Stairway, Windows, Distraction

Work on the house has slowed a bit around these parts but every now and then enough motivation creeps in to open up a can of paint and work some magic. And while painting stairs isn’t as sexy as stripping trim or repairing plaster (wow – what a life we lead), it is quite necessary.

So with that in mind, we dove in. When we bought the house, the stairs were actually carpeted.  We refinished the floors and treads but the risers are another story. A combination of dirty white and faded pink coated everything while there were enough carpet tack holes to…well…hold down a lot of carpet.

Some good cleaning, filling, priming and painting and we have a much improved staircase. Unfortunately, the spruced up stairs only emphasize the sad state of the walls.  A look at the process:

Stairs and carpet removal


Holes and pink. Awesome.


Painting stairs.

Finished stairs.

This past Saturday brought a nice field trip over to Han-Mei and Joe’s house (of Swanky & Chiang blog fame) to inspect some sweet Marvin Tilt-Pac windows. I also got a great tour of their house which has motivated me to consider being more ambitious. They are midway through a great restoration and it made me want to go home and install a master bathroom among other things. A man can dream I guess.

A common question around our house is “what’s next?” This mistakingly conveys that we are actually done with the previous project (or two) which we are not, but it is fun to get ahead of ourselves. So once the living room is buttoned up, where shall we focus our attention?

  1. The entryway? It does after all have a sweet new light fixture and painted stair risers.
  2. Dining room? The windows have already been replaced and it is easily seen from the almost finished living room. It does however have boxed-beam ceilings (painted no less) that will conspire to take a year off my life.
  3. Our oldest son’s bedroom? This would pretty much be a repeat of the work we did in Aiden’s bedroom. He would love some painted walls but I have trouble painting walls that have wallpaper on them. Oh the moral dilema.

In an effort to buy ourselves some time, we did make some furniture adjustments to his room over the weekend. Gone is the dresser that was so large it had it’s own gravitational pull. We replaced it with a more appropriately sized dresser that fits in his closet. A shuffling of existing furniture and it feels brand new to him. Pictures of the transition are posted below, while the final will be coming soon:

Assembling some Swedish furniture.

You can see the monstrosity on the right. That is now gone and the closet is now useful.



Admittedly I was a bit burnt out around New Years. Combined with the final push to open up Pilot Wealth, a man can only take so much sanding, pre-conditioning, staining and finishing. It looks great – don’t get me wrong, but I was (am) going through one of those classic home rehaber phases where you start to imagine evenings without house projects. Or weekends filled with…I don’t know…things that have nothing to do with your house.

But waxing poetic and pity parties won’t cause the dust cap above the base molding to magically finish and install itself. So what shall one do? That’s right: get distracted.

We got the new windows installed in the living room and dining room and they look outstanding! Did you know that you are actually supposed to be able to open double-hung windows? Who knew. I still have a little trim work to do on them but they look great. They do however highlight how crappy the old windows in the house look. But one step at a time.

The new Marvin's just installed

1st Floor Windows = Neat. 2nd Floor Windows = Not Neat.

With the windows out of the way and woodwork calling my name, I opted for some electrical work. After a quick visit to the Rejuvenation sale this past weekend I came away with a new fixture for our entryway. Check out the before and after! Hmmm….the paint looks a bit drab and the trim is awfully white…

The former first impression

A little bit of living room and a little bit of entryway

Since I was doing such a good job of ‘woodwork denial’ I continued on my lighting journey and finally replaced the fixture in the upstairs hallway.

There were 4 of these fixtures in our house originally


Minor change but seriously, that old fixture was bad. And you can see that even the hallway will be a huge project in itself one day.

With that completed, I must say that this house has quite the stories up it’s sleeves. I have now replaced 3 light fixtures in this house and found old gas pipes each time. Does anybody have any pictures of what these old lamps looked like that would have been here originally? It’s amazing that there are any houses still left from this vintage with all that gas throughout the house.

More gas piping.

I’ll probably get back to the living room this weekend: those final steps are the hardest. But I may just blow off the whole weekend and go for a bike ride and kick it with the family. Photos are here: Living Room, Entryway, Upstairs Hallway.