definitely helps to expand the room around the center island.

I don’t know.  Any thoughts on a dark floor with semi-dark lower cabinets?  I might have to do some test painting to see how the combination works.

I have a sniffly six-year-old waiting for me in the other room, so I’ll leave you with this gorgeous backsplash image:

I know, right?  The unfinished trim/tile near the window is making my eye twitch a little but isn’t the tile itself pretty?  I have the overwhelming urge to pet it.

A Little Bit Of Column A (Before and After)

It’s like I’m having a contest with myself to see how long I can go without posting.

I win.

I’m dealing with a gross cold so this post is coming to you whilst inebriated with NyQuil.  Lots and lots of NyQuil.  I’m dead serious.  I’ve only gotten off of the couch about eight times today.  Most of which was to crawl about ten feet over to the landing in an effort to finish staining and poly-ing the stairs.

I’ll try to make up for the last few weeks with one obnoxiously long post.  You’re welcome.

One of the biggest and ugliest challenges with this whole-house reno has been the dreaded posts at the base of the stairs.

It’s beautiful, right?  Don’t you want one, too?  The scary-ish thing about these posts is that they’re primarily responsible for keeping the second floor on the second floor.  It still boggles my mind that a handful of 2×4’s can transfer that much weight.  Sure, there are other points within the house that help to transfer weight from the giant yellow LVL beams, but they’re hidden and I don’t see them every single day.

I knew I wanted to create stately, dramatic columns, but frankly, I’ve never really done it before.  I’ve played with moldings and trim to come up with some pretty profiles before, but this was new territory for me.  I pinned my heart out with images of columns and bases to get my brainz wrapped around how I was going to tackle them, but I was considerably freaked-out at this project and I let it sit.  Until just a couple weeks ago. That’s almost five months.  Five months of yelling “Don’t touch the posts!!! You’ll get a splinter!!!” every time the boys hung onto them like a firepole.

Enough was enough and it was time to just dive the heck in.  But there was one step that needed to be completed before I could start:  I needed to address the landing issue and the lack of flooring on said landing.

We were originally planning on carpeting the stairs and landing but I nixed that idea mid-stream, leaving me with a REALLY rough starting point.  I didn’t want to lay the floating flooring down that I was doing on the rest of the house because I thought it would clash with the steps going up and look ridiculous.  I thought about just painting the plywood and calling it a day (“You’re a DAY!”) but I knew that would look cheapo.  So, I came up with a plan to lay some faux painted plank flooring.  Although, I don’t know if it’s really faux.  It’s wood.  It’s cut in planks.  It’s painted.  It’s faux sho’ on the floor.  So, technically, it’s the real deal.  Right?

John ripped a sheet of 1/8th-inch plywood down to four-inch strips and I got to work gluing and nailing them down on the landing.

I used two dimes at either end for spacing because I wanted to keep a visible seam after I painted.  I also added a piece of 1×2 mdf on either side of the landing as a sort of bullnose to mimic the profile of the steps.

And then I got to painting.

I like the idea of possibly doing a decorative paint treatment on the landing, but the rustic charm of the plank floor looks pretty sweet as-is.

Back to the columns.  Did you forget about them?  Are you still with me?  …tap, tap, tap….  Is this thing on?

Now that the landing had flooring, I could get started on those damn posts.  I started by sitting down and staring at them.  For a long, long time.  Then I dug through my mdf scraps and got to work putting together my column puzzle.

Creepy, blue tint courtesy of my awesome camera skillz

And in the almost-end, I have this:

I added a funky ‘X’ detail to the outsides of each column.
They’ll tie in with another project I have in mind for the kitchen.

I still have a few bits of finish work to do before I call the landing complete:

  • Caulk, caulk, caulk and add a final coat of paint
  • Finish the risers for the bottom stairs
  • Add a coat of poly to the landing
  • Finish the trim for the outside of the landing
  • Change out the almond-colored receptacle for a white one
I’ll do a ‘final reveal’ post soon with all of the finishing touches once I get over this stinkin’ cold and muster the strength to get off of the couch and actually do the items on the above list.  For now, I’ll just stare at all of the hard work that’s finally behind me.

