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The guest room just upstaged our sad, untouched bedroom by a landslide.

This headboard, by the way? We’ve had it for years! Scott spotted it in the alley behind our former condo building while walking Jack. He ran inside, yelled inaudible words of excitement until I followed him downstairs, and minutes later, we were hauling that alley find to our basement – knowing it would have a proper home someday!

(On a side note, some of the best scavenging in this city happens in the alleys on trash night. On the opposite end, it’s a fun game to set something out and place bets on how long it’ll take before someone else scoops it up. You give a little, you take a little!)

We loved that it was so ornate (I believe we said, it’s so ugly, it’s pretty again!), and it was in great structural shape with no dents or divots. We also loved that it was not real wood (faux-wood? A laminate of sorts?), giving us the freedom to paint it without the guilt that can come along with mindlessly painting a solid piece. Plus, it needed a pick-me-up. We wanted to go bold!


For this project, Wagner Spray Tech reached out and asked if we’d like to give one of their new paint sprayers a try, for which we were grateful and totally on board. We already own the Power Painter Plus (which is truly a power house!), so we talked with the Wagner Team about the intricacy of our current project. They suggested we experiment with the Flexio 590, as there are more controls and better flexibility with detailed work.

After prepping the garage, we gathered our (few) additional supplies: no-rinse TSP, latex gloves, a bucket of warm water for TSP dilution + a rag, and exterior Clark+Kensington satin enamel in Nein! Nein! Nein! OK Fine!. We had just half a gallon leftover from our porch swing project, so we crossed our fingers and hoped it would be enough. (Spoiler, it totally was.)


We mixed a small amount of TSP with the warm water (following the label exactly, approximately 1:4) and wiped over the entire headboard. The TSP not only acts as a deglosser, but it helps to pull out any unknown oils that may have settled into the faux-wood.


Once it was dry, we could move on to the best part – spraying!

Immediately, we noticed that the Flexio 590 was much different than our Power Painter Plus in volume alone; in other words, we didn’t feel as though we were waking our neighbor’s children with this one! (A huge, huge plus!)


There were controls to tweak the entire experience, which while awesome, admittedly took us two tries to learn what worked best for us – everything from wide vs. narrow spray, amount of material and power of air flow! In the end, we learned that for our smaller project with high detail, a minimal paint flow and higher air speed did us good. And although we did have a panicked splatter moment due to too-low air control combined with a too-much material setting, a few adjustments had us feeling more at ease. (And the few speckles that occurred during our learning curve dried completely smooth and even – perhaps a testament to the paint as well.)


In total, two coats of paint did the job, and we still have a quarter gallon of our paint left! Color us impressed. (Another side note: I always wrap the nozzle with a plastic baggie between coats to prevent any chance of dry out between coats.) We allowed everything to dry in our garage overnight, and the next day, we brought it into the guest room and bolted it to our simple metal bed frame:


We threw on our adorable guest room bedding (seriously, this room is kicking our room’s ass), and I swear Scott squealed. (Okay, me too.) It perfectly mimics the opposing wall’s paper, and the black tones down the overt girliness – it’s a win-win combo, we think! Also, Nein! Nein! Nein! is officially our favorite black.


Above, you can see that the headboard detail comes down to almost the top of the mattress, so we’re toying with the idea of raising the whole headboard a good six inches or so. We didn’t take into account our box spring when we first installed it, and once I pile on the pillows, well, we don’t want those details getting buried.

This might be our favorite dumpster dive to date. Anyone want to share the story of theirs? (And openly admit to your dumpster diving prowess?)

PS: We’re sharing our favorite yard sale tips and tricks on the Bali Blinds blog this week. It’s not too late to purge before we get carried away with holiday madness. Hop on over!

This post is in partnership with Wagner SprayTech. We were gifted the Flexio 590, and every word is ours. Thank you for supporting those that support us! xx.

  • Sara - October 23, 2014 - 7:01 AM

    Love, love, LOVE this! Extra points for helping me rationalize my own trash-picking/hoarding-of-treasures-for-future-projects ways. The guest room is coming together beautifully. Lucky future guests!ReplyCancel

  • Ilse - October 23, 2014 - 7:34 AM

    We live quite an old house with beautiful moldings and trim that has been terribly renovated in the past. For example, some of the window trim in the kitchen was just cut away in order to make someone’s tiling job would be easier.

    Just YESTERDAY we found that one of our neighbours totally gutted their house and we took many great pieces of trim from their scrapheap that matches ours PERFECTLY. I am so hapy! Time for some restauration!ReplyCancel

  • Katharina - October 23, 2014 - 7:59 AM

    WOW! what a difference!
    I love the dramatic look of it!
    Great color!

    You two are my reno & DIY idols! … please let me know if you are ever up to a (working/renovation)holiday in Europe… there’s a little treehouse in the heart of Europe which probably would need a few more handy helpers and some overseas experts! ;)

    keep up the good work. I really enjoy your blog… kept us going through some hard renovation times.
    from Vienna with love, KatharinaReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 23, 2014 - 8:51 AM

      Girl, please! I’ve been following your adventures, and you guys are rock stars! (And I want to have a big puppy play date!)ReplyCancel

      • Katharina - October 24, 2014 - 2:09 AM

        means a lot to hear this from you! thank you, kim.
        And the puppy play date is set! :)ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square - October 23, 2014 - 8:20 AM

    Love this! I notice that you used the paint/primer combination. Any concerns about not using primer on its own first? (I always tend to go overboard and use primer even if it’s included in my paint as well. Which probably defeats the purpose of getting paint+primer in the first place.)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 23, 2014 - 8:50 AM

      The TSP helps with the paint adhesion, but since this is the same paint we used on our outdoor porch swing (without priming first), we’re not too worried! And because it’s exterior grade, we felt pretty good without primer. With heavy use furniture however (things like a desk or anything that gets surface use), we’re like you – using a good primer no matter what!ReplyCancel

  • Kris - October 23, 2014 - 8:50 AM

    That is one awesome headboard!!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - October 23, 2014 - 8:54 AM

    This room is shaping up to be AWESOME! Can I come stay at your house? ;)

    Also, can I just say I really admire the way you guys work sponsors into your posts? It always seems like the products you get to use are interesting and add something, rather than just being a super tacky add-on that doesn’t fit with the blog. Not sure I’m describing that right but hopefully you get what I mean. It can’t be easy to do (based on all the times I’ve seen sponsored blog posts done poorly!) so I’m just really impressed!

