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DIY: Reupholstered Side Chair

I’ve always had the desire to attempt the process of reupholstering a chair.  Quite a few of my blogger friends did and the results were amazing, but I was still reluctant – Could I really do it? 

After reading this post, for some reason, “it” clicked and I was on-board.  My mission of finding a chair had started.  I needed something new anyway for my desk since I’ve been using this chair which has no seat padding and gets uncomfortable after a while. It took some time, but one day when on a thrifting adventure with my mom, I spotted it and bells started to ring.

Let me start off by saying, I have no upholstery skills, so this is something that absolutely ANYONE can do.  If I can do it, so can you!  Don’t get me wrong, there were quite a few times that I wanted to give up, but I kept chug, chug, chugging along and I’m thrilled with the results of a comfortable, stylish, and inexpensive desk chair.

It all started off here…

I began by removing the fabric from the back of the chair.  The old fabric was secured with ALOT of staples (which brought back memories of the carpet on the stairs), so using plyers I (and the mister) removed each and every one.  It took a while and part of the surrounding wood on the chair got slightly damaged, but it ended up being fine since the new fabric and trim covered it later.

The seat upholstery I left since it was in fine condition and the new fabric would cover right over.

Once the fabric was stripped down, it was time to give this chair a paint makeover.  Up until this point, I had never before tried the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and thought this would be the perfect piece.  Because of the ASCP formula, there is no need to sand before painting and I was ALL FOR THAT! Holla…

I had some hurdles to overcome with the paint and wax, but all in all, I was happy with the result.  My experience with the paint is a story in itself, which you’ll have to wait for later this week. (Click HERE to read about My First Annie Sloan Experience)

Anyway, here is me painting the chair…

Two coats later, I then added the clear wax as top coat.

Once that was done and dry (remember, I’ll chat more about my ASCP experience later this week), the reupholstery work began.  I was psyched to start this part of the project.  I chose a brown and white chevron pattern for the back panel, along with a burnt orange and white patterned fabric for the seat and back. The chevron fabric I had leftover from a pillow and table runner, while the orange fabric is a panel that I purchased from Target to use for this project and some new pillows (that I have yet to make – story of my life).

I started with the chevron fabric first and stapled it to the inside of the wood trim surround in place of where the previous fabric was. (this is a few from the front of the chair)

Once the fabric was stapled all around, this is how it looked from the back…

Then it was time to work on the seat and back reupholstery.  I started with the back.  I added back the original foam insert that was previously used, stapled all the way around, and finished by trimming the leftover fabric with scissors.

Then I used the same steps for the seat.

Once I exhausted out my staple gun, this was the result…

Eek! Those edges don’t look good.  BUT WAIT… here’s how I fixed it.


Trim is the key to novice upholstery perfection!  Using a good ole’ hot glue gun, I added the trim surround to cover all the ragged edges of where I used the scissor to trim the fabric.

And minutes later, this was the result.

Beauty, right?

I am thrilled with the final upholstery project and glad that through some tough parts (mostly the removal of the old staples and fabric), I stuck with it.  This chair really gives such a fun flair to my office area. The chair is temporarily in this spot while my front room / office space is under remodel.

And here’s me working away (thanks to my 6 yr. old for snapping this shot) …

Have you ever reupholstered a piece of furniture?  Did you find the first time easier or more difficult than you thought? What DIY projects have you been working on lately?

Kitchen Makeover Update: One Year Later

One of the biggest projects to date that I tackled was my kitchen makeover.  I can’t believe it’s been a year, but this time last Summer, I was finishing up the final details and sharing it with you.

Since that time, I’ve been flooded with questions (and many kind comments – thank you), and thought a One-Year-Followup post including answers + an update a year later would be interesting and helpful for those thinking of tackling something similar.

There were alot of details and updates that went into the entire Kitchen Makeover, resulting in quite a few posts to explain all the steps.
Here they are:

Since this is a followup post, let’s start with some of the reader questions that I received related to…

painting the cabinets

From Shani:
it is beautifully done! i painted my cabinets in my previous house, and found that if i hit the cabinets hard (with a pot handle etc) that the paint you find that to be the case? great job!

From Kyra:
Did you use primer on all of the cabinets ? I would think you would want to use primer everywhere? DId you sand the cabinets first? You don’t mention it but I would think you’d want to.

From Julie:
Looks great!!! Did you not use a primer on these..or did you tint the primer? Also did you sand these first?How is the paint holding up?

