Aug 262016
 August 26, 2016  Uncategorized 13 Responses »
More Finishing Details

It wasn’t until I’d finished painting two and half walls and taken a step back to admire my work that I realized I’d made a terrible mistake. I had spent the past few weeks struggling to choose a paint color for the stairwell walls. I sifted through dozens of paint chips searching for the perfect continue reading

May 152016
 May 15, 2016  Uncategorized 24 Responses »
Finishing Details

When it comes to renovating old houses, some people work tirelessly to restore a house to its original state. They relish getting all of the historical details just right – stripping layer after layer of paint from original moldings, finding period-appropriate paint colors, seeking out reclaimed lumber to seamlessly patch antique floors. Others take the continue reading

Mar 252016
 March 25, 2016  Uncategorized 10 Responses »
Slogging Through Prep Work in the Stairwell

In just under two months it will have been one year since we began renovating the stairwell, and I’ve decided that this renovation anniversary will be the unofficial deadline for finishing all major work in the stairwell. The end is in sight, and I’m hoping that setting an arbitrary deadline will help motivate me to continue reading

Feb 052016
 February 5, 2016  Uncategorized 15 Responses »
Adventures in Stripping Paint, Part 2

When we left off last time, I had just covered the most visible baseboard in the stairwell – the one that curves along the wall, following the first flight of stairs – in a thick layer of a pH-based paint stripping paste called Peel Away. Two days later, I was scraping the paste off the continue reading

Jan 272016
 January 27, 2016  Uncategorized 14 Responses »
Adventures in Stripping Paint, Part 1

The day after Mara and I finished putting the last coat of polyurethane on the new stair treads, I walked through the front door and paused to admire our work. The treads looked great – smooth and flat with a subtle glowing sheen. But my attention was inevitably drawn to the baseboard that runs along continue reading

Jan 152016
 January 15, 2016  Uncategorized 13 Responses »
Staining and Sealing the Stairs

My upstairs neighbor and I spent the first Saturday night of 2016 staining stair treads. For the past few weeks, the stairs had been covered in red rosin paper and painters’ tape to protect the newly-installed, raw-wood treads. Since our contractor, Gregg, covered up each tread after installing it, neither my neighbor or I had continue reading

Dec 222015
 December 22, 2015  Uncategorized 1 Response »
The Stairwell Walls are Done!

When I set out to skim coat the stairwell walls, it seemed like a massive undertaking. I figured I’d be working at it for the rest of the winter. But now, a mere 4 weeks and 5 buckets of joint compound later, I’ve finished skim coating the walls and have moved on to the ceiling. continue reading

Nov 162015
 November 16, 2015  Uncategorized 10 Responses »
The Great Skim-Coating Project Begins

The stairwell walls, I think, are the single worst feature of my building’s common space. It took me a while to reach this conclusion. The first time I walked through the front door and into the  stairwell, I noticed that the space looked kind of dumpy, but I didn’t really take note of the walls. continue reading

Oct 212015
 October 21, 2015  Uncategorized 15 Responses »
Imagining the Finished Stairwell

Work on the stairwell has reached a point where it’s possible to imagine the finished space. Gregg is almost done with major construction work, and I’ve started to think about finishing details. Should we hang a mirror by the front door? Do we need an umbrella stand? What kind of runner should we get? And continue reading