DIY Black and White Stairs Saga Continues

Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs, Good Time Charlie, Tutorials

DIY Black and White Stairs.  STILL.  If you have been around here a little while, you might know this is a stop and start project that has been ongoing for over 6 months now.  This is where I will pick up Monday morning. 

Black and White stairs in progress redouxinteriors

We have had a few versions of what we “thought” we wanted to do with the stairs.  The first version (after pulling out the grossest carpet and one million tacks and staples) involved using a belt sander to try to smooth out the Alt board that lay beneath my carpet.  This version was wrong on so many levels.  The edge of the treads was a big rough, splintery mess.  In my genius head, I thought I would just “square” off the stairs and cut off the offending bullnose.  Off I went with my saw.  17 times.  What I didn’t think about was the fact that the stair treads were now to short be actually comfortable and even stable to walk down.  

Stairs during

I won’t go into the painful details at this point.  There was a belt sander involved, and the biggest dust mess I have ever created.  I looked like this for days.

Dust Mask with caption

I went to the trouble of priming, 10,000 coats.  Painting the whole things and sealing it.  Only to decide I hated it and what we needed to do was install real treads and add trim.

Stairs all primed - Copy

I wasted a goodly amount of CeCe Caldwell’s paint and glaze in my experiment too.  Wah!!!!

DIY stairs gone wrong redouxinteriors.jpb

We (I) finally realized I was in over my DIY head.  Suffering Husband stood by patiently waiting for me to come to this conclusion on my own, I think so I wouldn’t have regrets later when we finally did what we should have done in the first place.  Hired a professional. I decided on Builder Grade Solid Oak treads.  They were less expensive, but still very solid, so there would not be dents and scratches.  As long as we were having someone do the work, we decided to add a lovely trim to the wall too. The risers are just inexpensive MDF, cut to fit.  No need to spend money here.

We elected to only have the contractor install the trim, treads and risers.  After the install was over, came the nail hole filling, the sanding (AGAIN), the priming and more sanding.

A few weeks ago I got up the courage to soldier on. Getting to this point involved another round of taping and priming.  I added one more layer of primer.  I used an oil based primer for the stairs and the bannister.  This is the only product I will be using in this project that is very chemically.  I did this to ensure whatever gets on top of it, lots of fingers, dogs, liquids (I spilled my Diet Dr. Pepper while painting) would not affect the wood.   Whose hand is that???  I have old lady worker hands!

Black and White stairs sanding in progress redouxinteriors

And then taping……

black and white stairs taping off redouxinteriors

I painted the bannister in CeCe Caldwell’s Beckley Coal.  I am going with a very slightly distressed look. Just hastening the work of what my children will do naturally.  Speaking of natural, I decided on CeCe Caldwell’s Beckley Coal instead of a traditional paint you might use in a very high traffic area.  I knew this project would be ongoing INSIDE my home and I did not want to expose my family, and myself to days of chemical off gassing.  I plan to seal the CeCe Caldwell’s paints thoroughly and I have no worries in the durability of it from there.

Black and White stairs distressed in progress redouxinteriors

I even managed to get every other tread painted.  For now, and for who knows how long.  My family has to walk up and down every other stair tread.  We all have long legs and everyone is used to the completely crazy DIY mess we seem to stir up around here.

Black and White stairs in progress redouxinteriors

Stay tuned, by the end of the year I just may have a completed stair case.

And just in case you were wondering where Suffering Husband fits in with this project, we decided this would be the ideal time to rip up half of our very large backyard and relandscape.  We believe there should be large projects half completed at all times around our house, or we just aren’t being creative enough.  Hope your Saturday was was more relaxing than ours!  We take Sunday off to rest from our labors…..


  1. Scottiev

    Hooray! I was seriously JUST wondering how your stairs were going the other day and was worried I had missed the completion post. Still wish I was close so I could help you…I know they’ll be awesome when they’re done. XO!

  2. KARIN

    oh Karen…you know I love you! We have 3 unfinished projects going as we speak….I am so excited to see how your stairs look when they are all done and lovely looking. Our poor poor long suffering husbands wouldn’t have it any other way…LOL~

  3. cassie

    definitely the best time to start another big project. 😉 can’t wait to see these stairs! totally feel your pain on all of this!

  4. Diana

    I love your blog Karen, you make me laugh. Can’t wait to see the end product.


    I am totally stealing the line about half finished projects meaning I am not being creative enough and I have those she hands, sad but true. But know this the rest of you is ROCKIN’!!!

  6. Adrienne@Chic California

    This cracked me up. You got yourself into a DIY super mess;) But it makes me feel better because I have been there, done that. Well, maybe not with stairs but other projects. I wonder too how an old lady sneaks her hand into my project photos! Can’t wait to see the final result.
    I’m sure it will be beautiful.

  7. Shannon @ Fox Hollow Cottage

    You teaser! I saw AFTER in that facebook update 😉
    So, you’re working on my kind of time than?
    I started a bathroom makeover last year.
    I just painted the counter top last weekend.
    Everything else was completely done but that.

    Hugs :))) Shan

  8. Barbara Ann

    Your posting is very timely. Tonight we were feverishly looking for the name of the contractor who gave us a quote to do our stairs. If my husband complains at all, I will show him your pictures. Love the picture of the most patient husband in the world.

  9. Catherine

    Apparently I too subscribe to the constant-project-syndrome!
    The stairs are going to be great!



  1. 17 creative ideas for painting stairs - […] cases with stain and paint, but I hadn’t ever considered going two toned with paint like this stunning staircase…

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