    And while I’m on a roll with the compliments, the other thing I love about your blog is how you guys really balance fun design stuff (and I love your taste) with the more technical nitty-gritty of the DIY projects. I feel like I get so much out of this blog. So thanks! Keep it up!! :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 23, 2014 - 9:00 AM

      Thank you so much, Rachel! You can stay at our house all day long when you talk like that ;)

      And much appreciated about your sponsor thoughts – we know you guys can tell if something feels off, and we wouldn’t feel right working with a company that we don’t support ourselves. We’re truly grateful to have the opportunity and be able to share with you.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah Rose - October 23, 2014 - 9:19 AM

    You mentioned in the post having a bucket water for diluting. Do you have to dilute the paint when you use a sprayer? I bought one recently (and used it to cover some dining room chairs), but it was a complete FAIL. The sprayer was supposed to be OK for undiluted paint, but I wondered if maybe I should have done it anyway…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 23, 2014 - 9:24 AM

      Oh, great catch! I updated the post to reflect that the water was for diluting the TSP. The paint was NOT diluted at all. How did the project fail? Splatters? Unevenness? I know Wagner has a customer line you can call if you used their product and they can help talk you through any problems you may have had!ReplyCancel

  • Alison - October 23, 2014 - 9:34 AM

    I second the sponsored bit. I am so sick of non related sponsored posts. Yours always relate to the project at hand.
    I have to admit that I never would have seen the potential in that, and it turned out great. It’s fun watching the room come together.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly | Turning It Home - October 23, 2014 - 9:55 AM

    Ah! What a great find! I have a work-in-progress dumpster dive chair that has been halted due to construction. Speaking of which, I don’t know HOW you lived through all that dust for so long! I can barely breathe and we’re not doing half as much as you did. You are a trooper, for sure.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 23, 2014 - 9:58 AM

      We weren’t always the happiest of campers… Hang in there!ReplyCancel

  • susan - October 23, 2014 - 10:03 AM

    Whoa! That.Is.Fabulous!

    I’ve been waiting to see what this headboard would turn into, and you guys outdid yourselves. The color is gorgeous and must look great with the wallpaper. I missed not seeing a picture of more of the room with the bed and headboard, but your shots do show the details so beautifully…

    I’ll echo the appreciation for this purposeful sponsored post. Kudos!ReplyCancel

  • GreenCanary - October 23, 2014 - 10:55 AM

    My best dumpster dive was for a solid teak mid-century rocking chair I saw sitting on a pile of trash in Washington, D.C. I stopped my car in the middle of the road, grabbed that chair, and shoved it into my car. One of its runners was dog-chewed, but the thing was dang beautiful. I got it home and did a little research… Turned out that my garbage chair was a Model 182 teak spindle-back Danish rocker designed by Frank Reenskaug for Brahmin Mobler in 1958. You can find them online ranging in price from $700 to $1,800. I hit the jackpot!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 23, 2014 - 11:10 AM

      That is AWESOME. Don’t you love it when people don’t know what they have? That’s hard to find in bigger cities!ReplyCancel

      • GreenCanary - October 23, 2014 - 2:36 PM

        I do love that! That chair is my pride and joy. Liz Lemon of 30 Rock had one in her apartment, as did Frank Sinatra!ReplyCancel

  • Jillian - October 23, 2014 - 12:04 PM

    OMG Kim, I love this headboard! Awesome job, you two!ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - October 23, 2014 - 12:05 PM

    Isn’t it amazing how a coat of paint totally refreshes an old piece? I love this! It really encapsulates your style and it’s awesome that you snagged it for free! I’m also very much in love with those sheets!ReplyCancel

  • Steph - October 23, 2014 - 1:28 PM

    That looks fantastic! The details look so great in that colour.ReplyCancel

  • Rosie - October 23, 2014 - 4:10 PM

    I like to make groupings of furniture and have cozy decor with throws, pillows, coasters, candles, magazines, plants that make it warm and welcoming.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel @ My Two Pitties - October 23, 2014 - 6:19 PM

    Very cool! I’ve found so many amazing freebies on Craigslist and a few on the street too:) I also love Schoolhouse Electric…I want to buy everything on their site! I have a few of their light fixtures and signs, totally fits with our 1922 craftsman house:)ReplyCancel

  • Nikki Kelly - October 23, 2014 - 10:47 PM

    Have you looked into smaller box springs. I don’t know how much shorter they are, but if it works it would be an easy fix.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 24, 2014 - 9:06 AM

      That’s definitely another idea! We already have the box spring though, so it would be less time to just raise the headboard and bolt it a little higher :)ReplyCancel

  • Michael - October 24, 2014 - 2:54 AM

    That looks really adorable. Where could I find those headboard designs? I want to have my own personal touch with my bed too, and I wanted to choose my own headboard design to be installed on mine. Thanks for your story.ReplyCancel

  • Trude - October 24, 2014 - 9:42 AM

    Looks amazing! What a find! My roommate found an amazing chair for her desk on the street just before we moved in, solid wood arms and legs and mint green vinyl in near-perfect condition. Just had to wipe down the vinyl, lightly sand the legs and oil all the wood and it was good to go!ReplyCancel

  • Jaime - October 24, 2014 - 11:27 AM

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS HEADBOARD!?!?!?! It is so AMAZING!!! And you found it in the TRASH?!?! Wow. I love how you guys can “see” the potential in items that others do not. I wouldn’t have given that headboard a second glance, ok maybe, but it would be to point out how “gaudy” it was…but add the dark paint to give it a modern touch and WOW you’ve got yourself a STUNNER! And that is why I am not running a successful design/decorating/DIY blog. LOL. Great find, and great job!ReplyCancel

  • Kyla @ HouseOfHipsters - October 24, 2014 - 12:02 PM

    The name of that paint cracks me up! This is awesome. I’ve always wanted to try a sprayer, but I’ve been hesitant. I picture it everywhere. The headboard turned out awesome. Elegant and edgy all at once! And when it comes form the Alley it makes for a really cool story.ReplyCancel

  • Kaleigh - October 24, 2014 - 9:12 PM

    Amazing! Seriously AMAZING! Can someone please throw something like this out along my road?ReplyCancel

  • Monika - October 26, 2014 - 10:55 AM

    Whoa, that IS one spectacular job. Love, love, love the black and the details on that headboard…can I just squeal?! Great job, guys (as always).ReplyCancel



There are cute things happening in the guest room! Let’s go!

This month, we teamed up with Ace Hardware to gather supplies that would warm up our guest room and make it a place that would be inviting for our friends and family. For this project, we put our vintage school desk to work, incorporating it into a neat stack of shelves that, as a whole, would be functional and purposeful – but adorable, too!

