The Staircase Reveal: Part Two
July 15, 2009
I am overwhelmed at the positive response to yesterday’s post about the staircase remodel. Thank you so much for your kind words.
As you can recall from the ‘After’ picture, I not only redid the railing, but for additional drama, I added a wallpaper treatment to the very blank and boring wall.
Originally, I was going to play it traditional, and add plain white panels to the wall, with molding on top. But I decided to kick it up a style notch, and add wallpaper panels instead. It was more dramatic, and less expensive.
I chose the bold chocolate brown color because I needed something to draw your eye away from that contractor carpet. Don’t look ! Oh no, you looked. I shouldn’t have even said anything.
You can see why I needed to draw my visitors’ eyes away from the carpet. Fear not, it’s getting replaced with wood steps in a year or two, just as soon as my children are a bit older, so as to avoid hurting little heads on slippery steps. But I can see it now: dark stained steps, white risers, I can’t wait!
The wallpaper I chose is Jaisamand in Chocolate from Graham and Brown. No need to order it from the company, it’s actually available online at Target. The overlying pattern is bold but stylish, modern and traditional, all at the same time. The background is a flat mocha color, and the pattern is created from two colors: cream and shimmery champagne. Just my style.
I mentioned yesterday that I didn’t use any wallpaper paste with my wallpaper treatment. Why? Two reasons.
First, I have two small children. As much as I encourage clean hands, there will come that inevitable moment when I find the grubby handprint on my precious paper. By not using paste, the individual panel is much simpler to replace.
Second, when it comes to bold design statements, I can be a bit of a commitment phobe. I may tire of this look in a few years, and want to upgrade it or change it out in some way. Not using paste makes that simple.
How I Installed My Wallpaper Panels without Wallpaper Paste:
Step One: I used a tape measure to calculate the height and angle of the chair rail and marked it on the wall with a pencil. To avoid a vertical cut, I used the existing width of the wallpaper as my standard width for the panels, and with a tape measure and a level, I marked the positions of the panels on the wall.
Step Two: Without covering my marks, I painted the lower part of the wall with Martha’s Saddle Brown. This turned out to be too dark, so I repainted it with Valspar’s ‘Peat Moss’. (I actually lightened the color to match the wallpaper by mixing the paint with three parts Peat Moss and one part white.)
Step Three: Here’s the big surprise. I attached my trimmed wallpaper pieces to the wall with a staple gun. It worked perfectly ! I used a level to make sure it was straight, then I stapled every four inches, using my hand to flatten the wallpaper to the wall. No paste. No kidding. I knew I’d get extra staying power with the accent molding as well.
Trimming the edges once they were up on the walls:
You observant readers noticed that at the top of the stairs is a double panel. How did I keep the seam tightly together? My perfect solution was packing tape. I taped the back of it together with that extra wide but thin, clear, and sticky packing tape. Then I stapled the whole thing to the wall.
If there had been more than two panels, or a much larger section, I would definitely have used paste, but with these smaller sections, my trick really worked.
Step Four: I purchased chair rail and trim from Lowe’s and painted it with ‘Swiss Coffee’.
Step Five: I convinced Mr. CG to trim the chair rail and tack it to the wall. He also volunteered to cut all of those complicated angles with a miter saw for the wallpaper panels. Piece by piece, he hammered the trim to the wall with finish nails. He even spackled the nail holes afterwards. My heart goes pitter patter at the sight of it. Me so very lucky. I heart Mr. CG.
Step Six: Sand the spackle and touch up the nail holes with paint.
That’s it !
One final touch. I had four picture frames that used to hang in the space, but the wood had too much of a red tone to it. Like I did with this mirror, I painted the wood frames with two coats of $2 metallic taupe craft paint to give it a champagne finish.
I printed black and white pictures of our family on my printer, and hung the new frames on the wall. I like how their new finish plays off the champagne tones in the wallpaper.
How much did this cost me? Paint, Stain & Stripper: $60, Wallpaper: $75, Chair Rail & Molding: $60, Prep Supplies: $30, Painting assistance from our friend Mike: $200. Total cost = $425. Mike saved me a lot of time by priming and painting the base of the staircase while I kept the kids occupied. Without Mike’s help, the cost of the space revamp would have been about $225. Just imagine how much it would cost to pay a professional to do the whole thing !
One final reminder of the Before:
I’m so delighted with the end result, and I’m convinced we added real value to our home.