We are late… or should I say behind.
 This was supposed to be a post about my pretty newly renovated stairs.  Newly painted risers, newly painted spindles, newly painted shiny black railing, newly painted walls with no marbleized wallpaper and the prettiest new neutral runner down my newly painted stairs!
Not to mention art on the walls and a white or pewter garden stool in the corner on the landing!!!!
As I said… we are running behind.  But I can show you we have done so far…

The “Before…”
The before with tape around everything… and the old floral runner ripped up and a tarp covering the stairs and one stair primed.
Bobby started this project while I was out and I did not get to show you the true before. Come to think of it… that’s probably better. It was very dated and old and very frightening!
The first thing we (and when I say “we” I mean Bobby) did was to prime the risers of the stairs.
Then “we” painted the risers with 3 coats of high gloss Valspar. The spindles, like the rest of the trim  in our house, was painted Benjamin Moore Atrium White.
In between the coats of paint “we” primed the golden oak banister. I was very glad to see the golden oak go!
Bobby has gotten better at letting things go and embracing change. Not an easy task for him. But I lovingly taught him that “everything has a life cycle” and that “things get worn out and tired”. And, “we need to update or we will have a hovel to someday sell”. Always with a, “but you already knew that… you are a smart one… and you know how I love smart men”! 
This has seemed to work beautifully! He is embracing change quite nicely… smart man!
After priming the banister “we” painted it with a high gloss Valspar durable paint. I could hardly wait for this step!!!!
What a difference! Just like I pictured…
Here is a picture from CENTSATIONAL GIRL I found to inspire me!  The Centsational Girl stained her woodwork a dark walnut… but I was not going through that mess.  I like the high gloss look of the paint just fine!!!
cg wood staircase
Oh, pretty!
Next, I will have to peel off the very stuck-on wallpaper…tiny shred by shred.  Bobby always sticks wallpaper to stay on in case of the Apocalypse!
Believe me I have tried everything!!!! I use a scoring device… and a paste eating spray… and a steamer.  I just keep telling saying to myself… “Think of the nice new wall color” over and over. That seems to help!
You can see that the landing wall has already been painted Sonnet by Benjamin Moore. That’s my color!
The new runner comes Monday. Oh, happy day!!!! I’d love to keep the stairs bare, but our little dog Scamp cannot go up and down. 
Bobby is going to wainscot the wall as his “winter project”… code word for not until after football is over. That’s fine… I’m going to sneak about 10 projects in before that! Bless his heart… he’s just no match for me (evil laugh inserted here)… even though he is such a smart man!
I could use your suggestion on art. No family pictures. I have a great idea for using family pictures in the upstairs hall.
Art is often hard for me. It is a commitment! Art and framing is expensive… and I don’t have a great vision for that wall. 
No mirror. There will be a mirror on the upstairs landing.
I’d love your input!!! Please give me lots of ideas!
Thanks everyone… you are THE BEST!
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  1. says

    Looks great so far, as well as everything in your beautiful home. Art is so tough. When we did our bedroom over, it took us a long time to find something for the walls. Have a great weekend!

  2. says

    It looks beautiful! I am dying to update my oak staircase. Did you sand or strip the spindles and risers before you primed? I would love to skip that step if I could. I am thinking about just painting the spindles for now. Great job!

  3. says

    Your stairs is stunning. I love it. It definitely looks amazing with the risers and the railing painted. Beautiful. As for art, I have found some really fabulous copies of masters on line and then I take them to Hobby Lobby. If you buy a ready made frame at half price which they always are, then they custom frame your print for free. I loe that. Just a thought. Hugs, Marty

  4. says

    LOVIN it and enjoyed your funny post.

    Bobby IS a smart man – he married YOU now, didn’t he??????

    Now, ok, it’s not what you asked, but it is my advice. You have texture and interest in the spindles and will have such with the new (when it happens) wainscoting. It’s a smaller area – so how about NO artwork? Why busy it up? I think it would be a good thing to leave that area blank/er…………you see, a person’s eye needs to have areas to “rest” to make good design work. You have some incredible decorating and design – I would leave this be a place for an eye to rest in that shorter area at the stairs going up, Yvonne. You will then be glad to get up to the landing where those eyes get busy again.