Starting first with the desk, we loved the old, natural character that had been worn into its surface, so I did nothing more than a regular wood refresh with a natural Danish Oil and a Feed-N-Wax polishing. There are telltale signs on the bottom of the desk that shows it was once mounted to a stand, but in our case, we wanted it to float on the wall with the rest of the soon-to-be shelves.

Because there was a lip on the back, we glued strips of paint stir sticks to close the gap and allow the desk to sit flush against the wall:


After drilling our pilot holes, we checked to see if we’d hit a stud, but the placement fell right in-between them, so we used a combination of four toggle bolts and washers to keep everything safe and super, super sturdy.

guest-room-shelves-03 guest-room-shelves-04

With the desk in place, it was on to the shelves! We wanted to keep everything clean and simple, as the guest room itself is extremely narrow (it’s barely 7′ wide!), so we opted for an inexpensive 2×10 common board. After a bit of measuring and fussing back and forth on the final width, we landed on an arrangement of two shelves above the desk and a shelf extension-of-sorts to align with the desk top.

This was all very specific to our needs, but after squaring the edges of the 2×10 on our table saw (using the same technique as right here), our depth came to 8 3/4″, and we were both happy with a width of 34″. However, after more (let’s call it) fussing, we tossed around the idea of rounding the shelf corners – not only to prevent sharp protrusions in a small room, but also to mimic the edges of our school desk.

I used a roll of tape to trace the line, and Scott followed that up with our jigsaw. A good sanding helped to smooth everything out and give it that final, polished edge.


For this relatively easy DIY, we are loving the immediate impact it has on the room! I threw a few items up on the shelves for fun, but there will be a few more things to come to keep our guests feeling right at home. The teensy desk is large enough for a laptop, and it should be a great little spot for sending quick emails – or even just spreading out travel accessories and knick knacks.


We wanted the stain of the shelves to closely match the desk, but we also wanted to do so without going too red, as you’ll notice the desk has some heavy red-orange undertones. I stared at the stains in Ace for a good 20 minutes (I wish I was kidding!), and the final result was a big stain cocktail of Cherry, Special Walnut and Dark Walnut (all Minwax). While it’s not an exact match to the desk, it’s pretty close without being red!, and it has an overall vintage look that mimics the desk, too.

Originally a silver metal, the brackets were sprayed with a matte black paint, and we used black anchors for the wall and wood screws for the shelf. The overall result of black + medium wood feels streamlined (check out that narrow profile below!) and somehow slightly nostalgic at the same time. I can’t say that was ever our plan, but we’re absolutely embracing it.

guest-room-shelves-07 guest-room-shelves-09

But! You know we couldn’t get through a project without a little DIY drama, right? This old house threw a curve ball at us with a funny, obnoxious boxed in stud (or something?). To the right of the stud, an additional sheet of drywall was installed, making it a thicker wall than that on the left. (I mean, of course!) Rather than fight it, we played along; a notch was cut into each shelf, and we shaved down the overall depth of the right side only an extra 3/4″ on the table saw. Problem solved!


Silly studs aside, can we move on to our favorite part? After sharing the school desk with you in our Elkhorn round-up, reader Michelle suggested we carve our initials into the desk, to which we replied, yes! Overall, the entire desk + shelf system isn’t terribly complicated (that is, assuming you don’t also have two different walls at different thicknesses, separated by a drywall-ed stud on the outside, hmm?), and sometimes, that’s the best kind of project. Easy. To the point. Useful and practical.


All our materials were picked up at Ace Hardware, and by now you know that Ace enjoys spreading that love to you, too!  So together with our friends at Ace, we’ll be giving away a $100 Ace Hardware gift card to one lucky reader! The giveaway runs through this Friday, October 24th at 5pm CST, and the winner will be announced within this post by Friday evening. Simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck and happy entering!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


We’re excited to be collaborating with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel! Ace has provided us with compensation and the materials necessary to complete this project (hey, thanks, Ace!), and all opinions are our own. Cute puppies are an added bonus.


  • Alison F. - October 21, 2014 - 7:00 AM

    I love the initials carved into the desk! It’s such a cute, personal touch. Next year I have to make it to the Elkhorn Flea Market!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay - October 21, 2014 - 7:18 AM

    I love the idea of mounting the desk top on the wall!ReplyCancel

  • Christy - October 21, 2014 - 7:33 AM

    Great look! I’m sure any guest will feel right at home.ReplyCancel

  • Ann - October 21, 2014 - 7:36 AM

    A little treat always helps guests feel at home. The desk is awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - October 21, 2014 - 7:41 AM

    You guys are making this tiny room a really great space for guests. Can’t wait to see the final reveal namely that headboard! Love your initials in the desk…

    oh, and thanks for a great give-away!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 21, 2014 - 7:54 AM

      Thank you! I’ll be sharing that this week!ReplyCancel

  • Chaney - October 21, 2014 - 7:50 AM

    my best tip is be welcoming and allow my home to not quite be perfect so that people feel like they can just flop down on the couch and not worry about messing things up!ReplyCancel

  • Kristin - October 21, 2014 - 7:54 AM

    Since it’s fall, a cozy blanket and nook for guests to catch up on their email, etc.ReplyCancel

  • Jess S. - October 21, 2014 - 8:00 AM

    Keep it clean and neat, but not overly perfect – I want people to feel like they can relax and enjoy their time with me.ReplyCancel

  • Amber - October 21, 2014 - 8:05 AM

    Love the stain color with the black brackets! I’ve been planning some shelves like that myself. The initials on the desk are too cute!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - October 21, 2014 - 8:22 AM

    I keep staring at that dog picture. I love it!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 21, 2014 - 8:59 AM

      That was also picked up at Elkhorn. We didn’t buy it for the print, but once it came home with us, the dog had to stay!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - October 21, 2014 - 8:24 AM

    P.S. My best tip is to keep a small fan in the room for people who need white noise to sleep!ReplyCancel

  • Cait - October 21, 2014 - 8:25 AM

    The desk and shelves look great! I love the rounded corner detail, and your initials!

