Monday, August 9, 2010

The staircase is done! (Again.)

Well hello!! I hope you had a GREAT weekend!

I’m starting to get my project mojo back – I’ve been highly unmotivated this summer. Well, unmotivated to do any painting, sawing, crafting or cleaning. Highly motivated to nap. ;)

But as fall approaches (what is that high pitched squeal? OH yeah, that’s me.) I’m getting the urge to get more done around the house. I thought it was about time I finished up the stairway redo that I started…oh….SIX MONTHS ago.

I’ve been wanting to add molding up the staircase for all that time. My original plan was to continue the skinny molding I installed throughout the foyer, but that stuff was going to be a total pain to work with – long story, but it isn’t symmetrical. So to make the correct cuts, I was going to have to make a jig for the saw and blah blah yadda yadda. You don’t want to know.

So I sat on it for months. Then I saw some new inspiration in a magazine – a different idea -- and wondered if it may be easier to install. Turns out it was. ;)

I didn’t take pictures as I went (bad blogger!!) but I recreated how I went through the process. My inspiration picture used a board and batten type technique, so I went to the hardware store looking for thick slats of wood to use – but everything I found was either too skinny or too expensive. Then I remembered the brilliant idea The Nester had, and I strolled over to the sheets of mdf.

Brilliant I tell you. I had an eight by four foot sheet of mdf cut down into 3.5 wide pieces (eight feet long each). To figure out the angle of the cuts I needed, I held a piece up to the wall and marked the angle of the handrail on the wood:

I marked a line from end to end to get the angle I needed:

Then put it on my miter saw to figure out the degree of the cut. It turned out to be 40 degrees, and low and behold, that cut ended up working for every single angle I needed:

 

It was SO easy, because the planks were flat and symmetrical so I could use it any way I needed to! Does that make sense? I could flip it every which way and it still worked.

I nailed up the sides first then added the top portions. The middle pieces (that created the “boxes”) went up last. This is what I ended up with:

LURVE. :)

Then, because I consistently ignore my own advice, I had to paint everything after the fact. Which is a total pain in the booty. TOTAL. Argh! I will never learn! From myself. Huh.

Anyway, because I am one of the True Value DIY Blog Squad members (yippeee!), I took my merry little self over to a local store and got some new painting supplies.

Purdy brushes are not cheap, but they are the best, in my opinion. I absolutely love them! I used my angled brush to do a coat of primer and two coats of semi-gloss on the edges of the mdf:

I found a super cool roller at True Value that I had to try out:

Gotta love that Made in the USA! :)

You can angle it in all kinds of directions:

 

How cool is that? It worked perfectly to paint all of the molding!

And yet again, the fact that I didn’t paint before installing came back to haunt me. (Curses!) The top edge of the mdf butted up against the handrail molding, was still unpainted and you could totally tell:

 

I. tell. you. what. Such a pain! Thankfully True Value had a small craft section (yes, crafts! I think I’m in love!), so I picked up some brushes and used one to cram some paint in there:

The cramming worked. Sheesh.

And finally, it was finally time to poly those steps. I went back and forth for months on whether or not I would do it, because I was worried it would make them slippery. I figured I would try one coat and see how it went.

I grabbed some semi gloss polyurethane on my shopping trip:poly

(You want to stir poly slowly – never shake!)

I always use a foam brush to apply poly and it works like a charm! Here’s the difference it made on the steps (top step with poly, bottom without):

poly on stairs

Loverly!! Poly makes the wood so much richer and beautiful – and it has NOT made them slippery at all! I only did one coat, so that probably helps. I still swear the wood steps are less slippery than the carpeted stairs.

I absolutely, positively LOVE how it turned out!!:

stair transformation

I continue to only get craptastic quality pictures of these stairs. Not sure why. But you get the gist. :)

It’s not perfect. Not many of my projects are:

This is why the DIY Gods created caulk and putty.  ;)

I really adore how it turned out! It makes the whole staircase look finished off:

The wall going up the stairs is my favorite wall in the house:

Can you tell why? ;)

All I have to do now is get rid of the brass:

I know they’re small. But they’re mighty. Mighty brassy. And shiny. :) I don’t know if I’ll tape them off, cover everything and spray paint the buggers, or just replace them.

Either way, their days are numbered. Buwahahahahahaaaaaa…

Now, to decide if I’ll continue this treatment up the other side of the stairs:

I’d have to take down the small molding I have up there, and I don’t know if it would even work with the big squares on the back wall.