(Linking up to YHL’s fantastically awesome ‘Pinterest Challenge’!)

Another One Bites The Dust – Part I (Before And After)

The dust is still settling on my most recent project.

In an effort to officially occupy Wall Street my house, one of the town’s parameters is that my addition/renovation meet certain criteria.  One of those criteria is that the flooring be impermeable to water.  ‘Impermeable to water’ can count as carpet, tile, sealed wood flooring, paint, etc.  Pretty much any flooring you can think of is acceptable.

I’ve been staring at a carpeting swatch for the upstairs hallway for a couple (or maybe it’s been a few) months now knowing that we’ve budgeted to order it in the spring.

But I got a little antsy this morning.  Shocker.

It started with filling the gigantic cracks and knot holes with several types of filler.

Why several types?  Because I had an assortment available to me and I was just runnin’ through ’em.  I started with wood filler, moved on to a larger gap filler (keep your mind out of the gutter), then finished up with a plain old spackle compound.  My goal wasn’t to do a perfectbeautifulawesome job.  It was to cover the damn floor because guess what?  It sucks getting splinters in the middle of the night.  For realz.

And then, while I waited for the the fillers and spackles to dry, I did the unthinkable.

I went on Pinterest.

And searched ‘painted floor’.

The heavens opened up.  Unicorns sprung from rainbows.  Fairies sprinkled glitter all over the land.

Okay, can you believe the yellow and white flowers?  Seriously.  Seriously.

Remember how I said it wasn’t going to be perfectbeautifulawesome?  Oh, it was on now.

But, like all good things, everything has to happen in steps.  I’m learning every day that awesomeness comes in layers.  I immediately regretted my first two layers.  I wish I would have spent more time filling in all the gaps and cracks a little better,  But, I didn’t.  I wish I used a better first coat of paint.  But, I didn’t.

Moving on.

I took my trusty palm sander and 100 grit sandpaper and got to work.

I went over every inch of the hallway and the haze proves it.

I swept things up, ran the vacuum and got ready to be locked out of the hallway for a couple hours.

{Hey, don’t mind that bookcase.  Pretend you don’t see it.  I planned on writing about how we built it later this week.  Act surprised when I show you.}

After one coat of paint, this is what I have to work with:

I’m undecided with the design that I want to paint on the floor. It’s like a giant, blank canvas.  By town code, it officially satisfies the occupancy guidelines, but now it’s time to take it up a level. Thoughts?  What would you do?  It’s definitely an upgrade from it’s previous life:

What’s left to do in the hallway:

  • Hang guest bedroom door
  • Hang bathroom door
  • Paint all doors
  • Finish installing baseboards and trim
  • Paint a spectacular pattern on the floor
  • Hang additional artwork
  • Figure out what to do with the awkward nook on the other side of the column
What about you?  Have you ever painted a floor?  Any success or horror stories?

If You Build It, They Will Use It (Before and After)

Let’s talk about big bangs for your bucks today, shall we?  Would you believe me if I told you that this built-in bookcase cost less than $50 to build and only took me an afternoon?

Well, believe it!  Let me break it on down for you.  Here’s what I started with:

This is the wall separating the dining room from the Florida room sunroom family room.  Prior to demolition/renovation, there was a window on this wall.  In an attempt to open the spaces up a bit more, I chose to turn this wall into a half wall and planned on making a ledge or counter along the opening.  I liked the idea of a display space between the two rooms.

But it still felt a little too dinky as a ledge.  It needed more girth, I tell ya.  When you enter our house from the garage (which is the main way we enter), this wall is the first thing you see and I wanted it to be a little more inviting than just a half-wall with a 5-inch ledge perched on top.  And that’s how the bookcase idea was born.

