Stairwell Makeover – Part 2

If you sweep a house, and tend its fires and fill its stove,
and there is love in you all the years you are doing this,
then you and the house are together, that house is yours.
-Truman Capote

Well, after a couple weeks of work, the dropcloths are up, the floor’s all swept, and the stairwell makeover is almost complete.

Stairwell | AFTER Gray Owl and Simply White | BEFORE Algonquin Trail Walls and Manchester Tan Trim

The only thing left to do is paint the sliding track hardware bronze. I played with the photo above in Photoshop and I’ve decided I like the way it looks finished in a darker color. Here’s my Photoshopped photo:

85 dollar Bronze Barn Sliding Track Hardware

A gal named Karen wrote me recently and said she painted her sliding track with three coats of acrylic craft paint. She scuffed the track up with some steel wool before she started painting, just make sure it would stick. I’ll snap a pic and post it after I’ve got ours all done…although, hopefully, it’ll look just like the photo above! 😀

As for the banister, we decided to switch that up a little bit, too. In an effort to capture the charm of a white picket fence, we decided to replace our orangey-oak, turned spindles with a row of crisp, white, picket-inspired 1x3s:

Cottage Plank Banister Makeover

(I have plans for those orange-toned stair treads and handrail eventually, too!)

I’ve always been a big fan of raised spindles, so we covered up the old spindle holes with a thin piece of luan plywood…

How to create raised stair spindles

…and then used 2x2s to give our new pickets a little lift:

Raised Banister

I painted the banister Simply White in a semi-gloss finish so that it would match all the other trim in the house, and as far as construction goes, Brian the Carpenter just routed out a row of little grooves on the top side of both 2x2s and on the bottom side of the 1x2s he added underneath each handrail.

Plank Spindles

After that, he routed out some more little grooves on the top and bottom of each 1×3 picket, and used wooden biscuits to hold the planks in place between the handrail and the 2x2s. The new pickets are screwed, glued, and “biscuited” in place, whereas the old, spindles were only held in place with a small finish nail, so we’re very happy to have a much sturdier & safer banister now! :-)

Off to tend the fire, fill the stove, paint that sliding track!

Stairwell Makeover - Part 3
Working and Wandering

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    • Christie says

      Nevermind, Layla! I answered my own question by reading some comments. And it’s Gray Owl…not owl gray. :)

  1. Jody M says

    Looks so great!
    We have white trim and it needs to be repainted, but I’ve been hesitant because I was worried about brush marks. What did you use to apply the paint?

  2. Megan says

    This looks awesome! I want to do the same with our stairway (which is basically an identical twin to yours), but I’m hoping you can help me better understand a couple things:

    1) How are the lower 2×2 boards attached to the newel posts? pocket screws? biscuits?
    2) How did he attached the upper 2×2 boards to the existing handrail?

    Thanks a ton! I want to make sure I don’t mess this up :)

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