The past few months have all been about, amongst other projects, dragging our staircase and entrance hall kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
I think this job, possibly more than any other we have done, best illustrates my philosophy when it comes to homes. In the absence of a sizeable budget I have had to work with what was there. In an ideal world I would have ripped out the whole staircase (and probably the whole front of the house) and replaced it with some funky, modern entrance hall complete with statement staircase thus avoiding all of the issues with the existing uneven levels and 'interesting' carpentry skills and old fashioned add-ons. Or would I?
I kind of like doing jobs on a budget. It forces or reminds one that it is possible to be creative and achieve a satisfying result without throwing oodles of cash at things, a principle that can be applied to most things really. I like the challenge.
The existing staircase in our hall was solid. That was its redeeming feature. Solid....but incredibly dingy and unwelcoming. The walls were covered in brown paint and a bit of exposed brickwork and the floor was a tired laminate.
Taking inspiration from a picture of a painted staircase I found online, we set about removing the central balustrades, painting all of the woodwork with dulux brilliant white eggshell, spending about £850 on glass inserts up the stairs and round on to the landing and then picking out the centre of each tread in Farrow and Ball's 'Railings' hard wearing floor paint.
A good tip...initially we painted Zinsser B-I-N primer (available in most high street DIY stores) on to the varnished timber to prevent the rather orange varnish showing through. I would absolutely recommend this product. It has prevented exactly that. We tested just using a normal primer undercoat first and the orange stain showed through pretty quickly.
We replaced the laminate with engineered oak which runs through from the lounge and kitchen and finished with crisp, simple white walls.
The result is a light and airy entrance hall. Picking out the tread in a colour has resulted in a staircase that looks like it is meant to be rather than one that looks like the best that could be done with what was there, if that makes sense. That was always the worry. Even my poor handyman-come-the-weekend husband who was in charge of painting the whole staircase and then painstakingly marking out and painting the stripe down the centre of the treads agrees it was all worth the effort!
Adding the Harmony ribbon pendant light in black from John Lewis (£130) finishes off the landing void nicely and throws off a really nice warm, white light into the space in addition to recessed spot lighting.
All that remains is to add a bit of artwork and some storage solutions and that's another job ticked off the list! The only problem with finishing this is it shows up how badly the porch needs an overhaul.
Don't put your tool kit and paintbrush down just yet hubby!