For now, it will stay as is. :)

Let’s look back, shall we? This is the before, from last Christmas:

The in between from earlier this year:

  And the I’M DONE!! (for now):

The best part? All of the mdf only cost $23! That’s IT! Whoo!

Oh I lurve it. And now I can focus on other things.

Like decorating for fall.

What’s that? Hummmm? It’s still August? Whatever.

:)

To see how I transformed our stairs, go here.

*I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as my writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.*

Thank you to my latest advertiser!:

111 comments:

  1. Wow! It turned out FABULOUS! I now have stair case envy!

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  2. Your stairs looks terrific! You did a wonderful job, love it!

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  3. That looks absolutely amazing. You should be so proud!

    When we changed our basement stairs (nothing in comparison to yours), we spray painted the gold bracket that holds up the handrail with ORB. Just a thought for you..

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  4. You did an excellent job! I will be trying my hand at some board and batten tomorrow...can't wait! Keep up the good work!!!

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  5. It really looks so elegant! Very beautiful, the whole thing!

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  6. OHHHH I love it!!! Not only the wall but the steps!!!!!!! This is the MAIN REASON I want to buy a house! So I can have dark steps with white kick things!!

    Amazing job!! What? You will be in Baltimore to do our house? Ok see you soon! Thanks!! =) hehe what! I can dream!!

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  7. It looks wonderful! Makes me wish I could take the carpet off my stairs right now!!!

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  8. OMG! The staircase is LOVELY! You did an awesome job!

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  9. I am so ready for fall myself! I hate all the heat! Your stairs look fab! You are amazing!!!!!

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  10. You are the molding queen & now the board & batten queen... looks amazing! I might have to do some on my stairs too... can't beat that price!

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  11. It really looks beautiful! Great job.

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  12. Ok dumb question... Do you use a foam brush as in the little crafty gray ones or do you use a foam roller for the poly? About to poly for first time. Thanks

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  13. I painted my steps just tonight! What buggers they were, first I stained them and it looked like the Clampets built them. You offered advice on my ataircase because I was worried about them being slippery. I added one of the non slip things to the paint and I hope to poly mine too! Did you stain or paint your stairs? Your walls look beautiful and yes I know this pain you are going through with the angles, we had the same thing!

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  14. I am in awe of your talent..it looks lovely.

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  15. You did a beautiful job! I love how you figured out the angle you needed - totally how my brain works. My husband would be laughing at me as he pulls out his paper, pencil, and protractor, then makes 10 cuts just to get it right!

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  16. FABULOUS! I've been wanting to try this, but our trim work in our house isn't white...so I am worried that it will look stupid up against a maple trim. Thoughts? Again - GREAT JOB! Looks awesome!

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  17. Please tell me what inch thickness the MDF you used was? and where did you purchase it? I was trying to find some a few weeks ago to do something similar in my laundry room.
    I needed 1/4' thick x 4" w x 54 1/4 " L.

    I wasn't able to find mdf or pressed board 1/4" thick. So I'm wondering what thickness you used? As yours turned out BEAutiful! :)

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  18. O love them I do! The mdf looks supah gah-reat!

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  19. That turned out beautifully! Trying to figure out how to add molding to our stair case.

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  20. This is BEAUTIFUL!! You are one amazing chick!! LOVE IT!!

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  21. You are one loca chica! In a good way!

    It look fab. Are you for hire?

    Take care,

    Lisa

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  22. Love it! And FYI, I am sooooo ready to decorate for fall as well!!! Can't wait! And I can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  23. Turned out awesome! I need to be braver with power tools like you... I can use a cordless drill and that's about as brave as I get. :)

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  24. Great project - it turned out awesome! We did the same type of mdf on the ends of our kitchen island and i just love that wide, flat look : )

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  25. Any chance you might reveal where you got your vinyl quote done? I want one...exactly.like.yours. PLEASE do tell?

    Great work on the stairway!!!
    K.

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  26. Fantastic, Sarah! I can't believe it's the same staircase! The deep wood tone against the white absolutely pops!

    Would you believe I got a lump in my throat when I saw your Christmas decor? LOL It just all looked so warm and pretty.

    Donna

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  27. Perfectly beautiful!! Well done, and let me know about the site for their give away!

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  28. It looks GREAT! Wow.

    That makes me want to make over the stairs of my apartment building. ha!

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  29. Wow. I didn't think you could make that stairway look any better. I was wrong! Gorgeous!

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  30. GOR-GEOUS! We have a True Value near our house, and I'm always amazed (and grateful) for what I can find there. Any time I can avoid a trip to the faraway big box hardware store, the better!

