Thursday, July 17, 2014

Conquered, but not completed!

Next on our "conquered, but not completed" list: The cupboard stairs and upstairs' hallway. The problem with being very home-design-D-I-Y-ambitious is that you don't just "paint something" and then it's done. You don't just scrape something and then it's finished. OOOOOOHHHHH NOOOOOO. There always has to be a bunch of "next steps" -- and our staircase and hallway were no exception. 

Things started out looking pretty grim on the stairs-- old vinyl stair treads, (fastidiously installed of course, with glue, tacks, and hate), chipping paint, and lots of wall paper that was peeling faster than you could climb the stairs. Oddly, removing the wallpaper from the stairs was actually the very first thing I did after we bought the house. Maybe it was out of sheer desperation because every project was so huge--- it was something that I could do that would immediately improve things (no more flaking wallpaper getting tracked through the house) and there was a defined amount of space that I was tackling, so it didn't seem quite so overwhelming... 

Can you believe how enthusiastic I look in this photo? 
Little did I know what I'd just gotten myself in to... 

Funnily enough, once the wallpaper was down, we didn't really address the staircase any further for months-- until the past few weeks really. And then suddenly, a fire was lit and I was on a tear! We pulled down the remaining wallpaper in the upstairs' hallway, John and our friend Ty pulled down the crumbling plaster and re-drywalled as needed, we sanded, we painted, we fought and we won! 

Don't be fooled by the seeming charm of this hallway-- look a little closer and you'll realize that the wallpaper is actually the only thing holding the walls in place. And that crack you see near the ceiling on the left side of the hallway? That is where a whole portion of the wall had become completely disconnected from the other portion of hallway. Like literally-- free standing. That is not what is supposed to happen!! 

And this is what it looks like right now... This hallway has actually survived a considerable amount of transformation, but it isn't that obvious... We completely relocated one door way (the one closest in the foreground) and reframed it as well. The walls were re-spackled and re-drywalled, we painted the floors, walls, moldings, and ceiling, and we're still a little "in-process" re. decorating. 

I had an extraordinarily ambitious plan to take a collapsing antique atlas of my dad's and frame all of the maps in cool, assorted gold frames; and then hang them helter-skelter all through the hallway. I am positive this is going to look completely awesome, and I'm so excited to see it into action. I've gotten as far as buying a ton of weird frames, spray painting them gold, buying the supplies to "patina" them following the instructions of my friend Danny who is a preposterously talented frame maker, and I've even bought the matting for most of the frames. Unfortunately-- I ran aground on time, so for the interim, I've hung a couple of the most interesting frames in the hallway, totally solo, and they're standing in as place-holders until I've got a little more free time on my hands. 


So, yeah. There's no saying how soon that project will actually get completed, but I promise I'll keep you apprised of my progress. 

Also still on the to-do list : Finishing the painting of the stairs themselves. I got as far as removing the old treads, shellacking the entire step (You guessed it! Zinsser primer at work again!) painting the stairs white, and then painting a green-grey stair runner up the stairs, but my plan is to finish the runner by adding a chocolate brown border to the left and right sides of the green-grey portion. This will tie nicely into the chocolate brown paint that is now serving as the hallway floor upstairs. Someday, we're aspiring to sand all of this paint down so it looks a gorgeous as the hardwood floors on the first floor, but we're about $2,500.00 or a whole lot of D-I-Y hours away from that happening anytime soon, so I figured a little creative painting would do the trick in the meantime...  

So this is where we stand as of now. A major improvement from where we started, but still a couple of enormously time consuming steps away from being able to proclaim this project, "FINISHED!" 

The story of our lives... 

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