13. November 2016 · Comments Off on DIY Stairwell Transformation: All Done! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Back in October, while the contractors were working on the bathroom, Dave and I stained the banisters of our stairwell. Wow what a difference it made!


This is just before taking off the masking and putting on the polyurethane gloss coat.

We used the General Finishes Java Gel Stain. Be sure to take your time thoroughly masking the areas. I used brown paper instead of taping several inches down the balusters. After “washing” the oak-colored surfaces with liquid sander deglosser, I used an old clean sock to apply the stain on the broad areas. If you put the sock over your hand, like I had, be sure to wear a rubber glove — the stain will stain your skin for several days. For the fine detail area (such as the underside of the railings near the balusters), a small foam brush worked just fine. More »

The final result. I LOVE it!

The final result. I LOVE it! We have a few things to still put back but we are waiting for the mantel to completely dry.

Tonight Dave finished up the fireplace paint job. Today’s work was mostly just correcting the bleed-under at the┬átape lines.

(That’s a whole other┬árant: we have tried EVERYTHING and can’t seem to find a masking tape that can completely avoid bleed-under. We invested in the good “Frog Tape” and we’ve tried the 3M “Blue” tape. Those run $6-8 per roll but I think we do a better job just not taping at all and being VERY careful. /rant).

Jacob thought the fireplace was looking very bright as Dave was working on it, but once we put the bookcases and white baskets back in place, he seemed to warm to the color.

For reference, here is a “before” picture:

Our next (small) DIY project, freshening up our fireplace.

And for fun, here’s a “really” before picture, from when we walked through the house right after going into contract in May 2013:


From May 2013. No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. The walls were “blotchy yellow” on purpose. Some sort of feather painting thing, I guess.

Many thanks to my dear husband for making this happen.

03. April 2016 · Comments Off on DIY Fireplace Transformation: Work in Progress · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
After one coat of gel stain and one coat of primer. But the difference is profound.

After one coat of gel stain and one coat of primer. But the difference is profound.

I thought you might like to see our progress. Frankly, I haven’t done much personally with this project. Jacob unloaded the bookcases for us, and Dave is doing everything else. More »