    I *almost* laughed (in solidarity, I swear!) at the stud (or something?), because it reminds me of our house. Specifically our living room, which was originally a back porch, so the ceiling is only a bit over 7′ high, and we have two of those studs (pillars?), plus a giant beam down the middle of the room. Also the ceiling (and floor) on one side of the studs/pillars/beam is about an inch lower. It also reminds me of the time R & I installed the desk in the closet of our art room and realized that measuring up from the floor was useless because the floor isn’t even close to level. Ah, old houses.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 21, 2014 - 9:00 AM

      Ha! Yeah, we totally stopped measuring from the floor as soon as we moved here. The floors are practically like ocean waves – up and down, up and down. Ripple, ripple. Good times ;)ReplyCancel

  • Ariella - October 21, 2014 - 8:26 AM

    My husband and I just bought a house, and I’m definitely using some of your ideas to make it more cozy and livable. First on the list? Cleaning up the fireplace brick!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 21, 2014 - 8:58 AM

      Yes, that made a HUGE difference in our studio! And CONGRATS on the new home!ReplyCancel

  • Alex - October 21, 2014 - 8:34 AM

    I am so jealous of your jigsaw, but cute project!ReplyCancel

  • Kristin Traniello - October 21, 2014 - 8:39 AM

    LOVE that you guys carved your initials in the desktop…its the perfect finishing touch. The desk looks great especially with the shelves..they compliment each other well!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - October 21, 2014 - 8:43 AM

    I don’t think i’ve ever thought about it (which kind of makes me feel like a horrible person!!) but we do have a brother-in-law who stays with us 4/7 nights. We try to make him feel welcome with fresh sheets, a warm bed, and his favorite drinks & snacks in the fridge!

    LOVE the desk!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - October 21, 2014 - 8:45 AM

    I love the desk, and the initials are super cute!

    To make people feel at home in my home I’ve tried to make sure our guest room is cozy. When they arrive the bed will be made up, there will be extra blankets in the winter and in the summer an extra fan. They will have fluffy towels and the closet is cleaned out so they can put whatever they need to in there.ReplyCancel

  • Maria - October 21, 2014 - 8:49 AM

    The best way to make someone feel at home? … Feed them!ReplyCancel

  • Lorie Smith - October 21, 2014 - 8:55 AM


  • Lazy Smurf - October 21, 2014 - 8:59 AM

    My dogs work to make sure everyone feels incredibly welcome.ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - October 21, 2014 - 9:02 AM

    So cool and I love that you carved your initials into itReplyCancel

  • Amanda - October 21, 2014 - 9:05 AM

    ugh. your guest room makes mine look beyond pitiful – and i’ve had four years to pull it together!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Merlini - October 21, 2014 - 9:05 AM

    The desk and shelves look great! As do the green chair, the wallpaper, and everything else you have going on in there. Can’t wait to see the finished room! And yes, the carving of the initials may just be my favorite part. :) (Thanks for hosting the giveaway!!)ReplyCancel

  • Amy - October 21, 2014 - 9:05 AM

    Love the rounded corners, and strongly second the fan for white noise. :)ReplyCancel

  • Heather - October 21, 2014 - 9:12 AM

    Totally adorable and functional. I am really loving that cute little room.ReplyCancel

  • Bethany W - October 21, 2014 - 9:18 AM

    I hate wearing shoes in the house, so when we have people over I make sure they know they can ditch the kicks and make themselves comfy!ReplyCancel

  • Nate - October 21, 2014 - 9:18 AM

    Family pictures make a room feel “home-y”ReplyCancel

  • Nicole Stone - October 21, 2014 - 9:29 AM

    We always have plenty of beverages and treats to choose from. I’m Italian, so food=family.ReplyCancel

  • jenn aka the picky girl - October 21, 2014 - 9:42 AM

    I love all of this, but THAT CHAIR against THAT WALLPAPER. Are you kidding me? It is drop dead gorgeous. Love, love. I would never want to leave that room.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 21, 2014 - 9:46 AM

      I KNOW, it’s crazy! Thank you! We had considered putting our yellow chair in the guest room, but it wasn’t as stunning as the green velvet. I’m a little sad because I LOVE the green chair, and now I can’t stare at it all the time. Perhaps it’ll have to get rotated around the rooms a bit, just so it can come out and play.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - October 21, 2014 - 9:49 AM

    I always try to keep a special snack I know my guests like!ReplyCancel

  • Cheryl - October 21, 2014 - 9:58 AM

    Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • Simone - October 21, 2014 - 10:08 AM

    My favorite way to help guests feel at home in my space is to have something delicious bubbling on the stove, and a few candles burning for good measure. Warm, spiciness in the air and soft, flickering light = cozy x a billion. Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • AnnMarie - October 21, 2014 - 10:12 AM

    I love these shelves! I think rounding the leading edges really made the whole project (unless it was your initials carved into the desk?). And I’m also loving those greens! For some reason that green pot is siren-calling to me…ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Flasche - October 21, 2014 - 10:13 AM

    Love how this project allows the desk to stand out and still be useful.ReplyCancel

  • KateJ - October 21, 2014 - 10:16 AM

    Great solution for the varied wall depths! And carving the desk??– one of our regrets from early in our marriage is not carving a heart and our initials in the big maple tree just outside our first home.ReplyCancel

  • Trilby C. - October 21, 2014 - 10:28 AM

    Those shelves are perfect! We’re stuck trying to decide on our next purchase at Ace – should it be a router or a jigsaw? Both will be so useful! Thanks to this post, now I’m leaning towards the jigsaw. Decisions, decisions!ReplyCancel

    • Trilby C. - October 21, 2014 - 10:31 AM

      Shoot – I never read the rafflecopter blurb that says what I’m supposed to comment about until it’s too late! For our guests in the winter (which we’re rapidly approaching), I always have a big pile of blankets on the bed. We leave our house on the cooler side, so I’m careful to make sure they’re warm when they’re in their room!ReplyCancel

      • Kim - October 21, 2014 - 10:33 AM

        If it helps, I will say that we use our jigsaw for a LOT of projects – it comes in handy in so many ways!ReplyCancel

  • Thom - October 21, 2014 - 10:41 AM

    To make my guests feel at home, I always try to offer them a drink. Water, beer or whiskey are usually the options available.ReplyCancel

  • Kris - October 21, 2014 - 10:47 AM

    The carving is a nice touch!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - October 21, 2014 - 10:57 AM

    This probably makes me sound like a total alcoholic, but you should turn that desk into a mini-bar, like at a hotel. Fill it up with tiny bottles of booze and some snacks. Like the desk we all wanted in school…ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 21, 2014 - 11:11 AM

      No, it makes you sound like a genius!