I absolutely used Primer and wouldn’t do any project like this, without! Primer is key to a great finish and a long-lasting result.  To start off, I gave the cabinets a light sanding, then applied one coat of Kilz Primer. When using the Kilz Primer, sanding isn’t really needed, but I did it anyway to remove the sheen from the cabinet face.  Plus the Kilz Primer is great for blocking the wood grain and stain from showing through.

Once dry about 24 hours later (the paint can says wait 7 days for it to fully cure, but I didn’t), I applied 2 coats (in some areas 3 coats) of Benjamin Moore Aura Paint. Their Aura paint is a primer + paint in one, but I still felt that it was important to use the Kilz primer first.


From Stachia:
What color and brand of paint did you use for your kitchen cabinets?

The paint color that I used for the cabinets was Benjamin Moore Berkshire Beige in a semi-gloss finish using their Aura Paint line (primer and paint in one).  A semi-gloss finish is important to use on cabinetry and/or furniture so the surface can easily be cleaned and/or wiped off.

updating the countertops

From Amy:
Just one question, does the countertop have bumps, or does it just appear that way in the photo?

My Response:
With the Rust-Oleum kit, the countertop is slightly bumpy to imitate the look of a natural stone surface. It’s not overly bumpy, but also not completely smooth.

From sl:
I would love to do this to my kitchen countertop. Yours look GREAT!!! I am still trying to convince my hubby. Did you put the color chip on the backsplash and edges? Is so was it hard to get them in these spots? Is not, does it look odd without color chips? Thanks for any info you can share.

My Response:
Yes, I did put the chips on the countertop edge and backsplash. With the tool that is provided, it sprays the chips all over and will cover the vertical surfaces. If there are spots that don’t get covered, you can throw chips on them, which will adhere because the adhesive is very sticky. All surfaces of the counter, absolutely needed to be covered with the chips or you won’t achieve the quality needed to hold up.

From Marti:
Could you please elaborate on your comment that the chips must cover all areas or the quality needed to hold up won’t be achieved. Do you mean that the chips facilitate the hardening process, and without them, full hardening won’t occur? Also, did you notice any odor at any stage in the process? I have an allergy to paint. Many thanks.

My Response:
When you are at the point of adding the “chips”, you want cover the entire countertop surface – the more, the better. After the chips are added, the next day you put on the sealer (top protective coat). If the countertop is not covered enough with the chips, your old countertop color will show through. The chips DO NOT facilitate the hardening process, but the chips are essentially the color that changes the countertop. So the first coat is the glue, second is the chips a.k.a. “color”, and the last coat is the protective seal. There was very little odor throughout the process. I was very worried about this with having two young kids, but it really wasn’t an issue. Honestly, we ended up going out for meals during the process since the kitchen was OFF LIMITS!

From Kristin:
Hi there! You mentioned the peeling of the top coat when the tape isn’t properly removed. We just did these countertops this weekend and had one spot where it did that. What did you use to fix the area??? On another note I would totally agree that the difficulty level is at a 2. It was SO easy and the instructions were great. The scoring of the tape, though, really is vital.

My Response:
If part of the countertop peels after you’ve applied the “chips” and sealer,  the instructions say to go through the entire process again for that specific spot.

Overall the process of the Rustoleum Transformations Kit was not difficult and the instructions were very thorough.  Included is a comprehensive video that is a must to watch! We took the weekend to work on the project, but it didn’t take all day.  Also, thankfully there wasn’t ANY ODOR – big checkmark 😉

I received quite a few questions and comments about the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations Kit.  I have not had the pleasure of using the product, so I really can’t comment, BUT some readers that used the white or lighter colors had a bad experience with it yellowing.  Has this happened to you?

tiling over laminate

I guess my tutorial on this part of the makeover was easy to follow (or no one liked it – hehe) because I didn’t receive one single question.  Anyway, with tiling over the 3″ high laminate backsplash, the kitchen really has a custom and unique look.  Often seen in typical kitchens, is a 3″ high backsplash to match the countertop which is sealed at the joint so no water or liquid will leak behind the base cabinets.  Great concept, but very ordinary and not really interesting.  Because we were “painting” over our existing countertops, there was no way to remove the laminate backsplash, so I just tiled right over it!  It was easy and there was nothing different or special than tiling any other surface.

adding decorative brackets

By introducing the decorative brackets, the kitchen has a sophisticated aesthetic with interesting architectural details.  Before, there was one long row of cabinets, but now the brackets add an unexpected element.