    The spindles are enough decor, yes?

    I think the prints at stairwells are for those really tall walls that actually NEED to be decorated – like the inspiration pic. Your area is different and needs nothing.

    Hope it is ok to say this, it is all just opinion, of course. BUT if you DO something make sure it isn’t busy – that area will become too much for the eyes if it is.

    HUGS and ♥

  5. says

    Looks gorgeous!! We have the light oak and will be refinishing soon as well. We’ve got the entire downstairs and steps to do.. big project so my hubby is dragging his feet. Good for you for getting started! I noticed that C. Girl is waiting on her main floor.. so I guess we could do ours in sections too:) It will be worth the effort!

  6. Anonymous says

    love it so far. i would just put art on the little landing and i would do a chalkboard and you can write a bible verses or what ever you want and it will tie in the black or print a page from your bible. ang

  7. says

    Love the high gloss black paint, Yvonne. I’ve just come in from outside where I’ve been painting a jumble of clay pots high gloss black, they are in a patio which 3 rooms in the house overlook. I needed cohesiveness. And, I think high gloss black is so sophisticated. Love what you’re doing!

  8. says

    You just made me SICK of my oak railing!!! DH is NOT going to be happy with YOU!!! LOL

    Gorgeous transformation already & I look forward to seeing the end result, too. You are blessed in that Dr. Bobby can do all this stuff for you.

    Hope Haven is going well,

  9. says

    Love this transition! I have had old black iron furnace grates on my staircase walls for years. They are inexpensive, come in many designs. At the landing I have a beautiful stove pipe circle for a change of shape. I have never seen this idea anywhere else, except the old friend I stole the idea from. It would look stunning with the black bannister. I think I will paint mine black!

  10. says

    Wow, other people have such great ideas for art! Even I’m inspired!!! What I would like to comment on is removing the wallpaper.

    I’m guessing if it’s stuck that tight than the walls weren’t given a good heavy coat of primer before it was put up. Which is very common. As an interior painter with my mom for 20 years what we always found worked the best was a bucket of hot water, pour in a good amount of Dif, and start wetting the walls down from top to bottom with a sponge. Wear gloves and throw down some old sheets first! Sometimes you may have to wet the walls down several times and let them set for a bit before you can start scraping. Unfortunately when you use a scorer you usually end up with scraped up walls that just need to be mudded and sanded.
    All the best Yvonne. I know it’s a tedious and arm wrenching job!!! Everything looks great so far! Your photos make me want to paint my railing too ; )


  11. says

    I too have a difficult time with art. I have found beautiful reclaimed wood ends that look like quilted wood. It is beautiful and can accommodate any size that you need. The ends are distressed and the variety of woods used lends interest. The one I plan to use as a focal point above our mantel will be installed in October. It was available through our tile store, Tile Collection. I think it would be beautiful given the presence of wood in the proximity. Your home is lovely!

  12. says

    Oh, dear friend. . .I adore the “stairs in progress”!!!
    What a transformation taking place @ StoneGable!!!
    When we removed the 1970’s H U G E paisley wallpaper On Crooked Creektt
    that had been applied without sizing, we found really hot tap water
    with Dollar General “CHEAP” Fabric Softener in a spray bottle after
    scoring worked the best!!!We were able to remove 3 to 4 ft pieces at a time!!!
    I’ll be back to see the reveal!
    Art work is truly a personal choice, but some of the silloutees of trees
    in the same hues as your mirror might draw the eye upward.

  13. says

    Hi Yvonne,

    I just found your blog through Tina’s Enchanted Home, and I love it. I am doing the same thing. We are decorating our country home room by room… Please stop by to visit if you have a free moment.

    I LOVE the stairs update. I dream of high gloss paint right now, but I have no place to use it :(

    I will follow you for more updates.

    Emily @ Town And Country Shuffle

  14. says

    It will be so lovely! We did a very similar update in our last home and it made such a difference! Have you considered botanicals, or perhaps a series of architectural etchings?

