It is really amazing to me going into something and putting together the before and afters. I was there, my husband and I did it but the transformations are still amazing to me.
The Foyer is one of the biggest transformations, I think to date. Above is the before, and below is the (Pre) After.
Getting here was probably one of the most steps I have ever done to complete a project and I did a lot of dumb things that my husband will probably never let me live down, but I also did some very creative things that worked and the end result, they are beautiful and match our floors perfectly!
To start, I wanted the original stairs to be seen again. They were dark treads and white risers. Exactly what I wanted. I originally thought that would be easy, we already have it. I was wrong. The carpet shown above was nailed and glued in such away that it left behind holes everywhere and whatever glue was used left behind what only looked like tar and imprints of all the nails, carpet and everything else that crossed the stairs. My husband did not think it could be saved. The wood was too damaged and stained. We decided to try. He sanded all the way down to the wood.
This was the result:
Yay! We got down to the wood right? Sort of. At the moment I took this picture with my cell phone, I was trying to figure out how to get started. If I stained what you see, they would end up looking painted, there is no wood grain, they are too stained and we have natural wood peaking through but no natural grain. I didn't want to have my husband to have done all this work and to stain steps only for them to look painted. This is our natural wood and what we have to work with. I wondered if before I stained them if I painted in my own wood grain if I could make it look natural. I got myself a wood grain brush and thought that since there was so much dark, I should probably do the wood grain with the lighter color, so I matched the lighter color and went to work on the first step....but first, I decided to test out my wood graining paint skills on the pantry shelves before our stairs, which I was working on at the same time.
Here they are:
It's a little too much black but I got the feel for how to make the grain and felt confident enough to begin the stairs with the lighter color. I mixed the color paint and 4 parts Maison Blanche Translucent Glaze on both the black and the lighter color for the stairs. Here is the step before adding the painted wood grain:
After with painted wood grain and one coat of PolyStain:
I figured this would work so I did the rest of the steps in the paint glaze and created the wood grain effect. Here is the before right after the wood grain was added:
They look like barn wood. I actually like them like this, sort of. I was really nervous and said a lot of prayers that I didn't mess up my stairs. The grain looked like wood grain, but it was the stain that was going to set them off.
Then I added the PolyStain and it looks amazing! I was really excited until, I realized......
They are brown, they are suppose to be cherry like the floor see?...
They were still beautiful and you really didn't notice too much except from the front that they were brown. Wtf were they brown? Apparently my bad habit of not stirring things is the reason. The PolyStain had the poly on the top and the stain on the bottom. You an see in this picture how some of the stain started to come out towards the bottom. My husband will never let me live that down but, lesson learned. He then wanted to sand and do one more coat of Poly. I didn't want to mess with them anymore, I didn't want to take any chances. I finally decided to mix the PolyStain properly and turn my steps cherry with the last coat. With the dark brown one coat of cherry stain should make it match correctly, or hopefully....
Here is the after. I should also point out that all dings, and dents and things that were not that severe were left because I wanted them there. I'm not going for brand new looking steps in a 100 year old home, I am going for character and the original to breath again dings, holes and all :)
Here are some more photographs of our new stairs, I am happy to say, the color is an exact match to our floor and they are beautiful!
This picture is just because I look at it and am still amazed how elegant our foyer has transformed! I learned a lot, and it was hard work, but it's our home and I am so thrilled that the original steps have been restored and are DONE! :)