Update One Year Later

Now that I’ve highlighted a few of the popular questions from the makeover, it’s time for me to share some images and updates a year later.

Thankfully the cabinets have REALLY held up well over the past year.  We’re a family of four, with two young kids, so the kitchen is used ALOT!  It has received so much wear and tear, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the cabinets.

Unfortunately, I wish I could say that about the countertop.  Within the first few weeks of using the Transformations Kit, the newly “painted” surface started to scratch, show spots and wear.  That being said, I am still happy with the overall look and how much the kitchen changed by using the Rustoleum product.  I’m often asked, “Is the product worth it?  Is it more of a temporary fix?”… well that’s difficult to answer.  It comes down to your budget and how long you plan on living with the kitchen.  The product is around $250-$300 (the last time I saw it at HD or Lowes), which is pricey, but at the same time we didn’t want to invest in a more expensive countertop.  Honestly, looking back knowing the imperfections today, I’m still glad we chose this product.  A bigger, more $$$ kitchen makeover might be ahead of us in 3-5+ years and until then, the updates we made are just fine (and actually more than fine). So my roundabout answer is, if you have the money and plan on keeping the countertops for 5-10+ years, go with another surface, but if you’re on a budget and/or want a quick and on-budget solution, the Rustoleum Transformations Kit is a great idea.

Here are some images of the kitchen that I just took yesterday.

I’d like to stress that even though I’m an in-real-life designer, my home is not staged and looks like most everyone elses.  The kitchen is often the most messiest place in our home and before cleaning it up to shoot some pics, this is what it looked like…

You can see the multiple DIY projects that I’m in the midst of.

Does your kitchen look like this ever?

Thankfully a few minutes later I got it all cleaned up and this is what it looks like a year after the makeover…

These are some of the scratches and wear marks on the countertop.

And this is a stain (completely my fault) where I dropped super glue.

And like I said, the cabinets have held up GREAT, but there are touch-ups that will be needed here and there.  For instance, the shelves on the open cabinet get alot of wear multiple times a day when I take out and put back the baskets.

But there really is no reason to complain, because this Benjamin Moore paint was easy to apply and has held up SO well.

These pictures were just taken yesterday and I haven’t made any paint touch ups since the day they were painted a year ago.

And this quote – a favorite of mine -sits on the window sill by the kitchen sink and keeps me in check many moments throughout the day.

So that’s the makeover update one year later.

Are there questions that you have that I haven’t answered?  If so, Ask Me, and I’ll add them to the post.

Glass Bottle Turned Candle

I’ve been working on so many big projects lately (like the stairs, painting, and this chair) that I wanted to take a quick break and create something super quick and easy to share with you. One of my favorite drinks, especially in the summer, is Saratoga Sparkling Water. Since I live in the town where this water is manufactured, it’s available most everywhere and everytime I see the gorgeous cobalt blue bottle, I just stare at it’s beauty.

I never get the nerve to throw the bottles away and have been stockpiling them in my garage waiting for a DIY project to pop into my head. And finally, here’s my first creation with the blue beauties…

Cute, right?  And it’s uber-easy to make.  Here’s how…

I started off with:

  • my used Saratoga Sparkling Water glass bottle with screw on top *
  • Lamp oil or citronella oil
  • Large Wicks (I found these replacement wicks for tiki torches at Target)
  • twine
  • hot glue gun
  • drill

* other glass bottles like wine bottles, spaghetti jars, mason jars, etc could also work to create this type of a candle. (check out the small Barefoot wine bottle in the pic below)

Once I was finished drinking my sparkly, I had the Mister drill a hole in the bottle cap (sorry no pic here because he did it while I was out n’ about).  The hole should be slightly smaller than the wick so it fits snugly. Once the hole is drilled, the wick went in.

We then filled up the glass bottle with the lantern oil and tested out the new candle.

And it worked!

Then it was time to add some bling (nautical bling, not diamond bling).  I love the Saratoga lettering, but decided to add some rope as an accent.  I’m probably the only DIY blogger who hasn’t created something using rope, so here it goes.

Starting at the back of the bottle, I added a small dab of hot glue and attached the end of the rope.

I continued the rope around and around and around…

…and then once I was at the end, I trimmed the rope and added another dab of hot glue.

