Stairwell Makeover

“Every day is a hopeful canvas
and every moment is a loaded brush.”

― Layla Palmer

She’s a sturdy house, but the stairwell sighs from time to time…especially when it’s cold and windy.

Stairwell Before

Yesterday, I decided to take it as a hint. The “sighing”, that is. I pulled out two pails of paint and got my climb on.

Simply White Trim and Ceiling | Gray Owl Paint

More Gray Owl (cut 50%) on the walls, and some Simply White on the trim and ceiling.

Stairwell Ceiling | Simply White Paint

Yes, I’m still smack dab in the middle of a project in the room next door, but it had to be done.

Well…it had to be almost done.

Gray Owl paint lightened by 50 percent

Off to finish those other walls today…and don’t worry, I’ve got plans for those orange-y stair treads and banister, too. 😉

PS- For more makeover pics between posts, join me over on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram! (The old door and sliding track is going up today!) 😀

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  1. Jean says

    Looking forward to seeing what you are doing with your rails…..I’ve been staring at mine a long time….We have a curved staircase and the curved wall and stair rails have stumped me. Thanks for sharing your journey! :)

  2. says

    Looking great! So fresh!
    I did the same thing last weekend. I just couldn’t take it anymore. Painted the walls Edgecomb Gray and all my trim and crown molding bright white. It feels great to have it done.
    All while trying to get started painting my daughters room too…one thing always leads to another 😉

  3. says

    Layla when you post about the rest can you tell us how you hit those super tall double + height spaces? I have a winding staircase as well that is screaming for a redo and I’m at a loss on how to paint it all! Thanks!

  4. says

    Where did the dog come from??? Is it possible I have followed your blog for well over a year (?) and never knew you had a dog? I am glad to hear you have plans for the railing. I was kind of surprised it hadn’t been hit by the brush yet when I saw it. One of the first things we did in our builder grade home (house #2) was to paint the oak banister. I even had an artists brush out! Painstaking work but SO worth it!

    • Layla says

      LOL! Max has been a part of our family since 2006. 😀 He’s got his own category if you’d like to read some of “his” posts. 😉 As for the banister, I’ve had something completely different in my mind, so I haven’t ever bothered with painting it. Can’t wait to show you the new look when it’s complete! :-)

      • says

        I will check out his category. :) I have always seen pics of your cat–that is crazy!! I am really interested to see your plan if you are not painting it. I am sure I will love it.

  5. Leanne Marquis says

    Hi Layla. It looks beautiful. Love your blog! I’m sorry if I missed where you have said this before but I was wondering if when you say a paint color is cut by 50%… Do they do that at the paint store? Do you Do it yourself? What white is used? I am always finding the (almost) perfect color but it’s just a little too dark and the lighter one just somehow doesn’t seem the same. Thanks! :)

    • Layla says

      Thanks, Leanne! Just click on the words (cut 50%) and it’ll take you right over to my post all about it. 😀

    • Layla says

      Ha! Kevin is always amazed at how little paint ends up on me, too. I think I just get my painting skills from my Mom. I swear she’s got the steadiest hand in the South! 😀

  6. Susan says

    We are going to paint our woodwork “white”–it is med stain currently–a designer friend of mine suggested BM White Dove–my color scheme in my home are brights reds, blacks, yellow..think MacKenzie Childs–what do you think about White Dove..which white do you recommend?
    Thanks in advance.

  7. Deborah Wilkins says


    What would be sharp on the banister is to paint it with a high gloss black paint and the spindles white. I have done that in a home I refurbished for a physician. It was beautiful. With the gray walls and white trim – very fresh and contemporary. Just a thought…….

    • Layla says

      Ooh! That does sound pretty, Deborah! 😀 I’ve actually got something a little different in the works, but I’m hoping it adds a crispness to the “new” space, too! 😀

      • Alison says

        I’ll be waiting to see what you do to the banister. I have an OLD, BROWN one in my living room that I have thought often of painting but have no idea where to start. Please be sure to post on fb if you blog about it! Thanks!!

  8. says

    Our home is painted with grey owl and I love it!! I know your stairwell make over will be great! and can’t wait to see that finished room ! Have a great week end

  9. Maggie says

    I love your style. Can’t wait to see what your plans for the “orangey” stairs and railings are. I have them too along with kitchen cabinets that I would love to change.

  10. vicky says

    I am nesting too but not because I am waiting for a baby. Love your latest saying: “Every day is a hopeful canvas
    and every moment is a loaded brush.”

  11. Ruth says

    So funny, mid project and the “siren song” lures you away…it reminds me so much of myself! I must show my husband this post, so he knows I am not alone 😉

  12. Deb says

    I’m just jealous that you can do all of that without the prep work (wiping down walls, cleaning trim, using painters tape). You make this look like a couple hour project instead of the day it would take me!

    • Layla says

      Well, there was some wiping down of walls, and cleaning of trim, and a *little* painters tape, but things are moving along. I’m not looking forward to painting some of those hard to reach places. May have to call in some braver back up! 😀

  13. April says

    Ooooh, i cannot wait for the stairwell makeover “update”! I am in the midst of the same exact project and would love to see your “after” photo for inspiration. :)

  14. says

    So much brighter!! I desperately need to paint all of the ceilings in our house – but I need to find a day to move the furniture under a drop cloth – I have learned the hard way that I am a messy ceiling painter!

  15. Brooke says

    Max is posing!
    Looks so much better! Question for anyone… would you paint cream trim and cabinets in a 3 yr old house or just leave it cream? It’s not dark cream. Floors are dark, not espresso. It’s a big job but many grays don’t look so hot with the cream trim. Also, the cream trim is stopping me from using white subway tile in the kitchen. I think I may have answered my own question! Layla, when are you going to paint your cabinets? I need detailed advice! Thanks

  16. Marianne in Mo. says

    I see you have supervisors too! Hope they aren’t pushing you too hard! ;-D

  17. says

    Layla, I love how all your decorating choices “bring light”.

    My guest room is that tan color and I have never liked it. Just didn’t paint when I moved in. Four years ago!

    My banisters are that same orange-y. Can’t wait to see what you do!

  18. Laurie says

    I love the winsome poetry of your first line and your personification of your sturdy house with its restless staircase sighing in the winter chill : ) …so lovely, charming, and lyrical …like your home : ) love the owl gray and simply white.

  19. Melissa says

    Layla, You are simply awesome. Love all your projects and love that your two 4 legged babies are always in the pictures. They love their Momma!
    So excited for you guys and your new bundle that awaits you! xo

  20. Lisa W. says

    Layla…you ARE a rock star, AND brave to take on projects like that on your own. I’d have pain everywhere!!! :) Fresh and bright it is…cannot wait to see what your coming up with for the orangier parts on your stairs:) Keep em coming!!!

  21. ellie says

    lol. just had to tell you that my first thought when i saw the photo of you on the ladder was: “whoa it’s dangerous for her to be up on that ladder pregnant!!” xoxo

  22. Angie W says

    Can’t wait to see what you do with the banister. I need to redo mine, too.

  23. says

    I had the same thought as several others – “Who let Layla up on a ladder when she’s EXPECTING A BABY!?!” :-) Can you tell your readers are all just a little excited for you?