Using the existing wall as the back of my bookcase, I cut 5 boards and drilled three pocket holes in each with my Kreg Jig.  I also attached horizontal front stabilizers to support the vertical boards and keep them from moving around while building.  I left the pocket holes exposed on the front for two reasons: 1. It’s way easier to drill from the front 2. I was going to wrap the bottom in trim at the end and would be hiding this part anyway.

The wall that I was drilling them into was drywall affixed to a solid cedar wall, therefore, I didn’t have to look for studs when drilling.  Bonus.

I cut four boards and popped them into the bottoms of each shelf section using quarter round molding glued and nailed in place, then added the bottom skirt of trim around the entire unit.  Once I got the bottom shelves in place, I figured it would be a good time to paint the inside because man, I hate painting individual shelves.

Here’s where the picture-taking got a little sketchy.  Using a level and tape measure, I carefully marked off where to put the quarter-round molding pieces, added a bit of glue to each piece and nailed them on.  I didn’t want the shelves to be identical in height, but I knew that I wanted the bottom to be taller to accomodate larger items, baskets, books, etc.
Once all the boards were in place, I attached the 1×2 bullnose pieces to the front with the nailgun.  This creates a much thicker profile from the front with the added bonus of providing strength to the span of each shelf.

I added a coat of paint to each shelf (Behr’s Polar Bear in semi-gloss) and while that dried, I cut the top of my bookshelf in the garage.

I used a half-inch-thick piece of plywood (not sure if it’s birch or beech) that I already had on-hand.  I used clamps, a straightedge and a circular saw to cut the top.  Then, to add the notches at the corners, I measured and marked off my cut lines and went to work with the jigsaw.

I added another bullnose around the perimeter of the counter, slapped on a coat of stain and about 5-6 coats of polycrylic later, I had a sleek countertop.

And that was it!  An afternoon of building and painting and I have a functional piece of built-in furniture.   The polycrylic applications were spread out over a couple days, but the building and painting only took a few hours.

Now I just have to fill it up with STUFF.  Once I get it styled all pretty, I’ll snap a couple more pics and share them.

What about you?  Ready to break out your toolbag and tackle a bookcase?  Or are you ready to hire someone to do it for you?

Welcome To Florida, Eh.

We live in Canada.

We have a Florida room.  
Well, I guess I should say that we *had* a Florida room.  I really don’t know what it’s called now.  Sunroom?  Family room?  All-purpose room?
Way back in July, we had a normal three-season Florida room.  It was cold as ice (ice cold!) in the winter and hothothot in the dead of summer, but spring and fall were pretty nice.  I had a really hard time with decor in that room.  The entire thing was clad in brown, stained cedar.  It was dark.  A little dungeon-y.
So I cracked that bad boy wide open.
Almost looks like it could be a tropical bistro.  Just set up a couple tables and add some handsome waiters.

I had the floor raised about 4 inches so that it would be the same height as the house, rebuilt the walls, put in new windows and a set of double french doors.

And then I realized that I made a mistake.
A *big* one.
Here’s the thing:  when I ordered my windows for the room, I wanted a crank-out, top-opening window so that the bottom part of the window would offer an unobstructed view of the water.  Sounds awesome, right? The cool thing about this meant that even during rain, I could keep the windows open without too much worry.  Easy, breezy, beautiful.
Then they got installed.
And I cried a little. (a lot)
I didn’t calculate that the floor was going to be raised 4 inches when I ordered the windows. Now, a couple of you might be saying, “Hey, silly girl, you could have asked them to install the windows a few inches higher.”  And to you, I say, “Nice try.”  The space at the top of the window is completely taken up as the header, so no dice on moving it.
When I stand in front of the window, the divider between the top and bottom part is right. smack. dab. in front of my eyes.
Sad face, y’all.  
But!  But!  But!  See that chair right there?  That was my saving grace.  It kept me sane.
If you sit in the chair, the view is p-e-r-f-e-c-t.  And, since this room is going to be the family room with a nice, relaxing seating area, you’ll almost always be sitting and enjoying the view.  BOOM.  
Whenever someone came over and walked through the sunroom family room Florida room, I ordered them to sit in the chair and tell me how great the view was.
But it was still dark, guys.  Still depressing.  Oppressive.
And so I took a little look-see at some of the photos of rooms that made me happy:

(via)

(via)
One thing connected them all.  Beautiful, painted wood ceilings.
So, we busted out the paint sprayer and got bizzy, yo.
It’s SOOOOO much easier to paint a room when you’re not freaking out about the floors.  I got started on the board and batten walls prior to laying the floor.
Getting better….