Complete and ready to enjoy!

And here are some details…

Pretty simple to create, right?!

Have you ever upcycled a glass bottle or wine bottle?

I link my projects to some of these parties: Skip to My Lou, Dittle Dattle, Between Naps on the Porch, Today’s Creative Blog, Stories of A to Z, All Things Heart & Home, Savvy Southern Style, House of Hepworths, Finding Fabulous, Creation Corner, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots and Jello, Thrifty Decor Chick, Tip Junkie

Two Toned Mirror with Faux Silver Leaf Detail

Another summer week is underway.  I can’t believe how fast it’s flying by, but I’m excited to be sharing a new DIY project with you – let’s get started…

Sometimes a small added detail truly makes a piece look completely new again.  While updating the buffet in my dining room with the new lamps and sunburst mirror, I moved the dark wood mirror that was once over the mantel to this revamped area.  I’ve had the mirror for about 9 years and it was beautiful, but I felt like it needed a little pick-me-up and decided adding a little something around the inner rim would be the perfect update.

The mirror has been seen in many of my mantel makeovers, like this one decorated for Spring 2012. Since it was in fine condition, I was weary about messing-it-up, but I took the leap of faith anyway. Silver leaf detail was the first thought that came to mind.

The addition of silver leaf, like in the dresser below by Jenny of Little Green Notebook, adds a beautiful and sophisticated accent, but since I was hesitant about how much detail would be appropriate for this mirror, I decided to use another method to get the silver leaf look, but make it totally faux.

Beautiful and I’d love to give silver leafing a try one day, but for my mirror, the faux way was alot easier and less time consuming.

Faux Silver Leaf

To achieve the silver leaf look, I used Krylon Spray Paint in Caramel Latte, which is the same color used for my lamp revamp – yes the lamps that now site right next to the mirror. LOVE this color. The cap shows it has more of a gold hue than silver, but the result on the mirror edge and the lamps is a more silver / gold combo.

Instead of the traditional way of using spray paint – is there a traditional way? – I, sprayed a small amount into the cap (in a ventilated space, of course)…

…then using a small paint sponge, I dipped the edge into the paint.

Then I lightly dabbed the sponge onto the leaf detail of the mirror edge.  I went slowly at first not sure of how much would be appropriate.

Well, hello there camera lense staring at me 😉

After I knew the look I liked, then I continued around the entire mirror, and this is the result…

The edge detail around the mirror can be seen more now with the newly added faux silver leaf touch, and the mirror is updated enough to look like new. Within 5 minutes this mirror got a complete makeover and it was really easy!  Hanging the mirror wasn’t difficult either with a method I’ve been using for years AND I’m going to spill the beans tomorrow – don’t miss it.

Have you ever used spray paint in a different or unconventional way?  Have you ever updated a piece of furniture with silver leaf?  It’s surely something I’d love to try!

I link my projects to some of these parties: Skip to My Lou, Dittle Dattle, Between Naps on the Porch, Today’s Creative Blog, Stories of A to Z, All Things Heart & Home, Savvy Southern Style, House of Hepworths, Finding Fabulous, Creation Corner, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots and Jello, Thrifty Decor Chick, Tip Junkie

Top Paint Picks for Navy Blue Walls

Yesterday I shared my Royal Blue Revelation and how I’ve been introducing this new-found hue into my home. I’m kinda psyched because not only is this color going to be an accent seen in accessories, but I plan on painting the front room a dark navy.  Yesterday I left you at the point of me knee-deep in color decisions, and today I’m sharing the final color choice, plus my Top Color Picks for Navy Blue Walls.

I’ve always had a thing for black spaces – they’re bold, dramatic, and striking – but I’m loving the navy hue just as much (and maybe even better)!  I’ve gathered some inspirational spaces that adorn the blue hue…

Deep blue striking walls with navy accents, photography by Emily Jenkins Followill.

Gorgeous Royal Blue Dining Room featured on House Beautiful.

Crisp white with navy blue is stunning.  The white decor pops off the dark complementing color (source unknown).

Navy paneling on the walls gives this office/den a cottage look featured on Lonny Mag.

Dark royal blue walls surround this bedroom oasis and I adore the wide striped blue and white rug, photographed by Roger Davies Photography.

A laundry room that I would never leave.  The white cabinets look amazing against the dark royal wall featured on House and Home.

