Painting The Stairwell + Plans

December 11, 2014

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Even when we painted the great room the first time around, we never painted the stairwell for some reason. Well, actually, the reason is probably that it required major ladder acrobatics and I’m not too keen on heights. I guess it all worked out because we ended up repainting the great room and now that we are 100% sold on the color, were ready to finally tackle our fears and those multi-sheened walls.


Yes, two different sheens on these walls in kind of interesting places.


Another issue we needed to address was the overlapping wainscoting paneling on the far wall. For the past year, I have been saying I want to take it off. But it was REALLY glued on there. Also, the trim on the bottom of the window is actually just doubled as the trim on the top of the paneling. And then there are just 3 little section of baseboard on the landing. Hmph.


It’s been a head scratcher, but we finally determined the best route for this area is to paint everything, including walls, trim, current baseboards and the wainscoting all the same color, Hazy Skies by Benjamin Moore (color matched to Valspar’s Optimus line) in an eggshell finish–which is the same warm green-y putty we painted the rest of the first level. I’ve seen this technique–paint all the walls and moldings the same color–done all over the place recently (this entry is a favorite), and I’m always impressed with how fresh and modern it looks.


I spent most of my day during naps and preschool trimming everything out hugging the stairs and then after the girls were in bed, stretched on a ladder. To get the left side of the wall, where the height from floor to ceiling is staggering, I taped a paint brush to a rod extender and ever so carefully edged my way across the wall. It’s not perfect, but it worked! I ended up painting the wainscoting by hand, too, so the texture would remain smooth and getting in the grooves was proving a little challenging with a roller anyway.


Once Chris arrived with the roller and an extra long extender, it took less than an hour to finish up. Here’s how it looks in the morning.


I love how calm it looks! Painting everything one color really minimized some of the weird things going on. Originally we planned on eventually ripping this paneling off, but I actually really like the subtle texture it adds now that it’s all painted.


We still have quite a few plans for the stairwell, including:

•  Paint banister
•  Paint walls
•  New light fixture
•  Mechanical blinds. We absolutely need something on this window because at night, you can see in our house perfectly. The blinds that were here were fine except unreachable and so, unclose-able. We found a few great remote control options we can’t wait to show you.
•  Tear up the carpet and lay the same ceramic wood we have throughout the rest of the main level.
•  Install baseboards going down the whole staircase to connect with the trim on the main level
•  Lay a carpet runner.
•  Hang some family pictures?


We hope to get a light (and baby gate!) in place in the next week and will tackle the stairs after the new year. I didn’t realize how much the stairwell was bothering me until I woke up to it all painted and felt so happy and relieved. Onward!

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What do you think?

  1. mason says:

    Found it! Fauxdenza! Plenty of info on how to make one of my own – thanks!!

  2. mason says:

    Completely off topic – is there a post about your console in the living room? I want to do the same in m house, I think it looks wonderful. I’ve been searching the blog, but I must not be calling it the right thing – specifically, the low white cabinet on the wall, to your right as you come in the living room . . . Thank you!

  3. Aymee says:

    Love this color and i went to buy it this morning for my condo. Ceilings and walls are getting it but they gad an awful time matching the color at Lowes. I found their version of it, interestingly enough called Woodrow Wilson Putty. In case anyone else goes there for their paint… Thanks for the find tho!

  4. Alyssa says:

    I love this color and idea! Beautiful and different. :)

    I also scrolled through the post a second time this morning and noticed the little Elf on the Stairwell this time around!

  5. Valerie says:

    I may have missed this, but have you considered extending the paneling to the ceiling? Instead of visually stopping at the at the window, it might bring the eye all the way up to the ceiling.

    PS. using the trim to double as window trim gives me a little chuckle.

    • Julia says:

      Isn’t that silly?! We initially thought about doing a paneling treatment similar to the living room in our old house in the stairwell but with the wallpaper nearby and the painting, it just felt like tooooo much. I think anything more than what’s already here would be a little overpowering.

  6. Lauren @ Faith and Macaroni says:

    Looks amazing! I agree- the weird wainstcotting looks super modern now that everything is one color. Nice call! I love it. (And I fear ladders too.)

  7. Looks awesome! Im totally impressed you did that trim with that big ol’ stick!!!

  8. jimena says:

    So much better, can´t wait to see the new lamp.
    And that window is so pretty with the christmas light outside!

  9. kristi says:

    Im an interior designer and we sell hunter douglas products. You should really check into their motorization blinds and shades. They make them with a platinum app so you can use your ipad/iphone to open/close/lift. I highly recommend it! I think a pretty parkland woodblind would be perfect!

  10. Nicole says:

    Can’t wait to read about the mechanical blinds! We have 3 large windows at the front of our house that I’ve been interested in getting mechanical blinds for but had no idea where to start. I guess I’ll start here!

  11. Anya says:

    I actually love the wainscoting now! I think the space under the window would feel very awkward and bare without it.

  12. Evelina says:

    That looks awesome. I’m so amazed at how well you were able to do the edging from afar. I have the same high-ceiling situation with my stairs and that’s the main reason we haven’t tackled painting them. Were you able to keep a really steady hand or did you have to correct a bunch of mistakes?

    • Julia says:

      I didn’t have to make any corrections, but I also have a very steady hand. I never tape anything off. So, if you can paint without taping off, I bet you could do this. It does help that I had the rod supported under my arm, too, for extra support and balance.

  13. Katie says:

    hi! So I know you mentioned mechanical blinds, but we decided on the erod( and used it on our HUGE bay window that sat behind our sofa(and across from my husbands TV causing a glare! ;) ). The price was pretty comparable to plain rods at the similar span. You can actually use curtains if you were interested instead of blinds(but maybe blinds would be better in this case?). Good luck with everything! The paint color looks great.

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