I did the top of the walls in the same color as the rest of the house.  This room can be viewed from just about every other room in the house and I wanted to keep a sense of continuity with the design and colors.

Then it was time to get down on bended knee and lay some flooring.

I’ll do a separate post on the flooring sometime soon.  I’ve got lots of opinions on this particular style of flooring and it’ll need its own soapbox.
Once the flooring was done, it was time to take a little break and celebrate for a minute.
I think the paint and flooring, even though it’s dark, really added a lightness to the room.  I love it.  Like, lovelovelove it. This photo was take just after Christmas.  I’ve since added the actual board and batten, my office, some built-ins, draperies, and a laundry room. I can’t wait to share the rest of the room’s details over the next week.  Tomorrow, we’ll talk about making easy built-in shelves.  Get your tools ready!

She’s A Brick……Wall (Before and After)

So the fireplace mantel was looking……. a little washy.  Matchy-matchy with them there walls.  And the concrete nothingness was even more apparent.

So, I grabbed some paint.  And I done painted.  And a somewhat magical thing happened.
(brick is Glidden’s Unicorn White – the walls are Glidden’s Shadowbox)

The old concrete voids just kinda…..disappeared.  Prior to painting, I was stressin’ about how the heck I was going to make fake, little brick façades.  I was scheming to use some 1/4 inch mdf, beat them up a little and then adhere them to the wall.  But you know what?  Not on my radar right now.  Painting out the wall really helped to shorten my ‘to-do-now-because-it’s-driving-me-nuts’ list.  And that, friends, is a good thing.

However.
Can we just say b-o-r-i-n-g?  That’s the most neutral wall in the history of neutral walls.  I could feel the above-mentioned list lengthening.
Every time I sat down on the sofa, I looked at that wall and thought ‘it needs something — some contrast’.
And then John and I got the flu.
So I had to stare at that wall a little longer.  I couldn’t move.  I was so tired and miserable and gross.  But my DIY blood is thicker than influenza.  I don’t know if that makes sense.  I marched out to the garage (in my pajamas – in the middle of the day), grabbed my trusty Kreg Jig and got jiggy wit’ it.
(“You got a – Prada – bag with a lotta – stuff in it – give it to your friend – let’s spin”)

While I was in the garage, I grabbed my Kreg, a bigass mirror and some pine 1×5 boards and got to work.  In between coughing fits.
Here’s my Kreg that John jigged up for me.  Get it?  Jigged?  Forget it…..  
The writing on there says,
“Make me something pretty.  Love, John”
I mitered the boards and then drilled pocket holes on two of them.  A small bead of glue and some 1.5″ Kreg screws later, I had a simple frame.
I carefully laid the mirror face-down and added some mirror clips.

One I screwed all the clips in, I said a prayer and turned the giant behemoth of a mirror over.
Whew.  That was hard.  Now it was time to get to the ‘contrast’ part of this project.  I taped off the mirror and applied one coat of Minwax’s Dark Walnut stain.  
It’s like a little miracle in a little can.
A couple things to note:  

1. Wear gloves.  This stuff is stain.  It will stain everything it touches.  Including your hands.  And you’ll look like you have a strange case of reverse-vitiligo when you pick your kids up from the bus stop.  