Built-ins are often a shade of white (allowing them to pop off the wall), but the style displayed in this room match the walls – clever!  Love the regal, but inviting aesthetic by Ashley Whittaker.

Hello Bedroom that I would love-to-live-in!  There are so many reasons to adore this space by Brian Watford Interiors, but my favorite is the navy and white oversized nightstand, which is so sophisticated.

Thankfully I’m still in love with my taupe colored cabinets, otherwise this would be my new DIY project for summer.  Could you do navy blue cabinets in your kitchen? (source unknown)

Incredible spaces to die for, right?! So finally the time comes to reveal the final paint choice for my room.  The final color is…

photo by Julian Wass, image via House Beautiful

Boy, do I only wish I knew photoshop better to show you how this new blue hue would look in the room.  Any volunteers to help me out? If not, no worries, it will be done soon enough (I hope)!

Do you like my color choice?  What navy blue hue is your favorite?

Upcycled Clock Turned Vintage Sunburst Mirror

A few weeks ago while driving through my neighborhood, I spotted a sign for a garage sale.  As always, my garage-sale-radar automatically went into effect, and I quickly turned the wheel down the street and started my typical slow-drive-by.  While still in the car, I immediately spotted a gold antiqued-looking clock. Of course, I had to stop!

Just like my radar noticed, it was in good condition and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it – turn it from a clock into a sunburst mirror.

To change this clock into a mirror, the only item I needed was a 12″ round beveled-edge mirror which I found and purchased from AC Moore for $4 (it was actually $8 but I had a 50% coupon – score).

I applied my go-to-adhesive, Liquid Nails, to adhere the mirror to the center of the clock to cover the numbers.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work – the adhesive wasn’t strong enough to hold the mirror 🙁

I was pretty bummed, but onto plan B…  A stronger adhesive.  Situations always work out as they should because when the Liquid Nails didn’t work, it gave me the chance to add alittle color to the edge of the mirror – a detail I hadn’t thought about before.

So before adhering the mirror, I painted the outer section of the clock with a navy blue colored craft paint.

THEN, it was time to add the mirror back for the second time.  This attempt, I used a 5-minute-dry epoxy.

This had to work!

And it did – I was a happy girl again 🙂

And here’s the result…


So why did I choose blue for the accent color?  Well I’ve been adding in some royal blue accents as of late – take a look.

Through the new sunburst mirror, you get to take a peak at the lamps that I just revamped last week.

And there it is… A fun and easy update!

Have you upcycled a garage sale find lately?

I link my projects to some of these parties: Skip to My Lou, Dittle Dattle, Between Naps on the Porch, Today’s Creative Blog, Stories of A to Z, All Things Heart & Home, Savvy Southern Style, House of Hepworths, Finding Fabulous, Creation Corner, The Shabby Nest, Tatertots and Jello, Thrifty Decor Chick, Tip Junkie

DIY Stair Makeover: REVEAL

The day has finally arrived for me to share the final reveal of my staircase makeover.

Alot of progress has been made since I announced and started this latest DIY endeavour only 3 weeks ago.  It’s amazing how one change can totally impact the aesthetic of a space.  As you know, my home is my experimental playground which is constantly work in progress, and this stair makeover has been an incredible update.

Take a look at the result…

And here is the progress that I’ve made from start to finish…

Amazing change, right?!

Since my last post where I left you off at the staining of the stair treads, I’ve been a non-stop painting machine! And actually, I’m still painting (which I’ll get to more in a bit).  After the filling of the holes, the sanding of the wood, and the staining of the treads, it was time to paint the stair risers, the balusters, and the banister – and that’s what I’ll be sharing details about in this post.

In my last post, I left you off here…

So after that, it was time to prime!

Whenever I have a big painting job (like my kitchen makeover last summer), I always turn to Benjamin Moore as my go-to paint line.  Their paints are of really high quality and it applies with an effortless manor.  Since this project was pretty big, I immediately turned to them for assistance and they kindly donated the product for this project (Thanks BM – I love you)!  Their Aura paint line is like no other and actually has a primer built-in (which is why my kitchen cabinets came out so great and still look as fabulous today).  BUT, since I was working with a white hue, I thought it would be best to use an actual primer FIRST, then the Aura paint on top.

To start off, I first taped off all the areas that weren’t to be covered with the primer and that was basically just the newly stained treads and the surrounding walls.