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  31. The staircase looks fabulous! I would love to do something like that on our front steps, we have a two story open foyer and I think it would bring things down a bit and make it more inviting. I say spray paint the darn things ORB...easy fix.

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  32. It looks great! I just think it is awesome that you do your own woodwork!! Perfect or not, you at least can figure the angles and measure. I know I would screw that part up!!

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  33. Looks awesome! Were you able to find MDF to run the length up the stairs or did you have the vertical pieces in-between? I'd love to do all of that to my staircase. I have no idea what's under my carpet so I probably wouldn't try and take off the rug unless we are prepared to replace it if the wood is ugly. Yours turned out great! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  34. It is an amazing transformation! I cannot believe how gorgeous it is. I am in constant awe of your DIY abilities. A job VERY well done!

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  35. Wow, what a huge difference. I thought the makeover looked fabulous before, but it's even better now. :)

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  36. I am not a new reader to your blog (it's at the TOP of my list!), but I have never commented (don't know why). I just love the stairs and I also want you to know I loved the piece you did on Dave Ramsey- my hubby and I have been going thru some similar stuff, and have needed guidance! Love all of your creative (and thrifty!) ideas and also, may I say, you CRACK me the heck up! Love your blog (I can tell u do too!) :-)

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  37. Gorgeous!! I'm inspired to work on some of my bare walls!

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  38. You are such a DIy Genius!!!!! All of your projects are clean, classic and affordable! I wish I had your mad skills!! I got the idea for my stair wall from you, with the "Things In Life" decal! Thanks for sharing your ideas so all of the DIY challenged can copy you!!! You're fabulous!

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  39. WOW! The stairs came out great! Love it! :-D And I'm completely on board with you for decorating for fall, I've had enough of this heatwave already.

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  40. Wow, that turned out beautifully! I'm trying to talk my hubby into getting rid of the carpet and refinishing our stairs too. Thanks to our pee cat, the carpet on the stairs has got to go (and so does the cat!). It makes sense not to replace the carpet since it's the only carpet in the house!

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  41. This looks amazing! I hope to do this in my house. Can't wait!

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  42. You did a great job and I love the look, like board and batten. I was thinking about doing a taller version of that in my foyer. Thx for the tutorial, I may just have to do it now!

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  43. You are a marvel, Sarah! It looks really awesome.
    Maybe you can double celebrate Christmas for me. Then I could fly to Hawaii and not have to do all the work associated with that holiday. Ba-humbug, right? I'm impressed that as a female (it all falls to us, doesn't it?) that you still enjoy it. I say, "'Tis the season" when I'm wearing flip-flops. ;)

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  44. That turned out great~can't wait to do some of that around MY house! ~and the brass...you don't EVEN know how much I have....previous owners put it in this house...WHY?!

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  45. I love that! And I've had GREAT luck finding MDF at our Habitat Restore. Big sheets for like $2. For realz.

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  46. When I had a second safety railing installed against the staircase wall, all I could find were brass rail supports. The carpenter said he would spray paint them black and bake them in a 250 degree oven for about an hour. The paint has never chipped, and I can use anything I like to clean it. Just a thought...

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  47. I. Love. It. Stunning! Great work as always!

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  48. looks good, not over bearing but just enough to give interesting detail. I hope to do the same to our stairs! And yeah the first thing in that pic I noticed was the brass, haha. Why do they even still sell that finish?!

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  49. I love that you said "craptastic". I use "craptacular" all the time. The stairs look amazing too! :)

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  50. I love that you said "craptastic". I use "craptacular" all the time. The stairs look amazing too! :)

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  51. I love that you said "craptastic". I use "craptacular" all the time. The stairs look amazing too! :)

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  52. This looks fabulous!!! You have inspired me again!

    and craptacular/craptastic, two widely used words in my house.
    lifeofperks.blogspot.com

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  53. It is crisp and finished looking how it is Sarah. Pure gorgeousness. Is that a word?

    Have a great week.
    ~Melissa :)

    PS Congrats for being on the True Value squad! WOOHOO!

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  54. It looks fantastic! You're getting to be a pro with your powertools :P

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  55. It turned out beautiful. I love that wall, too!

    Elisabeth

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  56. Since this is white at the bottom, do you think it will get dirty easily?

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  57. Your stairs are beautiful. For months, they have been my inspiration for what I should do with my own! I can't wait to be able to update what I currently have going on, but I've got to be patient while our laminate floors are installed. Thanks for the great ideas!