Ask me how I know.  Dammit. 
2.  Crack a window, would ya?  Ventilation is a must with this product.  Whenever I stain something, John *always* walks in the door and says, “It smells like death in here.”  It never fails.
After a single coat, the mirror looked like this:
Now, had I not been sick, I might have remembered to stain the back of the mirror first.  Why?  When you put a frame up against a mirror, a small amount of the back side of the board reflects into the mirror.  I forgot to do this, even though I know better.  To get around it, I had to drip gobs of stain along the edges of the mirror in an effort to get the back of the board to soak it up and not reflect the light wood color.  It worked in most spots.  
Once finished with the stain, I did *not* let the stain dry fully and just slapped a couple thin coats of polycrylic on that bad boy.  You’re supposed to let the stain dry fully.  Mama don’t got that kinda patience.
Once the polycrylic was barely dry to the touch, I whipped it up on the mantel and reclaimed my place on the couch to continue being flu-ridden.  This time, with a much nicer view.

Now, I’m itchin’ to put some art up on the wall to the right of the mirror.  Maybe some subway prints?

TDC Before and After

Come On Baby, Light My Fire. Place.

Let’s keep this show moving and get to the rest of the living room, shall we?  One of the walls that had me scratching my head was the fireplace wall.  As you can see in this terrible photo, we had these awesomesauce concrete floating shelf things that jutted out of the wall at what appeared to be random spots.

I’m sure they *weren’t* random and that they were lovingly and carefully crafted by someone in the 50’s or 60’s, but I just didn’t appreciate them.  Most importantly, they interfered with my master plan.  Everyone knows you don’t mess with that.  So they had to go.

My builder worked his magic (which was also his hammer and chisel) and knocked off the slabs-o-awkward and this is what I was left with.  I was originally thinking that I would re-tile the wall in some crazy, dramatic stone or maybe even just drywall over it and start with a nice, blank slate.

But then I changed my mind.  Strange.

So, I decided to keep the brick, but now I was fixated on a proper mantel.  I think it was like three weeks away from Christmas in this photo and I was scheming.  Scheming of a way to get those stockings hung by the chimney with care.

But the scheming was taking a little while.  I made everyone live with the crazy mantel chalk outline of death for a little longer while I wrapped my head around how I was going to do this.

The tape stayed up longer than I’m actually going to admit.

I started by looking for some inspiration.  I pinned many a pin.  I tore out magazine pages.  I scoured and studied as many tutorials as I could get my hands on.  I was on a mission, y’all.

I was also on a mission to not spend ANY money out of pocket.  I knew I had a bunch of supplies and yes, it would be WAY harder to customize the mantel according to what I had on hand, but I knew it would feel good to know that I didn’t break the bank trying to make my vision materialize.

So I dove right in.

I like to think that my little team of nutcrackers were cheering me on.

Using my fancy, high-tech tape outline, I was able to gauge the maximum height that I wanted the finished product to be.  Sometimes I lose sight of the overall project dimensions and end up with craycray proportions.  I really didn’t want that to happen with what would probably be the focal point of the room.

I started by adhering 2×2 pieces to the brick using a masonry adhesive.  They were going to act as my cleats and allow me to attach my mdf frame around the fireplace with my 18 gauge nail gun.

Then I had to cut the crown.

And the world went dark for a couple hours.

I could NOT, for the life of me, get this stupid crown to meet up properly.  I was reusing some crown that was used in our old bedroom before we tore the ceiling down and I went through a LOT of scrap.   I eventually got it to meet up close enough at the corners and just sanded  the bejeezus out of it.  It’s not terribly noticeable in person and if anyone walks up to it and points it out, I’m going to hand them a cookie and kick them out of my house.  You’ve been warned.

Once I got the frame worked out, it looked a little plain, so I found some mahogany shim scraps that the drywall guy used to square up the walls prior to boarding.  I mitered the corners and glued them on to the face.

Then it was time to slap some paint up on this old new girl.

Pretty neato, if I do say so myself.  But there were some nagging issues:

She needed to get the old Dap treatment.  Oh, the sins that are hidden in my home because of this stuff…

Check out the after:

Smooth as a baby’s bottom.  What’s that?  You don’t believe me and want a closer look?