Once everything was properly taped, it was time to apply one coat of Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Primer.  I learned recently that the primer coat does not need to be a thick coat  – a thin coat just to cover the wood surface is perfect.  As long as your coating the wood, it’s blocking the stain from coming through and preparing the surface for the paint color.

All primed and ready for paint!

Once the primer was dry, which didn’t take long (the stairs were thirsty!), it was time for the 2 coats of Benjamin Moore Aura paint.  For this project, I chose the color Snowfall White, which is essentially white, but has a slightly warmer hue (no blue undertones).

And of course I’m using my favorite Purdy Brushes 😉 (I wasn’t paid to say that – just sharin’ the love).

I mentioned that I applied 2 coats of paint, but in some areas a 3rd coat was needed.  Thin layers of paint are better than thick, so 3-4 coats isn’t unlikely.  It’s best to apply thinner coats than to end up with drips!  If you do though (like me), continue to go over the drips with your brush.  To avoid fast drying paint so you can fix those drips, it’s important to use a paint additive like Floetrol.  Learn more about that from my post on Tips for Painting Furniture.

The painting around the balusters took a long time and it was the most grueling part, but honestly looking back, it wasn’t that bad and it’s done – YAY!  Once I was finished with the white areas (the risers and the balusters), it was time to paint the newel post and banister.  A few people thought I was crazy when I said I was going to paint the post and banister instead of staining it to match the treads, but I’m glad I stuck with the idea, because I love it!

I decided to use the same color as my kitchen cabinets which is Benjamin Moore Texas Leather. It was one of my all-time favorite colors and can be seen here and there throughout my home.  Painting the post and railing gave the stairs a unique touch rather than a typical stained railing.

One itty bitty part that I didn’t mention above when painting the risers white was that there was a large gap at the edge where the treads and risers meet.  When painting, I didn’t have to be perfect with the white paint because I knew I would be adding a small piece of cove moulding afterwards.  Take a look…

I found the cove moulding at Lowe’s and it was about $2.50 for an 8′ long piece.  It actually wasn’t wood and instead a plastic composite. (The wood version was $5+, so this less expensive version was just fine).  At this point of the project, I dragged the Mister  back in to help out.  He measured the length of each tread and cut the cove moulding using a miter box.

Using Liquid Nails, we adhered the moulding to the tread/riser to cover the gap.

And Voila, the gap was hidden!

Once the paint was completely dry, the unveiling was about to begin a.k.a. the removal of the painters tape…

A little trick that I’ve learned along the way is to score the joint where the tape and the painted surface meet with a sharp razor.

This allows the tape to be easily removed and avoids the paint from coming off where it’s supposed to stick (see below where I didn’t score the joint).

Once the tape had all been removed, the stairs were basically done – not too bad right?!

And now it’s time for a ton of pictures (I hope you don’t mind)!

Looking from the front room into the foyer

Close up of the banister

The stenciled foyer wall looking into the front room

Psst…  You probably didn’t realize, but check out all the mouldings in the foyer and front room – I painted them white too. YES, as I was painting the stairs, I just continued right around the room (+ the dining room and kitchen).  Those oak mouldings had to go!  My goodness, the house feels so much fresher now – more on that soon.

That’s a whole lotta dark wood and I love it 🙂

I definitely was apprehensive about removing the carpet from the stairs and risking the possibility that one of my young kiddos (or me) could fall – carpet has a lot more padding than hard wood.  Thankfully this is my awesome solution…

Sisal Carpet Treads!

These carpet treads are perfect and I love them.  The kind folks at Natural Area Rugs sent me these attractive woven sisal treads which have a cotton twill border and non-slip back.  They’re ideal for giving the added protection for people walking up/down the stairs, plus they protect the actual stairs.  After all that work, the last thing I’d want are scuffs and scrapes!  But the beauty is that you can still see much of the stairs unlike a typical stair runner which covers the treads and risers.

The carpet treads have velcro on the back, so they easily attach to the stairs with a sticky back.

I’m ecstatic about this solution!

And it’s complete! What do you think?  Have you ever considered giving your stairs a makeover? Thank you for following along over the past few weeks!

Related Posts:
The Beginning of a New DIY Project
Phase 1: A New DIY Venture Begins
Phase 2: Filling Holes & Staining Treads
Kitchen Makeover Reveal
Stenciled Foyer Wall

Staircase Makeover: Filling Holes and Staining Treads

It’s almost been 2 weeks since I posted about the stair makeover, but don’t think I haven’t been hard at work.  The staining took quite a long time and not because it was difficult, but for another reason – keep on reading.  Anyway, I can officially say that the staining is complete and I am at the half way point now (I hope).