      At this point, we were thinking we might put travel-sized goodies in there (toothpaste, hairspray, etc), but we’re still on the fence! The ACTUAL “bar” is only a step away from the guest room, but teeny booze bottles would be too cute.ReplyCancel

  • amelia - October 21, 2014 - 11:05 AM

    i love to plan activities and meals when my family and friends come to visitReplyCancel

  • Traci McCool - October 21, 2014 - 11:15 AM

    I love this idea, wish I had the tools to make it happen.ReplyCancel

  • Bridget P. - October 21, 2014 - 11:18 AM

    Very nice and simple project!ReplyCancel

  • Bridgette R - October 21, 2014 - 11:22 AM

    I like to make sure I always have some little treat and drink I can offer guests. If they are staying overnight leaving a little goodie basket in the room is always a nice touch.ReplyCancel

  • Laura J - October 21, 2014 - 11:29 AM

    I think for our overnight guests, I always try to create a warm space in the spare bedroom for them! Make sure it looks homey! I love what you did with the initials in the shelf! That is so cute!ReplyCancel

  • Jaime - October 21, 2014 - 11:40 AM

    How cute are those shelves?!?! I love old houses and their funny quirks! We found an old school desk (similar to yours except it is attached to a seat that has a drawer under it) and I cant wait to clean it up for our daughter! I want to leave the wood so I will definitely be referencing your stain cocktail technique to get the color right. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 21, 2014 - 1:08 PM

      Awesome! Just a heads up that for the desk, all I did was oil it down with Watco Danish Oil (natural) and follow that up with Feed-N-Wax. The stain cocktail was to get the common board shelves to blend a bit.ReplyCancel

  • Jess - October 21, 2014 - 11:41 AM

    When I was growing up, my sister and I had two antique school desks in our basement “play school.” Your desk looks so similar to those and brings back such fond memories.

    I am new to having overnight guests, as I just recently moved into a two bedroom apartment with room for such guests. I like to provide them with anything they might possibly need up front (or information on where to find things up front) so that they won’t need to ask a question each time they need something. I want them to feel at home at my home.ReplyCancel

  • Alison - October 21, 2014 - 11:51 AM

    To make our guests feel relaxed offer drinks and food!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - October 21, 2014 - 12:44 PM

    Just stumbled upon your site + I am in love! My husband and I are in the process of getting preapproved for a mortgage, so we can hopefully put in an offer on a house we have our eye on :) I will definitely be perusing your archives!

    I’ve been blessed with friends and family members who are quite gifted in the crafty area, so I have a lot of pieces hanging on the walls or displayed on shelves from them. It makes our rented apartment feel very homey and reminds me daily of my blessings, and the pieces are always a hit when they come visit :)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 21, 2014 - 1:06 PM

      Glad to have you – and fingers crossed you find The One!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - October 21, 2014 - 12:44 PM

    I like how the plant and chair tie together.ReplyCancel

  • Shannon - October 21, 2014 - 12:51 PM

    Wine and throws!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - October 21, 2014 - 1:07 PM

    We always put out ice water and snacks when people arrive in case they’re hungry.ReplyCancel

  • alex - October 21, 2014 - 1:13 PM

    i love to have extra towels and toiletries in a basket in the guest bedroom also lots of candles in various scents with matches for guests to make it feel like homeReplyCancel

  • Jen N. - October 21, 2014 - 1:15 PM

    Snacks…cozy blankets…and a home that doesn’t feel like a museum.ReplyCancel

  • Crystal - October 21, 2014 - 1:23 PM

    Love the initials on the desk!ReplyCancel

  • Heather B - October 21, 2014 - 1:55 PM

    I love having my guest’s favorite breakfast items (including their creamer of choice for coffee) available to them. I usually just ask what they eat for breakfast before they arrive!ReplyCancel

  • Beth - October 21, 2014 - 2:05 PM

    We are pretty relaxed and casual, even if our house isn’t perfect, our guests know that we are really glad they are here!ReplyCancel

  • Laura Igram - October 21, 2014 - 2:11 PM

    The best thing for making guests feel at home are comfortable bed linens and a welcome from our family dog.ReplyCancel

  • Mary G - October 21, 2014 - 2:16 PM

    The initials carved into the desk adds the cutest little touch. Love the way the guest room is coming together!ReplyCancel

  • Justynn @ Creative Life Antics - October 21, 2014 - 2:36 PM

    The initials are TOO CUTE. Stealing this idea for my own home… somewhere :)ReplyCancel

  • Eliza F - October 21, 2014 - 2:49 PM

    We don’t have much space (guests sleep on a pull-out bed) but we try to make friends feel at home by home-cooking some meals! It is a good contrast against all the NYC food.ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - October 21, 2014 - 2:56 PM

    I love the rounded edge detail on the shelf! It’s cute and makes so much sense in this small space.ReplyCancel

  • Mary Frances - October 21, 2014 - 3:31 PM

    I keep a stock of essentials in our guest bedroom. Just simple things that people would typically have to ask for – toilet paper, towels, and I make sure I stock a few favorite snacks for visiting friends and family.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa B. - October 21, 2014 - 3:46 PM

    Cooking my guest their favorite meal for dinner!ReplyCancel

  • jan - October 21, 2014 - 3:59 PM

    Food around the table-ReplyCancel

  • Gina - October 21, 2014 - 4:24 PM

    Love the wood tone on those shelves!ReplyCancel

  • Liz - October 21, 2014 - 5:20 PM

    The carved initials make that desk- great recommendation Michelle!!ReplyCancel

  • Marita - October 21, 2014 - 5:57 PM

    The mounted desk is brilliant! When we researched how best to install curtain rods in our 100+ year old home, it was suggested that we use those toggle bolts that you used for your desk. Intimidating! We found another viable solution; however, some day, we’ll cross paths with those toggle bolts again. Any tips? Or are they actually pretty straightforward?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 22, 2014 - 9:17 AM

      Marita, toggle bolts really aren’t that scary! I wonder why you would have needed them for your curtain rods though… We typically use the 50lb anchors for curtain rods (and even that sometimes is over doing it!). They’re pretty straight forward – I guarantee there are a ton of YouTube videos that show the process!ReplyCancel

  • Mary - October 21, 2014 - 6:02 PM

    What an adorable touch to carve your initials into the desk. I’m loving watching your home come together!ReplyCancel

  • panda flannel - October 21, 2014 - 7:38 PM

    we don’t have a guest room and our guests sleep on the couch in our open plan living room/kitchen, but my roommate who gets up early does this adorable thing where she takes the coffee grinder to the back entry room and grinds her coffee there so it doesn’t wake anyone up. we should really probably step it up a little.ReplyCancel

  • Nicole - October 21, 2014 - 7:46 PM

    My best tip for making friends and family feel at home in my home is offering good food, great conversation, and a comfy atmosphere.ReplyCancel

  • tammigirl - October 21, 2014 - 8:29 PM

    I am constantly trying to make our house warm and welcoming – the kind of place your heart longs for – I’m not sure of the best trick. I just put my heart into it and fill it with labors of love.

