Before + After :: Our Stairs

It’s not the little things that sell a house. But it’s definitely the little things that can keep you from selling a house.

No matter how amazing the granite countertops, no matter how beautiful the feature wall, you will not manage to sell a house if basic things aren’t taken care of. Things like plumbing, electrical hookups, regular maintenance…and flooring. Above all, flooring will get you. Flooring is expensive and it’s a lot of work to get fixed.

Our flooring in the Aloha House was a mess when we moved back in. We knew we were going to have to address it at some point.

And lucky for us, right about the time we were looking to purchase flooring, Home Depot had a ton and a half of hand scraped bamboo in Cafe Java on sale. That was pretty much the deciding factor on our floors. We knew we wanted to put in a somewhat dark flooring to go with the dark wood we were using, but we didn’t necessarily have Cafe Java high on our list. The price point put Cafe Java on our list.

It made a big difference in the house, but unless you knew what it looked like before, you didn’t notice. But when people came in, they did notice our stairs.

Let’s do some before and after. Here’s what the before looked like.

Please join me in a round of “Ewwwww…gross!!!”

The carpet was horribly stained by the red Hawaii dirt, and the black parts? That’s where it was just plain worn through. That carpet hadn’t seen any love or update since the Aloha House was built in 1987. We knew we had to fix it.

We stripped the stairs and cleaned them. I mean seriously cleaned them. We got to work with the Citristrip and bleach just to make sure these things were as clean as they could be before we started installing the treads.

It took some love, but the stairs were finally ready for new surfacing. You might notice, too, that in the process, we transformed that awful red wall into a white one. It only took about four coats of paint {seriously, who paints a wall brick red anyway?}.

We started with the risers.

For the risers, we used MDF panels painted in Behr Ultra Pure White. Since the stairs were pretty solid underneath, we didn’t have to put anything stronger in, but we knew we’d never be able to finish the stairs in anything we could leave visible.

Then we went for the treads. We used planks of our bamboo flooring and bought matching stair nosing. We installed our stair treads plank by plank, and then finished them with the nosing. A few tack nails here and there and there wasn’t even a squeak when we were done.

To finish the stairwell off, we purchased a curtain rod from Home Depot, an oversized clock from Bed Bath & Beyond, and I sewed curtains from discount fabric I picked up at Wal-Mart.

Here’s how the finished project turned out.

Just take a look at the side by side and you’ll see what a difference there is!

You don’t necessarily think about upgrading stairwells when you’re thinking about fixing up your fixer upper, but look at the difference between the two. Making an upgrade to our stairs was definitely worth it.

There’s not too much we would have done differently with this project given more time. We might have thought about a way to fancy up the banister a little rather than just staining and reattaching the old one, but that’s it.

How about you guys? What do you think of this stairway overhaul?


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