This second phase of the staircase makeover covers sanding the stairs, filling the gazillion holes from the carpet tacks and staples, and staining the treads. So let’s jump right in and get started!

Project Details

Duration of Phase Two: 1.5 hours for sanding & filling holes; 2 overall hours for staining / polyurethane (5-10 minutes for each coat)
Phase 2 Difficulty: Easy to Medium
How Many People Needed: 1

The supplies I used for this phase of the project are:

  • Orbital Sander (sandpapering by hand is also possible, but will take longer)
  • Wood Filler (in a color to match the wood)
  • Stain – I used Minwax Wood Finish in Ebony
  • Polyurethane – I used Rustoleum (water-based) in a gloss finish
  • Cheap brush or sponge brush that can easily be thrown away
  • Mineral Spirits (if you don’t want to use a cheap brush and instead wash them)

In my last post on removing the carpet and prepping the stairs, I left you off with this…

Once the carpet tacks and staples were fully removed, it was time to sand the stairs.

As I mentioned above in the supply list, I used my orbital sander to get a really smooth finish and to take away marks and old paint drippings.  Manually sanding the treads and risers with sandpaper is fine too, but will take longer and is more laborious – if you’re looking to build your arm muscles, this may be your calling 😉

Once the stairs were smooth, I used wood filler to fill in the many holes left from the carpet strip tacks and the carpet pad staples.  There were also a few holes from the natural grain of the wood that I also filled in.

After the holes were filled and the wood filler was completely dried and hard 24+ hours later (it’s important that the wood filler is really dry!), I sanded again.  The wood treads were ready for staining when the stairs were completely smooth to the touch.

Now to the staining process…

I don’t have alot of staining experience, and frankly staining has always scared me.  Unlike painting, it seems so difficult, but thankfully I was proven wrong with this project.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was desiring a really dark stained tread for the stairs, so I chose to use an ebony finish.  Before making the final decision though, I reached out to my blogging bud and the very talented DIYer, Kate of Centsational Girl.  I had showcased her stair makeover as one of my inspirations, and wanted to know what she used for her dark tread.  She told me that she used a product called Duraseal, which has a molasses-like consistency and gave a darker finish because it was less watery than typical stain.  I couldn’t find the Duraseal and was anxious to get started on the staining, so I chose to use Minwax Wood Finish in ebony.  It was the darkest color they had, so I was up for the task of trying it out.  As an alternative, Kate gave me the advice of trying a gel stain which like the Duraseal has a thicker consistency.  I’m a bad girl because I didn’t take her advice, BUT thankfully I’m happy with the result I achieved, so all is good 🙂

When staining, it’s key to apply thin coats of stain and angle the brush at a 45 degree angle to avoid bubbles.  After cleaning the stairs with a rag to remove any remaining dust from the sanding, I was ready to get started. I used a cheap bristle brush to apply the stain, so I could easily throw it away after the stain applications.

Here are the few steps I took to stain the treads.

1. I started at the corner of the treads.

2. I feathered my brush towards the center, parallel to the wood grain.

3. Then I carefully dragged my brush along the edge of the tread and the stair stringer.

4.. After that I feathered the stain in the same direction of the grain again.

The reason for doing these steps is so the tread is thoroughly covered with stain AND minimal stain gets on the stringer (side piece).  For my stairs, I will be painting the stringer white and using a stain blocker beforehand, BUT I was nervous (here comes my apprehension of using stain again) and didn’t want too much stain to get onto the stringer.  Alittle nutty, I know… but it worked.

Continuing with the staining, I applied it to the remainder of the tread in the same direction as the wood grain.

Now that I shared the particulars on how to stain, let me tell you some more details…

The staining process took a while and the major reason was because we still needed to use the stairs.  What to do??  Well, I ended up staining every other stair so we could still get up to the second floors. We did need to sleep, of course 😉

So… because I had to break the project up into two phases, it took longer.  After applying the first coat of stain, it soaked right into the wood, and was dry within about 1-2 hours – there was absolutely no wiping away needed.

Then I applied a second coat of stain, which also soaked right in and took about 1-2 hours to completely dry.  At this point, the stair had a really dull finish to it, but it still wasn’t dark enough for my taste.