    Baked goods help, too.ReplyCancel

  • Haley - October 21, 2014 - 8:36 PM

    I created a basket of frequently left behind items for my guest in case they forget floss, tooth paste, chapstick, ect. I also like to cook for guests. I make sure to vaccume the couch because of a certain feline hairball.ReplyCancel

  • Haley - October 21, 2014 - 8:36 PM

    I created a basket of frequently left behind items for my guest in case they forget floss, tooth paste, chapstick, ect. I also like to cook for guests. I make sure to vacuum the couch because of a certain feline hairball.ReplyCancel

  • Jordan Troublefield - October 21, 2014 - 9:07 PM

    Those are great shelves!!! And that green chair… OH MY SOUL!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - October 21, 2014 - 9:27 PM

    Coffee!! Having mugs set for our guests! Simple but a big deal!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer C - October 21, 2014 - 10:10 PM

    Having toiletries they might have forgotten available in the bathroom or guestroom.ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Tillery - October 21, 2014 - 10:50 PM

    Perfect set-up for guests! Love the desk mounted on the wall.ReplyCancel

  • Tricia - October 21, 2014 - 11:01 PM

    The desk is fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - October 21, 2014 - 11:12 PM

    I love that emerald green chair!! What a beauty. Love the school desk as shelf and storage, great idea!ReplyCancel

  • Lacie - October 21, 2014 - 11:46 PM

    Good sheets & a fan are a must to make guests feel at home.

    The desk is really cute! I can’t wait to see that headboard you keep hinting at.ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - October 22, 2014 - 7:24 AM

    we usually try to have baked goods around for guestsReplyCancel

  • Alexandra - October 22, 2014 - 10:22 AM

    Love it! That part of the room is really looking good!

    I like to have wine, too many snacks, and a cozy duvet ready for guests. :)ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Brown - October 22, 2014 - 10:40 AM

    My home is warm and cozy feeling, most feel welcome when they come to my house. I also try to feed them or offer food and drink; I don’t like to see my guests ever leave hungry or thirsty :)ReplyCancel

  • Linda - October 22, 2014 - 10:44 AM

    To make my guests feel at home in my home I bake a lot of bread and sweets.ReplyCancel

  • Trude - October 22, 2014 - 12:07 PM

    Absolutely love the results! The black brackets really bring it all together with the wallpaper.

    I make it a point to have everything at hand for guests and not make them hunt for anything (I know I always feel weird going into people’s cupboards!).ReplyCancel

  • Samantha - October 22, 2014 - 12:59 PM

    Love the initials in the wood, I’m about to make my son’s loft bed and am going to put his initials in the wood when it’s finished. I love putting out personal soaps and toiletries when guests come over to make them feel welcome.ReplyCancel

  • erica - October 22, 2014 - 1:54 PM

    that desk is so cute!ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - October 22, 2014 - 2:27 PM

    We are in desperate need of shelving in most of our rooms. I love the rounded corner look! I might be stealing that idea.ReplyCancel

  • Eileen - October 22, 2014 - 4:13 PM

    When we have houseguests, I think making sure everyone gets some alone time is crucial to making people feel at home. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn - October 22, 2014 - 6:03 PM

    I just try to make sure they have anything they could need, with a little basket full of toiletries, leaving towels out, leaving little notes if they are here when I have to go to work!ReplyCancel

  • Sheela - October 22, 2014 - 9:05 PM

    I love the shelves! You all have such a nice design aesthetic. As for how to make guests feel comfortable in my home, I tell them “my house is your house.” Works every time!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly D - October 22, 2014 - 9:56 PM

    My tip is to always have plenty of comfortable seating and places to eat.ReplyCancel

  • Moxie - October 22, 2014 - 10:29 PM

    Bedside table with lotion (we live in the desert), fresh towels, and a place for their things. I also make sure we’ve got their preferred soda/coffee/tea on hand.ReplyCancel

  • Birdiebee - October 23, 2014 - 12:16 AM

    Do not overstuff or fill a room because it will feel cluttered. I like to keep a room uncluttered yet warm with great color tones that are inviting.ReplyCancel

  • Rosie - October 23, 2014 - 4:14 PM

    I like to make groupings and have comfy decor throws, pillows, candles, magazines, lower level lighting, plants, coasters, everything that makes you feel comfortable and want to stay a while.ReplyCancel

  • jamie - October 24, 2014 - 1:25 AM

    im not sure if i understand how you bolted the desk exactly. that anchor confused me.ReplyCancel

  • jamie - October 24, 2014 - 1:27 AM

    my best tip is freshly laundered linens, even if its just for the couch.ReplyCancel

  • Darlene W - October 24, 2014 - 1:13 PM

    I keep foods they like on hand.ReplyCancel

  • Haley - October 24, 2014 - 1:44 PM

    What’s your best tip for making friends and family feel at home in YOUR home?

    Fresh baked treats!!ReplyCancel

  • Trinitee - October 24, 2014 - 4:11 PM

    Oh, and my tip for making family and friends feel at home lots of soft pillows on the couch that make it super comfy to stay and chat a while, yummy snacks on hand, and home made play dough around for little ones to get creative with.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - October 26, 2014 - 3:53 PM

    Happy to help! :-)ReplyCancel

  • Michael - October 26, 2014 - 9:09 PM

    Well done! I would want to have the same table in my house, only a little longer that’s good for two to three persons. I wonder what finish would match with our cream-colored wall? I can’t wait! Thanks for this idea.ReplyCancel


Aah, our stairs. We’ve been slowly – very, very slowly! – working on them since we moved into this house two summers ago. After taking down a handful of walls to open the foyer (the first step to transition our two-flat into the single family home it is now), ripping up the old maroon carpet and encasing the chipped, cracked paint with oil-based primer, we let it be. We let it be for almost a whole year, and we allowed our primed stairs to fall into disrepair once again, and so finally, we told ourselves that it was time.

Because we have a back staircase that connects all the floors in the house (you might remember that our master bedroom – the ex-second-floor-kitchen – has a door), we wanted to tackle this project before the cold settled in, allowing us to use those back stairs while paint dries on the interior staircase. And because the main stairs were never properly completed, we had a bit more groundwork to lay. The good news is that we’ve completed the project, they look amazing (yup, biased!), so let’s get to it!

