Back Stairs Before

If you celebrated, I hope you had a lovely Christmas! Mine was mostly quiet and relaxing, with lots of good food, movies, and long walks. But now that the holiday itself is over, I’ve got some projects to work on. In my last post about our kitchen renovation, I hinted at my next home project. Through a door in our bright and lovely new kitchen was this dark, depressing set of stairs to the back door and basement.

back stairs 2
Have you ever lived with something for a long time, and then you start noticing how bad it is, and you get obsessed with fixing it? That’s how I got with this stairway to my back door. We’ve lived here for over a year and a half, and knew we wanted to fix this area up, but while I was working on the kitchen I started thinking about how ugly the back entryway is. It probably caught my eye because I was walking by it even more than usual as I was going in and out to the saw in the garage to cut moldings for the kitchen. I became obsessed with how the wood paneling pieces don’t even line up properly, the trim pieces are plastic fake wood, and don’t even get me started on the carpet. Then practically every time I walked by it I thought about tearing off the wood paneling and carpeting. I resisted, because I was still in the middle of working on our kitchen, but the urge to start demolition got too strong to overcome. I started pulling the wood off the walls before I was even done with the kitchen.

So here’s the full before, with my plans.

back stairs before

  • Remove that wood paneling, and paint the walls underneath. I considered just painting the paneling, but look how badly the pieces line up at the top. Plus there are some pieces that were cut so they fit very poorly around the stairs, and it was way more noticeable after I took the carpet off. Nope, it had to go.
  • Paint the banister, and maybe the door, too. A dog really scratched it up at some point, but it would look way better if I repaired the damage and gave it a new coat of paint.  Plus it would help brighten up the space. Long-term, a new door with a couple of windows would probably be the best move, but paint can fix a lot until we want to shell out the money for a new door.
  • Tear that carpet off, and either refinish or repaint the wood stairs underneath. When we moved into this house, there was only carpet in three places: a walk-in closet upstairs, the front porch (yeah, outdoors), and these stairs. We’ve dealt with the other two, and this carpet will soon join its friends. It wins for ugliest carpet in the house, though.
  • Replace the vinyl faux-tile floor on the landing with tile. Black and white hex tile, definitely. I’ve worked up a potential pattern and the tile is all ready to go. Here’s a preview:

hex tile pattern

The guy at the tile store seemed dubious when I showed him my planned tile pattern, but what does he know? (Kidding! I’ve never tiled anything in my life, so I need all of the advice I can get.) He seemed to think it might be too complicated. I’ll do a dry layout first, and maybe I’ll change the pattern at that point, but it’s worth a try.

This space already looks way better. I’ve torn off the paneling, repaired the damage, and re-painted, but there’s still some tiling and more painting to do. This will be my first big project of 2016, and probably the last home improvement project I do for a while. I’m really excited to share my progress soon!

2 thoughts on “Back Stairs Before

  1. Rachel, That is a cool pattern for the floor. I hope you can install it. I can’t wait to see more. Happy New Year! Pat S

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