Refreshing our Stairs

In our home we have two sets of stairs. One set going upstairs to the office/sitting room and master bedroom and one set going downstairs to our basement living space, guest room, and unfinished laundry/storage space.

A few years ago I painted the wooden staircase to our bedroom and office. The stairs were looking tired, were very squeaky and I wasn’t a huge fan of the color. I decided to paint the riser white and the tread black. They remain that way today; with a few new dings from Lola’s doggie claws and some missing paint from a series of hilarious events that led to Andy falling down the stairs and landing hard on his bum – taking a bit of paint with him as he went.

A huge benefit to painting the stairs was that Andy could tighten up the treads with a few additional nails; reducing the noise they made when you’d walk up or down. It was easy for me to then putty and paint over those sunken nail heads; hiding them from view. Most people might not mind the squeakiness that comes with an older home, but when it wakes your sleeping child each day you become eager to find a fix.

The past few weeks I have been refinishing the stairs to the basement. Unlike the staircase to the second floor, these stairs were covered with carpet. I had been looking at the worn, dirty carpet for 6 years, and even though I was excited to improve the aesthetic, I wasn’t sure I was ready to rip the carpet off without being prepared for what was under it. I didn’t want to get myself into a situation where I (and by “I”, I mean Andy) would be rebuilding an entire staircase.

I was able to peal back the carpet in an inconspicuous place and the stair treads actually looked surprisingly new; so I decided to go for it. However, not shockingly, all the stairs weren’t new. Only the bottom four stairs were actually in like-new condition. The remaining stairs seem to have been with the house since it was moved here about 50 years ago.

Andy addressed some squeakiness again and he puttied some larger holes and sanded the stairs a bit. We weren’t concerned that the stairs look perfect because we knew that would be tough to achieve and because we planned to cover the majority of the staircase with a runner.

After Carpet Removal
After Carpet Removal, Putty and Light Sanding

After Andy was done with his work I began priming and painting.

Primed Stair Tread, Primed & White Painted Risers
Painted Stair Treads and Risers

Once I finished painting the stairs, I bought several of these Birmingham Black Woven Cotton runners from Dash and Albert.

Dash and Albert Runner

We did some reading and research online and followed these tutorials, from Young House LoveSouthern Hospitality, Centsational Girl and Fresh American Style (a blog from the maker of Dash and Albert rugs).

Young House Love Stairs
Young House Love
Southern Hospitality Stairs
Southern Hospitality
Centsational Girl Happy Staircase
Centsational Girl
Fresh American Style Staircase
Fresh American Style 

Andy and I talked about what would work best for our stairs and once the runners arrived in the mail we got to work. Andy ended up doing the installation and I checked in occasionally, helped trim the ends of the rugs when it was time, and in general, jumped up and down from excitement.

Here is how it all turned out:

Second Floor Stairs


Second Floor Stairs Looking Down
Second Floor Stairs
Basement Stairs
Basement Stairs

I am thrilled with the results. I love how the rugs look and how they feel underfoot. They add much needed traction to our steep and (previously) slippery staircase. They are also very quiet now. There isn’t any squeakiness and the carpet absorbs additional foot noise. The carpeted stairs make it much easier for Lola to navigate; which is a huge benefit because our beloved pooch is getting advanced in age and has had a few nasty slips and slides down the stairs when she’s eager to go out in the morning.

Thanks for following along on this project.

Now, what project is next?


November in Review

Here is a quick recap of our November.

We had quite a bit of rain at the end of October and the beginning of November. We made the most of it by splashing in puddles.

Eli and Luke run to find puddles after an early November rain storm.
Splish! Splash! (They were takin’ a bath — right after this….)

The boys and I took a trip to Boulevard park early this November. It was chilly out but they enjoyed riding their bikes along the boulevard, playing on the playground and throwing rocks into the water. We had an extra special treat too; a family of nine river otters were feasting on fish and crab, swimming and vocalizing all along the shore. We were able to see them again and again; it was quite a sight!

Eli at Boulevard Park
Luke at Boulevard Park
Look closely; river otters at Boulevard Park
River otters at Boulevard Park.

Andy and the boys removed the carpet on the basement stairs this fall and all November I have been working to get them back in shape. They are now painted and awaiting a carpet runner! I’ll share the process and progress with you in a separate blog post once I’ve completed the project.

I made these tasty pumpkin scones with this recipe. They weren’t too sweet but had nice flavor and they were quick and easy to make.

Pumpkin Scones with a Maple Glaze

I also tried out my new mini-loaf pans with a pumpkin bread recipe. It was fun to bake a small-sized treat. I dressed them up a bit and Eli shared them with his preschool teachers.

Andy took Eli to the Everett Children’s Museum while Luke and I stuck closer to home and went to the Bellingham FIG (Family Interactive Gallery). The big boys had a great time and afterwards they had lunch and visited the Lego Store!

We took the boys to Marine Park in Blaine. They have a new pirate ship playground and lighthouse playground. We had a blast playing together and since the weather was chilly we had the playground to ourselves. The park setting is beautiful. There is also a path, picnic tables, and some fun sculptures of fish and orcas. I can’t wait to visit again in the spring and summer once the weather warms; then we can take a trip up the road to Edaleen Dairy for ice cream!

Andy and Luke
Andy and Eli race down the slides
Eli learns how to use the camera
Eli and Luke take a break from bike riding to help rake leaves.

The day after Thanksgiving we went in search of the perfect Christmas tree. It was harder to find than we expected but we eventually found what we were looking for at Noon Road Tree Farm.

Luke at Noon Road Tree Farm
With our Tree

The boys were feeling under the weather this weekend with cold symptoms and low grade fevers, but they still wanted to participate in decorating the tree. Our house is now decorated for Christmas on the inside and we are hoping to put up some lights on the exterior soon!

Other notable events this month:

This month our Dossier for our adoption arrived in China and was logged in. We continue to wait to be matched with a child.

Eli participated in a mini-basketball camp through the YMCA with other kids his age. He learned some basic basketball skills and had a great time.

Andy learned in October that his employer CH2M Hill would be closing their Bellingham office. His last day at CH2M Hill was Friday Nov. 20th; he worked for CH2M Hill (previously Veco Engineering) for the past 9 years. This month Andy received and accepted a job offer from an engineering company, AECOM, where he will continue work in the same field.

I am extremely proud of Andy; he continues to be a hard working employee and spectacular husband and father. It has become exceedingly clear to me that he is well liked in his field and that he is an excellent employee. I am so thankful that he provides for us, his family, so well. I feel extremely blessed to be married to him. I also feel so thankful that the Lord has provided a job for Andy; it can be a big deal to change jobs during the adoption process and an even bigger paperwork mess had we needed to move for a new job. Every detail of the job finding process has worked out well and is very clearly in HIS hands.

We celebrated two Thanksgiving dinner’s this year; one with Andy’s family and one with mine.; what a blessing it is to have family close to home. We had a great time seeing our families, enjoying delicious food and quality time (in between chasing children around) and we cannot wait to spend time together again. We continue to be so blessed each day and we are very thankful for all that we have; our family, friends, health and so much more.

We hope that each of you had a wonderful November as well. Looking forward to sharing with you more this next month and hopefully we will have some news about the newest member of our family!