3M™ Wood Filler
ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape
Paintable latex caulk
White exterior paint (risers/stringers)
Black floor & patio paint (treads)

3M™ Safety Products (respirator and eyewear)
Microfiber cloths
Putty knife
Sandpaper / electric sander
2″ angled paint brush
4″ foam roller


WHAT WE DID. Just like the priming step, we worked with 3M DIY once again to get our stairs up to snuff. The stairs themselves weren’t terrible, but primer isn’t meant to stand on its own without a hardened top coat, and so the treads had started to chip. Although these 130-year-old stairs are solid as a rock, we had gradually noticed more pocks and dents appear, which is to be expected in a house of this age. Using 3M™ Wood Filler, we patched in what we could, bearing in mind that they weren’t ever going to be perfect. But isn’t that part of the charm in an old house?


To eliminate the fine dust that kicks up during sanding, I attached our orbital sander to our shop vac (which has a HEPA filter) – also being sure to wear a respirator and glasses. It was a bit tricky to do this on stairs (I had to move the vacuum to the first floor halfway through and balance it along the steps on a few occasions), but it was absolutely worth it! There was virtually no dusty clean-up, although I still wiped everything down with a microfiber cloth when I was finished.


Next, I used a paintable, flexible latex caulk to seal in the cracks and gaps around the stringers, risers and cove molding under each tread. Below on the left, you can see the stairs with caulk vs. the ones without; I swear, caulk is the glue that holds an old home together – what can’t it hide? Once the caulk had dried completely, I applied 2 coats of Ultra Pure White Behr® paint in semi-gloss exterior (we figured it couldn’t hurt in a high traffic area!) on all the stringers and risers. Already, the difference was astounding!


We let this dry overnight, and the next day, it was time to move on to the most impactful part of the project – the treads! You saw that we chose Sherwin Williams® Tricorn Black, and we purchased it in the Floor & Patio paint with a satin finish. (The F&P paint has a more flexible finish, allowing it to move with the wood, preventing future cracking.)

With such a high contrast look, I very carefully taped off the stringers with ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape. As mentioned previously, we were ready to accept that these stairs would never look brand new, but not wanting to sacrifice a clean edge, I made sure to rub the tape firmly along every divot and ripple I encountered. (Which, by the way, was still a lot!) Note: If you’re also tackling a large project, I’d recommend testing the tape on a small inconspicuous area beforehand.


Starting at the top and working my way down, I used a brand new 2″ angled brush and kept a steady hand as I painted along the sides of the treads and around each bullnose. I chose to not tape those areas for two reasons: 1) time and 2) the existing trimwork was a bit of an obstacle I wanted to avoid. After cutting in, I took a 4″ foam roller and covered each tread with thin coats. This was repeated a total of three times, with two hours between each coat so that it was, at the very least, dry to the touch.


Two hours after the final coat of Tricorn Black went on, I took a touch-up can of my white paint back to the top, and I began peeling away all the tape. I held my breath, hoped for the best, and found that I was very pleasantly surprised! With the somewhat rough texture of the treads and risers (for real, no amount of sanding would ever get these stairs totally smooth!), I needed to course correct only a couple of treads. I’ll be honest and say that I was somewhat skeptical to use tape, but I knew the results would be much better than free handing it along the almost-3′-width, and I was confident in my diligence to really seal down the edges.


This project was purposely completed the day before we left for Portland, which would allow everything to dry and harden for a full seven days with no temptation for use – that is, with the exception of the kitties’ paws. In total, I spent close to three days on these final steps (pun intended?), as each component required downtime before starting the next. It’s been close to a month since we’ve had the new look, and so far, so good! There is one step close to the tiled entryway that has received a small (and I mean small, small) scrape, but this is also known as the launch-pad-step from which Jack and CC take their flying leap towards the living room. As they do.


But wait!

Can we please rewind one year and see how far these stairs have come? To call this project a labor of love would be the Understatement of the Year. Starting at the upstairs landing, we knocked down the partition wall for the second floor apartment (eliminating an unnecessary coat closet and raising the stairwell ‘ceiling’ in the process), removed the deteriorating carpet and spent hours upon hours pulling up a century’s worth of padding, staples and nails.


By installing the below knee wall, natural light from that window can now flood into my studio space! A thick, hunky slab of walnut was stained and used as a wall cap, the same dark stain was used for our handrail, and the landing floor was patched in with matching hardwood:

10-stair-reno 11-stair-reno

When you enter our home, the stairs are the very first thing you see. On moving day, we were greeted by another door that led to the first floor apartment. Again, it was one of the first things we were thrilled to demolish, and when the carpet came up, so did a not-so-mysterious, stale and filthy scent.

12-stair-reno 13-stair-reno

And when you walk in now? Navy! Brass! Cleanliness! (Maddie!)


The view from our living room has improved, too! After discovering this adorable arch hiding beneath lathe and drywall, we – sort of on a whim – decided to mimic the same arch in the studio. While we were at it, we widened this doorway a good foot (or two), giving that entryway we’ve worked so hard on more presence in the home. We’ve poured so much into it; why not?

15-stair-reno 16-stair-reno 17-stair-reno

We were warned by a few (and even read a few tutorial and articles on the topic) that black and white stairs, while classic, can require quite a bit of upkeep. Yes, we do need to run our handheld vacuum along the treads a few times a week, but overall, we’ve found that it looks much better than our all-white-primed stairs ever did! We’re toying with the idea of adding a runner, but it would mostly be to inject some pattern and color. The hunt isn’t yet active, but it’s not out of the question down the road.

Also? If you look closely, you can see where the treads have been worn down in the middle, and there are telltale signs of age on every surface. And you know what? We love that.

18-stair-reno 19-stair-reno 20-stair-reno

Looking from the foyer into our living room, we find that we’re slowly unfolding a whole house color palette that feels new to us. Blacks, grays, shades of white, deep navy and bright red! Our love of color has always been a part of us (orange bedroom, anyone?), but it feels different this time around. This old house has been a learning experience in every way, and these stairs have been one of our biggest challenges. As we continually stumble into funny little issues, we’ll say, let’s call this an old house quirk! We’ve got a lot of those – but we never expected to embrace them so wholeheartedly.