Perfect-o.

One more look?  Two?

About a week after I finished, I was looking through some of the inspiration photos I had filed before I started and came across this:

I pretty much NAILED my inspiration photo and I wasn’t even using it as guide.  Crazy.

When all was said and done, the white mantel looked a little washed out against the white brick wall.

Stay tuned for my next post to see how I remedied that situation *and* managed to do some camouflaging with the old floating shelves.  Oh, the suspense!

I Can See Clearly Now, The Wall Is Gone. (Before & After)

Let’s get to some fun stuff, shall we?  Renovating the first floor involved ripping off our living room ceiling and installing a bajillion (okay, eight) recessed lights.

Having never lived anywhere that had recessed lighting, I LOVED the upgrade.  I couldn’t wait to get the ceiling drywalled and painted and install the trim kits for the lighting and and and….  But then our drywaller (is that a word?  Drywall technician?) said, “Yo, I ain’t drywallin’ this joint unless you tear down the walls and I get to drywall them, too.”  Okay, he didn’t say it exactly like that, but it was close.  And when he said that, I looked at him like this:

(via)

 Here’s the deal, when we rebuilt the ceiling/added the second floor joists, an almost two inch gap was left along the top edge of the wall.

This would mean that when we put the drywall up on the ceiling, we’d have no other choice than to add crown molding to the room to cover up the space where the wall and ceiling wouldn’t meet.  I wouldn’t say that I was opposed to it.  I love crown molding.  I hate installing the stuff, but I love it nonetheless.  In the end, we decided to just rip the damn drywall off the walls and get the entire room re-drywalled along with the ceiling.  It ended up being cheaper this way if you factor in the cost of a nice, chunky crown trim, the time it would take me to install the molding, as well as the added expense of placing me into a mental institution because oh my God why can’t I ever get those stupid angles right with crown molding???!!!!

Ahem.  Excuse me.

So, down with oppression!  Down with the existing drywall!

A strange thing happened when we tore the drywall down.  I could see the new staircase!  And I didn’t want to cover it back up!  You can’t make me!  This my house!

We I opted to leave that wall open because I had visions of little feet padding down the stairs on Christmas morning, getting a glimpse of their gifts under the tree.  I was gonna yank out those 2x4s by the stairs and I thought a pretty railing would be the cat’s meow and that it would bring a little more interest to that side of the room.

Then the inspector shot my ideas down like Paula Abdul’s cold-hearted snake.  Apparently he was all concerned with the “structural integrity” of my house.  He told me I couldn’t cut out the studs.  And I looked at him like this:

Psht.  What does he know?

Turns out, a lot.

The second floor’s support beam rests on those very 2x4s.  So, taking them out means I could be seriously compromising our casa.  I was torn.  I knew I wanted to keep it open and fresh and bright, but I had those stupid studs to contend with.  The inspector suggested that I install another, stronger support beam to run across the top of the ceiling in place of the studs.  But by that time, we had already started installing the drywall on the ceiling.  And that would mean ripping down the ceiling, drawing up an addendum to submit to the town for structural approval, paying more $$$ to get a support beam, scheduling the change with the builder……

I said fo-get it.

I told the drywall guy to drywall around the studs.

Oh, yes.  I did.  And he looked at me like this:

And then he hooked a sister up.

And then it sat like this.  F O R E V E R.  I didn’t know what I was going to do or how I was going to figure this hot mess out.

And then I started playing around with some boards and came up with this:

Figuring out those 40-degree angles just about killed me, man.

Living Room Staircase

And this is how it looks today.  I still have to figure out how to get it to pass code.  Town building code requires that the spacings be no more than four inches in width.  It’s that whole baby-head rule.  If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll notice that I’ve been pinning a bunch of staircases to glean some ideas.  I think I have it figured out, so you’ll just have to stay tuned to see what I do.

So, just to recap, this is what I started with:

And this is where I ended up:
Living Room Staircase

Pretty big difference, huh?

TDC Before and After