Staircase, All Trimmed Out

This summer Steve and I worked on our entry and staircase to give it more character. I started lightening up the staircase by painting the risers white.

We added trim to our stairway and painted it white which made it look like white paneled walls. We also stained the banisters black.

Here's what it looked like BEFORE as I was starting to paint stair risers. It's a beautiful stairwell- it just needed a little oomph!

To stain the banisters, I started by lightly sanding where I wanted to stain (and I mean it was quick- it's just to rough up the wood). After wiping up all the dust, I used green Frog tape to wrap around all the spindles. This part took awhile! I used some cheap throw away brushes to apply Miniwax Polyshades in Classic Black. This product is great because it already has a poly coat in it. The end result was fabulous and required fewer steps than priming, painting, and applying poly.
Once the railings were stained black, I worked on the lower half of the banisters.

Now for the trim!

The trim is 1" x 2.5" pine. We thought this width looked good in proportion to the overall space. We bought 1" x 6" trim and then ripped (cut length-wise) the boards on a table saw.

First, we first laid out where we wanted the trim to go by marking each piece on our walls with a pencil. We tried a couple of different layouts before deciding on a final layout. The shortest section was between the floor and the stair landing. We essentially split that section in half and the space between boards ended up being 22". We used that same spacing for the other two walls. The height of the trim is the same height as the banisters.
Finding the angles between the trim pieces and the inclined staircase was a little tricky. It took some trigonometry to figure it out.   My husband is a math geek so he did this part. Or, you could just cut a couple of scrap pieces until it looks right.

You'll notice the trim is thicker than the baseboard trim so we also tapered those ends with a 45° cut. When the taper was on an incline, we used a compound miter cut.  Once we had all the angles and layout, we cut them on a miter saw.

We used Liquid Nails and a trim nail gun to affix them to the wall.

Once all the trim is up, we caulked where the trim met the wall and we sanded any rough edges. We then painted with one coat of Zinzer water-based primer and two coats of white trim paint.

I still need some art work on that one wall going up, so I'm sure I'll show you what I put up there soon. I'm also probably going to paint the dresser in the corner (still working on that one too).
Here's the back side of the stairwell. 

Everything looks better with some flowers. These lime light hydrangeas have done well this year in our yard and it's fun to bring them in and enjoy them.
The cost of this project was under $100 for the stain, paint, wood, caulking, and glue. Not bad! I really like the white paneled look and it brightened the whole entryway. What are some ways you have found to brighten your entryway?


The Loft: Before and After

I'm very fortunate to visit Martha's Vineyard every summer. Our family has a home where we gather for great reunions (it's been in our family for several generations now). When I was middle-school age, my parents had a separate garage with a loft built so all my sisters and cousins could have our space. The room evolved over the years from a teenage spot to a nautical inspired guest room. A couple of years ago, my sisters and I did a makeover of this room. We had a lot of fun working together to bring this space from a bit of hodge podge to something with a color scheme. 

This door is an example of how I painted furniture in middle school. I think it was awfully nice of my parents to let me do that. 
           Now, Benjamin Moore, Paladian Blue paint. Simple.
My sisters and I painted the bed frames a light blue. The white bedding is from IKEA and the stripe pillow and blankets are somethings we sewed. The side table in-between the beds was a brown wood table I painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint (in Paris gray).
The anchor is from Homegoods, which brings in a nautical touch for sure. I painted a racer stripe down the middle of the dresser using ASCP Paris gray. We painted all the trim white and the walls got a neutral color (I forget the name of it right now, so I'll get back to you about it.) It's amazing what the power of paint can do to change a space.
The mirror was also from Homegoods and the coral bookends came from there too. 

Instead of throwing out our old oars away we decided to use them as decoration. Note to self: never throw out any oars- they make really great wall art! The side table is from Target's Threshold line.
I painted this writing desk in a light gray blue. It was a dark wood that was getting a bit destroyed in it's finish, so it looks nice to have it refreshed. 
This chest was my great-great grandfather's! It is super sturdy and a beauty. We have a lot of wonderful family heirlooms in the home- which we love. 

For the bathroom we installed a new vanity, lights, mirror and faucet and a board and batten look. We were about ready to throw out the small shelf, but decided to paint it white and paste a nautical chart we still had.
We framed more nautical charts to fill the small space above the board and batten.
The whole room has a more cohesive feel to it than the 'before' and it's become one of our favorite rooms. We still have a few more things we want to do like paint the window frames all white and do some kind of window treatment, but it's come a long way.
I will show you some more images this coming week of our home on Martha's Vineyard. Hope you all get to enjoy the last bit of summer!


Martha's Vineyard

 Today I want to show you Martha's Vineyard, the island my family and I love. We look forward to visiting family here, enjoying the beaches, fishing, boating and good food.
My husband grew up on the Island. For anyone who may think living here year-round puts you in the annals of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, that is not typically the case. Tourism is the main industry and helps support the Island economy. Each town on the Island has a different feel to it. Let's have a tour, shall we?

This town is oozing with quaintness. During the whaling era, Boston sea captains would take their fortunes and create estates in this town. There are many examples of sprawling cottages and charming colonial homes.
Edgartown lighthouse
There are beautiful gardens on some of the estate homes here. I know there is a tour specifically to view the gardens in this town (something I want to do next year). Hydrangeas seem to do well on the Island and there are so many window boxes spilling with flowers and greenery.

I don't normally think much about my driveway, but I guess if I had my 'dream' driveway it would look something like this one.
Walking around all the gorgeous shops in this town is so fun. It's a kid's dream store in the Scoop Shack with all the bright candy so wonderfully displayed.

West Tisbury:
Twice a week there is a big farmer's market in this town. Local bakeries sell their bread and pastries too

My kids's favorite part of the farmer's market  is the Bodacious raspberry ice (which is really my favorite too).
 As a kid, Alley's General store was my favorite place to get candy. For my girls, it's now their favorite too. The owner restored this original General store awhile ago and its brimming with all sorts of things you might need from hardware- groceries-gifts. On the Island, there are no malls, or major chain stores just super charming shops (except for some gas stations and Stop & Shop).
 If you like kayaking or sailing, the Great Tisbury Pond is our favorite and it leads to the South Beach (which is the main beach all along the south end of the island.

Oak Bluffs:
Is known for their 'gingerbread homes' or 'cottage city'. It's also a port for the ferry boats that come in. To get to the Island you can either fly or take the ferry ( a 45 minute boat ride from Woods Hole).
Each one of these cottages has such character. In late August they have Illumination night where all the gingerbread homes put up Chinese lanterns on their porches and light them all at the same time. Then, everyone walks around and admires all their decorations. 
Ocean Park

So you want a quaint little fishing village? This is it. Stephen Spielburg's movie Jaws was filmed here and every year you can watch it in the town.

 We love to come eat dinner here and watch the sunset. 

Is known for their clay cliffs and the Wampanoag Indians who settled the area. There are some spectacular beaches and views on this side of the island. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis did have a large estate here until her death and sadly her son John F Kennedy JR and his wife and sister-in-law died in a plan crash off the coast. I don't have really any house pictures to show you of this town probably because most of the homes are tucked further away and private.

I hope you enjoyed a tour of some of the island. Have you ever been to Martha's Vineyard? What was your favorite area to visit? I plan to show you some room make-overs in our family house this week so come back soon.