I’m excited to be a 3M sponsored blogger, and as part of my responsibilities, I evaluate products from 3M DIY. Opinions are my own and additional product used in the project were selected by me. Looking to get inspired? Visit 3M DIY on Instagram, Pinterest , Facebook and Twitter!
  • Laura Tarlo - October 16, 2014 - 7:40 AM

    WOW! This looks amazing….well done! PS- I love the basketweave!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly Goldman - October 16, 2014 - 7:53 AM

    This is ridiculous. It can’t be the same home. How exciting to be able to walk into a finished entryway!!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble Abode - October 16, 2014 - 9:03 AM

    Kim, all that hard work has definitely paid off. The stairs are great! Ad is the rest of your entry. It’s so cool to watch you grow and expand your skills. Your condo was lovely and so fun, but I’m enjoying this process even more.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 16, 2014 - 9:53 AM

      Thank you! This house is a totally different challenge, that is for sure!ReplyCancel

  • Emily - October 16, 2014 - 9:28 AM

    It looks amazing – good work! And I love all the navy touches. :)ReplyCancel

  • Pamela - October 16, 2014 - 9:39 AM

    Stunning! What a difference! Love the colors and clean lines, great job!ReplyCancel

  • Jaclyn - October 16, 2014 - 9:45 AM

    Looks amazing! You mention that when you pulled up the carpet you discovered a not so pleasant smell. How did you get rid of it? We are renovating a 60 year old house and have pulled up most carpet and cleaned the hardwood but there is still some mustiness and weird smells in the house. ideas?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 16, 2014 - 9:53 AM

      The smell was almost completely in the carpet, but it was eliminated pretty much completely once we put the oil-based odor blocking primer on it. I imagine that you’re not wanting to put primer on your gorgeous hardwood floors, but perhaps trying a vinegar solution would help to neutralize the weird smells?ReplyCancel

  • Heather - October 16, 2014 - 9:47 AM

    It looks gorgeous. The shot from the front porch is just amazing. What a transformation!ReplyCancel

  • mary - October 16, 2014 - 9:56 AM

    Kelly said exactly what I was going to.
    This is just utterly ridiculous. I cannot get over the difference!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 16, 2014 - 10:04 AM

      You guys are awesome. Thank you! That’s what one and a half years will get you… ha!ReplyCancel

  • Laura @ Rather Square - October 16, 2014 - 10:21 AM

    I love all the contrast going on with the stairs, walls, doors, and even the tile. Bold and modern. Nice job!ReplyCancel

  • Alison - October 16, 2014 - 10:30 AM

    WOW, that’s quite an amazing before and after. I hope apartment therapy picks up on this. People should see what hard work will accomplish. Bravo.ReplyCancel

  • Cait - October 16, 2014 - 10:35 AM

    You guys are amazing! Your stairs/entry have come together so well over the last year, and I love all the architectural details in your house. :)ReplyCancel

  • Shelby - October 16, 2014 - 11:09 AM

    WOW – the after pictures are truly amazing!! :) It looks beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - October 16, 2014 - 12:17 PM

    They look great!ReplyCancel

  • richard tuttelmondo - October 16, 2014 - 12:24 PM

    Where did you find that beautiful tile ? Can you e-mail me the store.

    Nice remodel , everything is beautifulReplyCancel

  • Ashley - October 16, 2014 - 1:20 PM

    I love your stairs! I am so jealous of them too. I took the carpeting off my stairs two years ago and wallpapered the rise and painted the treads white. They looked gorgeous! A worker at Lowes recommended adding Polyurethane so that the wallpaper wouldn’t get nicked and keeping the white treads from getting scratched. I followed the instructions on the can, but they turned the stairs yellow, bubbled the wallpaper, and there are air pockets everywhere that collect dirt. They make me so sad everytime I see them! I just need to redo them, and this post has been the perfect push. Your home is looking gorgeous!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 16, 2014 - 1:25 PM

      UGH, my heart aches for you! Next time try using Polycrylic – it’s water based, and it causes NO yellowing AT ALL.ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - October 16, 2014 - 1:51 PM

    It looks awesome! I love the contrast (obviously, considering our own recent staircase redo.) Two cheers for being done with painting stairs!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 16, 2014 - 2:17 PM

      Two cheers?! More like THREE! Or TEN!ReplyCancel

  • Trude - October 16, 2014 - 5:32 PM

    I can’t believe the transformation! Totally worth all the time and effort you’ve put in (and I love that you guys are being so thoughtful and patient, it’s inspirational). And that hidden arch? So cute!ReplyCancel

  • Tori - October 17, 2014 - 8:56 AM

    They look fab! I recently redid my front steps, but luckily the treads were in good shape so I only had to paint the risers. It’s a detailed job that kind of takes forever! Congrats!ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - October 18, 2014 - 1:07 AM

    wow, your home is coming along so beautifully. I am loving those stairs & kind of wish I had stairs somewhere in my house now!ReplyCancel

  • jennifer - October 19, 2014 - 10:31 AM

    Wow! I love how this totally transforms an already amazing space. I have some hideous carpeted stairs in my entry, and now I’m thinking of paint instead of new carpet. Thanks so much for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - October 20, 2014 - 12:04 PM

    it looks wonderful!!!ReplyCancel

  • Julia@Cukoo4Design - October 20, 2014 - 2:10 PM

    Looks so goo! Love the shot where you can see my favorite blue couch too ;)ReplyCancel

  • Jessie LeLievre - October 21, 2014 - 6:57 AM

    Great job! I love how clean and crisp this looks! We just got done (well….I don’t think you’re ever really done) renovating our “new to us” house and painting has got to be on my list of things that I don’t miss doing ;) But, it feels great when you’re done and get to see amazing results like this.ReplyCancel

  • megan e. - October 21, 2014 - 1:06 PM

    I hate to even speak up, because your entry way is beautiful, but I can’t stop glaring at the lack of handrail for the bottom half of the steps, as it’s a building code violation. Anything with at least 3 steps requires an adjacent handrail.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 21, 2014 - 1:43 PM

      Thanks, Megan! This is totally a valid point, and it’s something we struggled with when we decided to open up that wall and have a partially exposed stairway. (Let’s just say that every decision has safety in mind, building codes, etc!) We discussed our options with our contractor, and considering that prior to us, there was no handrail at all, he said it wouldn’t be so terrible to leave it off the first 5 steps.

      If it’s ever an issue down the road, we can always incorporate one later – or if we ever go to sell and it becomes a point of contention, we can always address it. Thank you for the comment!ReplyCancel

  • Linda - October 22, 2014 - 5:09 AM

    Well done, all that hard work and it is so worth it. Looks gorgeous. Love your colour palette.ReplyCancel

  • Alex - Old Town Home - October 24, 2014 - 9:52 PM

    Yes yes yes. It looks so awesome all painted up. Well done. I know how easy it is to let a project go unfinished for a long time, but that means I also understand just how great it feels when you can check a major step off of that long to do list. Well done.ReplyCancel

  • Michael - October 26, 2014 - 9:22 PM

    A woman really did this? You are extraordinary as there are only few ladies who can execute this kind of work. And you’ve made the stairs so neat too. No need for rugs. It’s really beautiful.ReplyCancel