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  58. I love this!! So jealous of your gorgeous stairwell!! Love, love, LOVE it!!

    PS Could you just remove the handrail and harware and spray paint? Hrmm...might be tough to remove from the rail, but good luck!

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  59. That looks amazing! Such and incredible difference for such a small price!

    Have you already done a post on the artwork that is on the back wall of your staircase? It looks like glass art surrounded by trim. I would love to read about those if you made them!

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  60. Love it, Sarah! Your stairway looks beautifully finished now--you've gotta be proud!

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  61. What an amazing transformation! It looks great! Love the roller. Great work as always! I love how you have displayed the pictures along with the word art.

    ~ Tracy

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  62. You should paint the inside of each square a dark color like the stairs...it would look awesome!!!
    Great job!

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  63. You can take that banister down really easily. Take off the support brackets, sand them to scuff them up a little bit, wash and dry, then hit them with some primer and a coat or two of ORB or Satin Nickel spray paint and you're good to go. (Those evil puppies are like $5 a piece to replace, and if you don't get the exact same kind, you'll end up with screw holes not matching and have to patch and redrill the wall.) Oh, don't forget to stick the screws in a turned-over paper plate and hit them with the primer and paint as well. We did the supports for our two banisters (formerly brass) when getting our house ready to sell, and they look great!

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  64. I am sure someone else already mentioned this (I didn't want to read all 72 prior comments!), but have you thought about Rub n' Buff for the brackets? I used the Silver Leaf on the hinges of my DR corner hutch and you cannot tell that they used to be brass.

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  65. Gigantic improvement!!!!
    5 stars!!
    *****

    Ok now come on over & do our basement steps. ;0)

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  66. Consider monogramming the panel areas...or just at the bottom...that would be adorable :)

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  67. It really gives your stairway a rich look. Go you :).

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  68. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  69. Beautiful work! I love the way you stained the stairs and the placement of the black frames with the quote on the wall.

    I know that painting can be hard work. We just finished a painting marathon before moving into our new house!

    Bravo and encore! I'm just waiting to see what you'll be up to next!

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  70. Wow - I'm inspired. I've built a fake fireplace so far

    http://doesntcosttheearth.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/total-room-makeover-sitting-room/

    Now I'm definitely going to tackle fake wainscotting! I love it! What a great job....

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  71. Just when I think it can't get any better! You've turned it up another notch!! Looks great...and for $23...genious!

    Amy

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  72. That is a gorgeous transformation! I only have 4 steps in my ugly mint green rancher bi-level, but I've been considering putting an oar up as an artful type railing.

    Benjamin Moore has some metal paints that are supposed to be pretty awesome at changing brass or any other thing in the world to the metal look you really want. It's called Modern Masters metal effects. I'm going to try it soon.

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  73. Did Lowe's (or was it Home Depot?) cut the mdf into 3/5" strips for you???? Like a whole sheet of them, cut up so they're ready to go? Or did you mean 3/5 feet strips (in height?) We are fixing to do board and batten, and we can't seem to find the materials I see on the various blogs.
    Thanks!
    Dana
    danabodo@gmail.com

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  74. OMG! It looks incredible! Beautifully done! Makes me wish I had a 2 story house to do it myself. I think I'm about to take my first crack at some molding very soon. I need something that breaks up all the browns in my house. Brown tile, tan walls, brown furniture. Ugh. I'm soooo tired of brown. lol It's almost enough to make you miss builder's white. Almost. lol :) Can't wait to see what you do next.

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  75. This is gorgeous….I am hosting a jewelry giveaway…would love for you to stop by!!

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  76. THis looks awesome. Bookmarked for a future staircase ;)

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  77. Just found you through Pepper Design Blog, and so glad I did. Your site is gorgeous and inspiring, and your 'voice' is warm and inviting : )

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  78. Hey I saw this on Martha Stewart and thought of you. I don't like that you really can't tell they are corn husks and thought you might have a better idea.

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  79. You are so creative. I wish I had time to work on my house. I enjoy reading your blog to get ideas in hopes of one day redecorating.
    Jennifer
    www.fancyframesboutique.com

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  80. Love the mdf on the stairs! There's hope for my dining room yet. :)

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  81. What a beautiful stairway! You did a great job!
    Midge

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  82. It's funny that you should post about your stairs again now since they served as my final inspiration to tear the carpet off my own stairs last weekend (http://theperfectlyimperfectlife.blogspot.com/2010/08/stairway-progress.html).

