Bringing the Stairs to Life

Prepare yourselves for about 7,000 pictures of our staircase… We are REALLY thrilled with how it turned out and I find myself just standing and staring at the beautiful wood that’s come back to life.

Here are a few shots of what it looked like before. Over the last 130 years, these floors have been painted, carpeted, and beat up. Not all of the treads are original but things like the landing are. The landing was in the worst shape as you can see in this second photo… carpet glue, paint, dirt, and years of wear-and-tear left it in dire need of some TLC.

Hubs took to woodwork like a fish to water. I swear, I don’t know how he just knows how to do stuff… but he does. First, as in every project we do, we made it safe. When it doubt, there’s ALWAYS lead in the paint… so we went the long, circuitous route of encapsulating ALL the paint on the stairs first, just to be safe. The last thing we’d ever want is to just take to sanding and then have lead paint dust particles floating in the air for forever. This step easily added a week to the project because it involved applying the goop, scraping the goop, properly disposing of the goop, cleaning said goop- a lot- and then letting it all dry.

Once it was dry, THAT’S when the sanding started. They started out like this:

Husband sanded and sanded and sanded. He would get up, sand for a few hours, work until midnight, and do it all again the next day…. but those floors.

Then they looked like THIS… so we got to testing stains and settled on Minwax’s Red Oak.

I stained the treads, painted the risers, AND did research. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a photo of a home built in the same time frame as ours. It was of their staircase and for a hot second I thought it WAS our house. I got REALLY excited… and then less excited when I realized it wasn’t. However, it had this stunning Newel post lamp that got me wanting one. I took to eBay and found the most beautiful antique French art nouveau piece. The price was right and it was on my doorstep three days later.

The art nouveau distinction leads me to believe it is 1900-1930s time frame The wiring was all original. It still worked but I was concerned with fire safety so I made an off handed comment about how it would just be decorative. Husband (remember when I called him the smartest person in the world?) was like, “Uh, why? I’ll just rewire it.” It was a very Elle-Woods-Gets-Into-Harvard moment when I said “You can DO THAT?” and he cocked his head to the side and was all “What? Like it’s hard?”
So he just went ahead and re-wired the darn thing. He even managed to keep the original switch. So now we have this beautiful, almost-period-specific piece of ART in our entryway. It is so, so beautiful. Now you can see why I can’t stop staring!

Now when my family gets here tomorrow for the holiday, they’ll be able to truly enjoy such a grand entryway staircase. ❀

To wrap up, here are some side-by-sides!

Enjoy your holiday. Be blessed, be thankful. We’ll talk soon!
The Brick and Maple

 

6 thoughts on “Bringing the Stairs to Life

  1. I lived in a couple neat old homes, one in Iowa and another in Alabama and i am enjoying reading about your restoration and history of your new home in Illinois. I lived briefly in Dixon, Illinois and did lots of genealogy while there. Love history of those wonderful old homes..

    Liked by 1 person

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