December 6, 2017:


It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Am I REALLY Thinking About Tearing Off the Carpeting on the Stairs...

I cannot believe - just cannot believe - that I am actually contemplating doing this.

But I am.

I don't recall the exact moment this particular infection took hold of my brain.  I think it was perhaps ten days to two weeks ago.  I was sitting at the desk in the front room, which has a clear view of the stairs going up to the landing toward the second floor. 

I went ICK.  SUPER ICK.  I HATE how the carpet looks on the stairs. It is worn out and shabby looking in the worst possible way and I do not think I'd be able to paint my way to Shabby Chic respectability no matter how much I ardently wish for it!  Anyway, I don't believe one actually paints carpeting. Upholstery galore, yes, carpeting, no.  In this photo you can sort of see the worn-down areas where countless footsteps have trod up and down, up and down, over the past 22 plus years!  Alas, I cannot afford to replace the carpeting.

It was then that I got the brain attack to tear up the carpeting and, believe me, I wanted to go at it right that instant!

But, as the old saying goes, discretion is the better part of valor. Or something like that.  Since then, I've been doing unending research into how the heck such a thing is to be done and what to do with the bare stairs afterwards...

There is PLENTY of inspiration for such a project on the internet:

I found this extremely informative step-by-step post at SAS Interiors:

Staircase Makeover: A New DIY Venture Begins
May 21, 2012

This is soooo like my icky old stairs, even down to the medium grey carpeting!  Except I don't have a man around the house with nice muscular hairy arms to help me cut up carpeting and do carpet-tack strip and staple removal and such.  Damn!

Plenty of inspiration, including this more difficult project -- open staircase.  I don't have that, whew!  Thank Goddess for small favors!  Check out this how to from In My Own Style blog:

My Foyer Staircase Reveal
by Diane Henkler on 01/19/2011

Thrifty Decor Chick redid her stairs:

How To Take Carpeting Off Stairs
February 9, 2010

Reading her blog alerted me to something I hadn't really thought about -- what the hell,
exactly, is lurking underneath the carpeting....

Cue scary music while gigantic white shark is eating woman's legs...

After I read Thrifty Decor Chick's blog entry, I couldn't get the horrible thought out of my mind that my staircase might, in fact, be nothing but glued together plywood bits and chopped up branches from my giant Chinese Elm tree out back.

Had nightmares about it.

Decided I just wan't even going to attempt this.  But then, on Friday night after a long hard day at the office, I was feeling frisky and gave my stairs a good feel-up to see if I could determine whether there is a bull-nosed step underneath the carpeting.

I did plenty of feeling-up, but tests came back inconclusive, and I felt like a sex offender. Not only that, I decided this just was not a project I could possibly undertake because once the carpet is off, if I do NOT have decent-enough stairs to refinish, I'd have to buy re-treads and boards to reface the risers (cha-ching) and, even worse, hire someone to come in and cut the suckers to fit with a power saw and miter box (neither of which I own and have no desire to do so), before attempting to do the finishing myself!

Nixed all thought of redoing the stairs.


After chopping down tons of weeds, pruning countless wild grape vines and ruthlessly decapitating volunteer trees, raking endless tons of nut shells yet again (that is what I get for feeding the squirrels) and cutting the grass out back and drinking ginormous amounts of cheap boxed pink wine (LOVE the stuff) all the while, when I finally relaxed on the deck this afternoon and was doing dream furniture shopping online underneath the patio umbrella so I wouldn't get pooped on by the birds, I had the brilliant notion --

-- my basement stairs are bullnosed and of finishable grade, either staining or painting.  Why would the builder use something LESS to make the staircase from first to second floor?

Indeed, why Jan, WHY?

Mind you, I've only been living here 22 plus years and going up and down the stairs to the basement at least a couple of times a week!   DUH!  They are perfectly good stairs. And in those 22 plus years of living here, all I've ever done is sweep them and give them the occasion wipe off with a damp cloth!  LOL!  I've never finished them either with stain or paint, but they could easily be finished with either.  They don't show any wear at all, not even the ground-in grime you'd expect.  I must be neater than I thought. 

But, in an excess of caution, just because you never know -- I got a second brilliant notion to pull out the original plans to the house and see if anything was actually written about the stairs! So, into the secret desk drawer I went and out came the original builder's plans and specs!  Yep, I still have them. 

I put on my super-duper magnifying Walgreens' readers and the specs said, under Number 6, Millwork:

Stairs leading from first to second floor shall be made with fir & pine stringers with pine stairs and pine & fir risers.  Basement stairs shall be made with same stringers with risers and pine & fir treads.

So, if I'm reading this correctly, the basement stair treads are pine (veneer?) and fir, with pine and fir risers and fir and pine stringers (is there a difference between "pine and fir" and "fir and pine"???)  While the "upstairs" stairs treads are solid pine.

The point is, they are basically the same stairs! I can SEE the basement stairs and know they can be finished, they do not have to be covered with re-treads or cover-risers cut to size!  Which means that underneath my ratty old carpeting on the stairs to the second floor are refinishable treads and risers once I get rid of the carpeting, padding, tack-strips and staples, fill in all the holes and sand the hell out of everything or figure out a work-around!  Woo woo!

So I am seriously thinking of tackling this re-do while the family room continues to beg me to finish removing wallpaper and get the paint on and the chair rail installed, already.

Oh my...  But look -- even after serious hand-vacuuming the carpeting does NOT look good.  It has to go!

Already planning on how I'm going to start tearing it up tomorrow night while The Voice is on...

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