  15. Anonymous says

    Yvonne, you have done such a lovely job on your beautiful home! I agree with Michelle in the 4th post…the eye needs a place to rest. Not every wall must have something. You have many other beautiful things…so let the eye go to them, such as the vignette on the table to the right of the stairs. The wainscoting up the stair wall will also divide the space visually. On the other hand, if you really want something there, do watch the proportion…it should be a singular large, vertical piece rather than a bunch/grouping of little stuff (too spotty) or 4 frames in a group (too predictable)! Be careful about fake art, as it is just that…FAKE. Better to save up and then research REAL art, as in a lovely oil you can’t live without. It could be a beautiful floral or better, some kind of scenic perspective into which the viewer’s eye is drawn which enlarges the space by illusion. If you want any help,…glad to share sources. Try to avoid the cute and quaint…it’s kitsch. That’s my design opinion. Beautiful job on the stairs!!

  16. Anonymous says

    Very nice Yvonne!! Good luck on the wallpaper removal! I had a room yrs ago that I had papered & removed it sometime ago…ugh what a pain it was. Like you said, keep reminding yourself how great the end result will be :)

    As far as artwork goes…I would place it on your landing wall. I think something in 3’s that are square, hung vertically would work nice. Rather than framed pictures, what about 3 squared pieces of slate. You could either engrave/etch them with Faith – Hope – Love…or if you don’t have the bits to engrave, then you could stencil the words on. Add a little shadowing to the letters if you paint words on to add a some depth.

    Can’t wait to see it all when you’re finished!

  17. says

    Yvonne, your stairs are beautiful already … when finished they will be amazing! I, too, always have a hard time with art and since I don’t have stairs, I’ve never had to worry about decorating stairway walls. As someone else suggested, given the pretty spindles and “incredible-to-be” wainscoting, those walls will probably be lovely without anything at all on them. However, I also think the landing wall would be a good place to decorate, should you want something. Since I don’t “do” art, I love plate or vintage mirror collections on walls. I’m sure whatever you choose will look wonderful … just like the rest of Stone Gable.

  18. says

    The stairs look lovely. Personally, I wouldn’t add any art until the wainscoting is up as it will change the amount of space you have to work with. Given that, I would think you might only need one thing on the longer wall going up the stairs (a lopsided “triangle grouping” of 3 plates?). Then maybe just one chosen vertical picture on the landing wall. Or depending on space, maybe something narrow and tall in the corner of the landing and that would be all. Whatever you choose, I know it will be perfect and right….just like the other choices you make for your home. You have a great eye!

  19. Anonymous says

    have you considered painting the wallpaper? i have done it and was quite happy with the results. as to art…pick one of your interests…say horses for instance and put pictures and three dimentional pieces reflecting horses…a horseshoe, weathervane, blue ribbon and so on.

  20. Anonymous says

    Looks great so far! You may consider a simple pen and ink drawing or charcoal sketch of your house. That would bring the black accent onto the wall while personalizing the entry and bringing the outside in. You could also crop the focus to highlight your stone gable and front door portion of your home ala your recent photo with the hydrangeas. My neighbor sent a photo in to a website that generated a sketch like this. It was very well done. She framed it with a wide, black frame that looked stunning on the wall. It was not too expensive at a craft store using their frequent coupons. I have also seen local artists do similar work on commission at art fairs in our CT town. You may be able to find someone similar in your area. Have fun considering your options– no need to rush a final accent!

  21. says

    Fabulous so far!!! Yay to you and Bobby :0)

    Artwork? How about some gorgeous black and whites of your still lifes and your lovely property? You take wonderful photos, so they would look just stunning. It would be a bit “personal” but not family portraits.

  22. Cheryl Thomas says

    Hi Yvonne, Staircase looks fabulous. You may want to check with Susan at BNOTP about a special product she used to get wallpaper down, I believe she got it from California when she was redoing her son’s room. I wish I had known about it since I too had to remove teeny tiny pieces of wallpaper in my kitchen and I have sworn off wallpaper forever. Good luck with finishing your stairs—can’t wait
    Cheryl Thomas

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