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One Room Challenge | Week Four – Starting The Stairs, + A Rug!

We are officially at the halfway point in this supersized version of the One Room Challenge (8 weeks to finish a room instead of the normal 6). I am SO happy to have the extra time this round! 

Today I wanted to share with you a quick evolution of the foyer stairs in our 80s fixer upper, and why I chose to re-do them after stripping and restaining them a few years ago.

Here is what the stairs looked like when we bought the house.

The upstairs had this really gross stained mint green carpet that made me sneeze a million times a day until we had it replaced a few months after moving in. On that day when the installers were upstairs ripping out that offensive carpet, I got so caught up in the spirit of demo that I tore out this stair runner and the bajillion staples underneath. 

When you buy a house that needs work, just getting rid of gross old carpets is a HUGE upgrade!!! I would rather live with plywood subfloors for years than those carpets any day!!

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The first version I did of the stairs…

DIY installation of a seagrass runner completes a stair makeover in an 80s era colonial.

Ebony treads and bannister, the rest of the orange wood trim painted white, and a herringbone seagrass runner.

Doing the stairs over made our in-process house feel so much more current and we loved the look. However, it turns out I am not the kind of housekeeper who can keep black stairs or floors looking sparkling clean all the time. Those pretty dark treads showed every speck of dust and fur from life with 3 kids and a dog, despite my constant vacuuming, and they made me crazy.


And that brings us to this One Room Challenge and the latest stair remodel!

When we had the floors done last year, I removed the seagrass runner and stripped the dark stain off the treads as much as I could, and then our floor installer took over and refinished them (which is a ton of work!!)

We also had our kitchen contractor replace the newel post, balusters (spindles) and banister with this chunkier square style that we love! This is the newel post we used and these are the square balusters. The banister is white oak to match the floors and our contractor got it from a local millwork shop.

After all the professional work was done and the floor and kitchen contractors packed up and left, this was my project to complete – cleaning up the risers that got pretty banged up during refinishing, replacing a small piece of trim under each tread, and staining the banister.

This finish work is SO time consuming but worth it! I’ve already caulked, filled the nail holes and painted the risers and trim.

This week I am working on installing the new small piece of trim under each tread, at the top of the risers. I’ll also be staining the banister.

Next week I hope to move on to installing the new runner. If you’re wondering why I don’t reuse the old seagrass runner, it was difficult to remove it without damaging it. I also decided to go with a navy border to bring some contrast to the treads and ordered this seagrass runner I shared last week.


The other exciting news this week is that I finally ordered this rug! I hope it’s as pretty in person as online!

I have a small version of this rug by the same company by our kitchen sink and I’m obsessed with it (as is Kaia!) so I have high hopes for the new foyer rug. (She’s twice as big as in this picture now by the way!)

That’s it for this week! Check out the progress of the other One Room Challengers here – there are tons of amazing projects going down!! 

Thank you to our ORC host Linda Weinstein and media sponsor Better Homes & Gardens


One Room Challenge | The Foyer, Week Three - A Few Fun Things!
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Tuesday 2nd of February 2021

Miss receiving your updates thru my email. I had been receiving them but for some reason I am not now. Susan


Sunday 7th of February 2021

Hi Susan, thank you for your kind comment. I am starting back to blogging after taking some time away. You should start seeing email updates once a week or so soon! xx


Thursday 11th of June 2020

Love the new look on the stairs! Can't wait to see the new runner and rug!

Jenna Pilant of Room Bloom Design

Thursday 4th of June 2020

It’s been so fun following along on this space!

Lindsey from Hilltown House

Sunday 31st of May 2020

Love the stair makeover! That is a beautiful stain color for the threads


Friday 29th of May 2020

Stair upgrades are so time consuming - they are looking great, and that rug is amazing!