Monday, March 30, 2009

To Paint or Not to Paint

That is the question of the day. When we moved into our home our stairs were carpeted and one corner of the carpet was a little loose. Just loose enough for me to stick a butter knife underneath the fold to reveal wood. For days (which turned into months, which turned into the better part of a year) I begged my husband to let me rip the carpet from the stairs and expose the wood in all of it's natural glory. He promptly informed me that begging is unbecoming in a wife and implored me to leave the stairs alone.

Fast-forward to December 2007 when I left my teaching job and sat home unattended for 3 weeks. I peeked at the hidden wood again and then bashfully put my butterknife away, but those stairs kept calling to me. So I crept back to the staircase and pulled the carpet up, this time just a little bit further and before I knew it I was in a heap of carpet pads and silver staples.

Joe called me during my demolition and immediately recognized how out of breath I was. When he asked me what I was doing I told him it was a "surprise". What I really meant was "you're going to kick my ass when you find out what I did, and I need a few more hours to make this look good so that I can soften the blow". When he came home he immediately starting looking around for what I destroyed. By this time I had thrown away all of the evidence (including the bent butterknife that started this all). And what he encountered was the dismissal of a very simple request.

Our stairs were not glorious after all. They were puttied and scarred and painted and marred. And I, well, I was in A LOT of trouble. The official silent treatment lasted a full two weeks, but the scorn and the shame has followed me for the past two years. I spent the better part of a week sanding, by hand, each tread. I carefully patched the wood and then primed it. Then I stained each step and polyed it three times for good measure. Then I painted the stair faces and lined the gaps in the tread with mdf to make them look finished while covering the holes that were to remain unseen. And still my stairs look like ass. Yet each day that I sweep the piles of yellow lab remnants off of my stairs and into small, easy to vaccuum heaps at the bottom, I'm reminded of why the carpet simply had to go.

So now our entry way looks like this. It's a Monet (good from far, far from good).

And our contractor is coming this month to install the hardwood floors on our landing. So it's shit or get off the pot time with these stairs. Some options I've considered are:
  1. putting a runner over the stairs as they are now and pretending everything's okay
  2. having a professional refinish the stairs and hope they do a better job
  3. having a professional refinish the stairs and putting a runner over the newly refinished stairs to protect them from the little labrador with nine-inch nails
  4. forgoing wood entirely and having the stairs painted a glossy brown or black
I'm leaning toward the painted stairs and have found a few inspiration pictures to fuel my fire. But I honestly don't know what to do with these stairs and frankly, it's time to make a decision and move on. So, what would you do?

{ painted glossy brown }

{ painted black }

{ painted black }

{ painted brown with runner } 

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