remodel…stairs from the 70’s

Our house was built in the 70s.  It looks like it was built by Richard Simmons.

The interior is painted and carpeted ‘pink champagne’. I had thought the carpet was white-ish but realized when they moved all the decades-old furniture out, it was pink. The white had been bleached over time by the sun. But the walls, no those remained perfectly pinky-peachy intact. Not even the sun could dim those.


For some reason the bannister was where I wanted to start my foray into the  DIY world.  It was a pale oak, kind of dated in my opinion, and the white slats had seen better days (and those days were probably in ’76).

We’re going with a more traditional dark hardwood floor and off white/cream walls look so I had initially thought staining would be easier than starting over.

Cheaper anyway.  Although I’m quickly picking up the fact that nothing is cheap when it comes to remodeling.


My general contractor told me a painter was going to charge me $1,000 to stain our bannister the gorgeous rich mahogany color I wanted.   I thought, that’s crazy I’ll just do it myself.

I work in fashion, not construction.  In my workout class I use 2-lbs weights.  So I’m not quite sure where this ‘I’ll just do this myself’ attitude towards remodeling came from because doing things myself has never really been in my nature.  I’ve always been more of a bat my lashes and hope for the best type of girl.

So here were my tools:


Yes, that is a mirrored wall.  It’s two stories tall.  Like I mentioned, 70s.

When I began this trip into DIY enlightenment, I thought all I needed was some coffee, a couple paint brushes and stain.  I could not have been more incorrect.

stain hand

First off, in all the staining videos on Youtube I watched, they failed to mention you need gloves.  Or a face mask.  I probably should have picked up the fact that everyone was wearing gloves on Youtube but I’m not a visual person.  I need to be told things.


So I went and bought some gloves.  Little did I know, the stain that was already on my hands would last for eternity.  My hands look like they were made out of Oreo cookies.

me and stain

 Then after my glove trip to Lowes, I saw in my retro mirror wall that my face was also covered in stain.  But I just moved here and its not as if I know anyone.  Let alone anyone at Lowes on a Tuesday at 11am.

So I soldiered on with my new gloves, chemical deglosser, sandpaper, residue cloths, sandpaper, tacky cloth and polyurethane.

half and half

Upon completion of my bannister project two weeks later (I had initially projected three days), I now was thinking his $1,000 quote sounded pretty reasonable.  The Home Depot commercials make everything sound so easy.  Well, it’s not.

So next weekend I signed up for another one of their DIY classes.  We’ll see how that goes.  It’s next Saturday at 9 a.m. so let’s see if it even goes at all.

{Final pics to come.  They’re hanging chandeliers}

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