    Turns out my treads weren't quite as nice as yours, so we're having to replace them, but it's going to look great, when it's done, I think! So, thanks for the inspiration!

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  83. Love it! I wouldn't do the other side of the stairs.

    I love how you did the small moulding and paint on that side. I could really "beef up" my baseboards by doing that and painting it white! Light bulb moment, thank you very much!!!

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  84. why not take down the brass holder thingys and spray paint them like infarrantly creative did with her door knobs? you can check out her post on the durability of it here: http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/2010/08/spray-painted-doorknobs-pt-2.html

    just a thought! They look like they hold up well (and those are knobs that get used/touched all the time so your railing holder thingys would probably hold up even better!)
    Cheap and easy!

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  85. Great job! I was wondering about the white risers on your steps--do you ever have problems with them getting scuffed up by shoes? Or are you a shoe-free in the house family? We had white semi-gloss risers in our last home and they scuffed up badly really quickly. It wouldn't even come off with cleaning, so I had to paint at least once a year. That memory stops my from doing something like this in our current house. Is there a way to prevent it? Some coating or something?

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  86. You stairs look great. Just paint the brass. I just painted brass casement window cranks. It works really well and the shiney brass goes bye bye.

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  87. Ummm, yeah so I fell down the stairs twice now in the last two weeks. We just moved here. My friend recommended your site to give me ideas on what to do with this slickasawhistle ugly carpet of mine! I'm so glad she did!! I 'Luuurve' your blog!!! I've been reading ALL day and I will be reading for the rest of my life I think :) Feeling quite the itch to go peek under my staircarpet- not a lovable pet btw - and tear it all to shreds. Also quite considering the bamboo shade thing. I'm def into shades. So yeah, and a comment on your stairs (beautiful btw) is to not, i repeat not do the other side! It looks beautiful just like that!! I think the board & batten up the center really anchors it and makes the whole thing come alive...but I also love the texture of the other side and the two sides together...so my 2 cents there. Well bye for now and again, so glad to find you!

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  88. We did something very similar to our staircase: http://ourhumbleabowed.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/lighten-and-brighten-up/ We love to add trim to our house. It makes such a difference and it's not that expensive!

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  89. You nailed it Sarah, pardon the pun!! We have the stairs that you so nicely posted on your Facebook and I have to say yours is fantastic. The great results, thanks again to you, on our staircase motivated us to do the board and batten thing to our master. Wish I had a time machine cuz the hub and I used real wood, not MDF, and it did add up.
    BTW my senior daughter and I checked out Butler U on Wed. Dang it was HOT in Indy. I told her I wanted to ditch the campus tour and hit some of my Thrifty "friend's" shopping stops instead! Insert eye roll from mortified teen here.....

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  90. You are so inspiring! I started digging around in my garage and been junkin since I started lurking here!! Thanks!

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  91. You are so inspiring! I started digging around in my garage and been junkin since I started lurking here!! Thanks!

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  92. Never thought I could love a staircase so much! Nice work!!

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  93. Your stair posts have inspired me to redo the stairs down to our basement (finished family room). You didn't mention sanding between coats, did you? The poly says to sand lightly before second coat. I'm having a really hard time putting sand paper to my pretty stairs, but they aren't that smooth. Maybe sanding it would make it smoother or maybe it isn't that big of a deal if I dont. So, since you are in my stairspiration, please let me know your thoughts on this. Email me if you have time... esneeringer@hotmail.com
    thanks!

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  94. I don't know if you did something with your brass railing brackets yet. I removed our railing and the brackets from the railing. then I spray painted them an ORB.

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  95. I love the MDF molding idea. Thank you for sharing the how too

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  96. Hi what size is the Decal? ' the best things in life are not things?" we want one for our stairs.. I love!!!! You are super good :)- Nancy email: adoyo80@yahoo.com

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  97. I looove your blog!! Just wondering what size decal--where you got it and where you got the pic frames!!! I'm want to copy your staircase!!!! :)-Emily-Teachemabcs@yahoo.com

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  98. I love the frames & Quote! I've been wanting to do a collage with older pictures of my family and I thought this was the perfect idea! Thanks for the inspiration!

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  99. NICE!!!! Really dresses it up :)

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  100. Love your ideas where did you get the decal? Love it
    email: rosieh2@aol.com

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  101. Hi - this is amazing, where did you get that Decal? I love your Blog.

    T from TX

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I LOVE your comments, thank you! (I read every single one.)

If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here! Be sure to check out the FAQs tab at the top of the site and my Projects page for paint colors and DIY projects as well.

THANKS so much for reading!