Making over our staircase

Ever since the many years ago that we moved into this house I have been agonizing over the staircase. When we first moved in we stripped all the (unpainted) wood work in the living room as that was the only room that had the original finish, this included the staircase. But while we then added a finish to the rest of the woodwork, we never did to the staircase. This weekend I was talking to my daughter about it and took pictures to send her so I could discuss painting etc. Once I took the pictures I realized what we had to do, and that is simply to finish the restoration as it was. What do you all think? I love,love, love dark railings and white balusters as are shown in many houses, but since this rooms woodwork has never been painted it might be best to keep the staircase the same esp as the woodwork is so intertwined.
q our staircase
q our staircase
q our staircase
  15 answers
  • Amanda Amanda on Aug 30, 2017
    I think your idea is great. The stair case is beautiful and making it different will make it a focal point instead of it blending in with the rest of the wood work.

  • Dee Gonyea Dee Gonyea on Aug 30, 2017
    Restoring to the original would be beautiful! We'd love to see when it's done!

  • S S on Aug 30, 2017
    i say stay original! Way to many wood items are being painted over thoughtlessly and sometimes we just need to step back and honor the item in its original state.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Aug 30, 2017
    I lived in a house in Galveston that had the old wood still in place, but had been painted many times and you no longer could even see the details that should have been there as old as the stilt house was. We removed all the paint, gave it a light sanding and found the most wonderful woodwork under all those layer. We had spoken with the landlord and asked if we could leave it that way and not paint it. He came over and saw it and agreed that all it needed was to seal the wood and leave it the color that it was. We polyurethaned it and he was very happy and we had a much nicer looking apartment. I think he planned to do the same to the rest of the house as the other three apartments came empty. Keep it natural, it will look much better!

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    • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Aug 31, 2017
      I wish that was true. Some landlords won't let you change anything, much less repair anything. We have had landlords in the past that welcome positive changes to their property, but you can guarantee it will be totally out of your own pocket. When we used to rent we paid for any changes ourselves and did not charge the landlord unless it was something we volunteered to do rather than bringing in someone and they provided materials, usually they would discount the rent for that month. We lived in the same rent house for fourteen years and they never once painted or did any improvement unless they were told to by the inspectors that came through every other year. Thank god the owner told us to treat the house and property like it was our own, so we could at least do a few things like gardens with out getting in trouble with the management company. After we moved out the management company tried to charge us for painting the house and repainting the floors they had painted six years before and replacing sheet linoleum that they never replaced before we moved in. A lot of nerve, huh?

  • Lori Verni-Fogarsi Lori Verni-Fogarsi on Aug 31, 2017
    Something that might be a nice touch would be to leave the railings and steps the original wood color, but make the risers different. You could paint them or, if you're worried about painting them you could give the risers a painted look with contact paper. This could bring a more elegant feel and break up all the brown. It would also highlight the architecture of the railings/posts. Depending on the decor of your home, if it were me I might paint the risers and the spindles either white or black.

    • Merrilee Morrison-Cotter Merrilee Morrison-Cotter on Aug 31, 2017
      This is a very classic touch. It tones down the wood (if you desire that ), yet emphasizes the architecture and still matches the rest of the woodwork.

  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown Holly Kinchlea-Brown on Aug 31, 2017
    i would probably just refinish the oak with stain and varathane ...if you wanted to update it slightly while keeping the integrity of the wood finish, use a darker stain than what is currently there

  • Bud10651951 Bud10651951 on Aug 31, 2017
    I have the same style stair. my house was built in 1927 . stair was all oak, through the years it was painted 5 colors ,Istripped it down and cleared coat. it is back the way it should be . your stair looks great, don't paint it! the wood has it's own great look.

  • Emily Emily on Aug 31, 2017
    Thanks a lot Bud! That must have been a job of work to strip all that wood!

  • Chr4787838 Chr4787838 on Aug 31, 2017
    I would leave it natural . Our house was built during the thirties and overethe years it has been torn up in the name of modernization. Our staircase has been chopped up . They took out they wrap around banisters and cut down the width of the stairs to only 28 inches wide. Now there is not even room for a handrail.

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    • Chr4787838 Chr4787838 on Sep 01, 2017
      No there is not. With all that they torn out, it would involve a total teardown and a rebuild from the ground up. Right now just to fix all the damages from the various straight line winds and thunderstorms that we have had this year . I need to come up with about $75,000. The former owners had the house raised and a block foundation put under the north and south sides of the house. The east side they did put an enclosed porch with a cement floor . On the west side they just put a covered deck,which would be another $20,000 to lift the house high enough to put a cement floor and support S. Then all of the floors on the first floor wound have to be replaced . House is not worth it . I am living on less than $800a month SSD. My state does no include household maintenance as a necessary expense . I receive less than 40.00 in FS. Right now we are being hit by the Tail end of Harvey. I hope this time our county is declared a disaster area. Owning a house is not a great idea when you are disabled .

  • Sue28039999 Sue28039999 on Aug 31, 2017
    Certainly would not paint those steps. Try some Old English scratch cover first -- at least three different shades are available.

  • MK McDonald MK McDonald on Sep 01, 2017
    We had oak all over our home growing up. It was a nice medium to dark brown. And all the way up, including the landing, was a beautifully decorated good quality rug, running up the stairs with the outer edges of the steps still exposed. It was kept snug, all the way up quite easily with some decorated metal bars (can't remember the name of those!) to hold the rug on each step in place. It could be removed at any time if necessary without damaging the wood. So that could be an option maybe? Good luck!

  • Emily Emily on Sep 01, 2017
    Thanks, MK. Actually the first thing we did upon moving into this house was remove stair carpeting. But it was not the kind you are describing which is very elegant. I bet that looked lovely and the house sounds very lovely too.

  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Sep 02, 2017
    Go with your heart. Life is to short to live with regret. Paint it how you want and smile each time you look at it because it makes YOU happy. Don't conform that's boring and you will resent it every day, hard work for something you aren't happy with is insanity. I love your idea.

  • Birdz of a Feather Birdz of a Feather on Sep 05, 2017
    Ours was the same as yours. We stripped ours too but then re-stained it a dark colour instead. You can see the transformation here:

  • Emily Emily on Sep 05, 2017
    Yep, Birds, my husband spent the summer basically working on rebuilding our porch railings for an upper porch. He has turned new balusters and rebuilt some of the old ones (house 112 years old) also columns and posts repaired.

    Your staircase looks very beautiful. Were your balusters toe nailed in or does a plug of wood come out from the stair? (May not have worded that right but hope you know what I mean.)