So a day later, I added a third coat of stain and that was key!! It took a good day for it to completely dry, but I was happy. Then I was able to move on to the other stairs that were still raw.

The more coats you apply, the darker the result

Once the third coat of stain was complete, I sealed the stairs with Polyurethane.  I had tested one small area using a semi-gloss finish, but it wasn’t right, so I decided on a gloss finish.  It gave just enough sheen, but wasn’t overly glossy (if that makes sense).

Kate recommended applying 2-3 coats of polyurethane and this time I took her advice.  After all my hard work, I wouldn’t want these stairs to get ruined!

The polyurethane that I used had a blue tinge when applied (which I freaked out about for only a few seconds), but quickly went away – thank goodness!

And that’s it for the staining process.  This same process and techniques could also be used for furniture.

I got a few comments from readers after my last post that they enjoyed how thorough and explanatory my post was, so I tried to do the same with this – I hope you enjoyed it and learned something new.  If you still have questions, let me know!

It’s really coming along and I’m excitedly anxious to start the next process… painting the risers, banister, baluster, and stringer! Until next time…

Staircase Makeover: A New DIY Venture Begins

One evening late last week, the Mister and I found ourselves without something on our to-do list, so we finally embarked on the staircase project that I posted about 2 weeks ago.  It took longer than expected to start this project, but I needed my man’s muscles and braun to assist on the beginning stages.

If you remember back, the removing of the carpet was one of my DIY project goals for 2012 and I’m excited that its finally begun.  I initially wanted to remove/replace all the carpet on the second floor (yet it’s not within the budget), but removing the carpet on the stairs is going to be a big improvement since that gets the most traffic. Even though I’ve never been happy with the carpet, it was in place more for safety than aesthetics – now it’s time to say ba-bye!

We’re lucky to have real wood on the stairs instead of plywood, but there are still alot of details to giving these stairs an entire new look, so I’m going to break the process into a few posts. Plus they’re not nearly done and I couldn’t wait to share the “happenings” with you till the end.

Take a look…

Project Details

Duration of Phase One: 1.5 hours
Phase 1 Difficulty: Medium
How Many People Needed: 1

The first phase includes steps to remove the carpet, remove the carpet tack strips, and how to transition the wood steps to the 2nd floor carpet.  But before we begin, here are the supplies that I used.

  • Hammer
  • Cats Paw
  • Needle Nose Pliers
  • Flat Head Screwdriver
  • Muscles 🙂

For this stair makeover, we started by removing the carpet. Every two steps, we used an X-acto blade and cut the carpet where the tread and riser meet. This made the process more manageable with smaller pieces of carpet instead of one large piece.

As we went along and took the carpet off of every two stairs, we removed the carpet tack strips with a hammer and cats paw.  A cats paw is a great tool that we use for alot of projects.  For the stairs it worked well to get under the tack strips, yet didn’t damage the wood on the stair tread.  I highly recommend it 🙂

Watch your toes on those tack strips – they’re sharp!

Once the carpet was removed from the entire stair case, it was time to remove the staples from the carpet pad…  and boy, there were alot of them! For this step, it’s best to use a needle nose plier and/or a flat head screw driver.

The last step for this first phase was to cleanly transition the existing carpet and the newly exposed wood stair at the second floor landing.  Using an X-acto knife, we trimmed the carpet so there would be enough to wrap around the top step.

It didn’t need to be perfectly cut, but it was important that there was enough carpet to wrap it around the top stair nosing.

The carpet pad also needed to be trimmed.  Using a scissor, we trimmed the pad to be at the same edge as the stair nosing.  Trimming it at this point instead of wrapping it around the nosing (like the carpet) made it easier to staple the carpet under the nosing.

Lastly, using a staple gun we stapled the carpet under the top nosing.  It’s important to use longer length staples so each goes securely through the carpet and into the wood.

The result is a clean transition from wood to carpet…

There is still much more to do to get these stairs to completion, but we’re on our way.  Many of you have asked what we plan on doing on the stairs (thank you for taking interest) – stain, paint, stair runner…  so many options.

After lots of thought, I plan on staining the treads a dark walnut finish, painting the risers and balusters a crisp white, and painting the banister and newel post a taupe color (same as my kitchen – BM berkshire beige). Wouldn’t that be amazing?!

1. source unknown 2. Centsational Girl 3. Benjamin Moore Berkshire Beige 4. Walnut stain

Again, here’s a peak at the changes from phase one.