I’ve been doing a little bit of painting around here. Some was life-changing (our bedroom!), some boring (a large return air vent cover), and some fun (lots of fabric paint, our stairs, and some bookends). Today I’m going to show you the stair project, because it falls under my “Little bit of Fabulous” category. This is what I am striving for with this house. I’m nothing if not practical, but I also want things to look good and be memorable. A grad school friend said it best. It was something like “Every great design project has Form, Function, and a little bit of Fabulous”. Ohmygoodness, I think I just found my new catch phrase. Dr. Jay, be prepared to see that emblazoned on something in this house.
Back to Fabulous. I love taking the ordinary and making it just a little more special. Take our stairs. Here’s what they looked like when we moved in.
Unsightly is one way to describe them. Those carpet treads had to go. We painted the paneled walls pretty early on, and then sometime after the floors and stairs were refinished in January, I painted the stair risers the same as the walls. I always intended to give these risers some numbers, and I finally got around to it this summer. It took me a while to decide on a method, which of course changed during the process when I realized my method wasn’t working like I planned.
I considered a bunch of options, number decals being one of them. But I decided that my children would peel those off pretty quickly if they realized they could, so that was a no-go. I also considered making my own stencils, but with the type-face I originally wanted, I couldn’t imagine cutting all those numbers out of a thicker stencil material, and I don’t have a fancy Silhouette Cameo that would do it for me. After holding off on this project for far too long, I finally bought a basic plastic stencil set at Staples and called it a day. I think the typeface is Helvetica, 3″ to fit the risers. Pretty plain Jane.
Here are the stairs with the numbers penciled in. Basically, I found the center of each stair, then penciled in with the stencil. I wanted to get all the numbers penciled so I could see them together just to make sure I was happy with the complete look before I went in with the paint. Then I added the stencils with painter’s tape.
I chose silver craft paint from my gal Martha. I don’t really know why except that I knew I didn’t want high-contrast black and I kind of like the idea that metallics can disappear in the right light. Anyway, I went along painting one night, all la-de-da with my podcast on, until I got to about number 8 (of 16 risers) and I realized that my paint job was bleeding through the stencils. All this work to use stencils and I still wasn’t getting crisp lines. So I did away with the stencils and just free-hand painted the rest of the numbers. This was actually much easier than I ever assumed and, of course, I wish I had used this method from the start. So learn from my mistakes if you decide to paint numbers on your stairs. You don’t need stencils, you just need a steady hand. So: Todd, Kate- this project is not for you.
Here’s how they turned out, after I finally took the time last weekend to fix the mistakes from the bleeding stencils.
See how the silver reflects the light? That, my friends, is a little bit of fabulous. And the kids love it. Well, Mark does anyway. I don’t think Sawyer knows what numbers are yet, but she knows they are shiny and I suspect that’s good enough for her.
Check back soon and I’ll show you the fabulousness I created with some spray paint. Oh, you know it.