Last Friday….. (Notice how these stories frequently begin on a Friday? That’s because when my work week is over I get anxious about what I will accomplish during the upcoming weekend. They say idle hands do the devils handiwork so I try to keep myself busy.) Anyway back to how this all began.
Last Friday I was sitting on the sofa in the family room and the staircase in the foyer caught my eye. It must have been the way that the daylight was pouring through the front door that made me notice how dirty the carpet looked. No matter how often we get it cleaned or the fact that we go barefoot in our house, it always looks dirty. Champagne white carpet is just a dirt magnet. The lint and filth hides in every….little…..crevice and drives me insane.So what I did next is what any other “insane” DIYer would do….I got curious…and I started investigating. I used a screwdriver and a pair of pliers to remove a little bit of carpet to see what the stairs were made of. Obviously this was not a well thought out plan because I just picked the random 3rd stair and went for it.
Was it going to be builder grade plywood stairs, pine treads and risers or beautiful stain grade Red Oak? Because my house is a late 60’s colonial………I just love starting a sentence with “because” I think it’s the rebel in me. We were always taught to not start a sentence with “because” but this is my blog and I can do whatever I want and my side note to you about my risky grammar usage just informed you that I intentionally break the rules and that I’m not ignorant. Because my house was built in the 60’s I knew there was a 75% chance that the stairs would be Oak just like the floors throughout the house. I was right.There truly were Oak Hardwood treads under that dreaded carpet. If I had known that, I would have pulled that carpet up a year ago. I wanted to see what type of condition the wood was in so I proceeded.Using the most sophisticated carpet removal tools (vise-grips) and machines( my foot ), I pried the rest of that carpet off the edge of the stair. This was hard work. The installers must have been hardwood haters because they tried to kill the wood with staples.After about a half hour of prying tiny staples out of the wood, I was left with the padding and a ton of easy to remove staples.I was still anxious as to the condition of the wood under the carpet so I ripped the padding off with one good tug and easily pulled the staples out of the wood. Things were looking pretty good so far so I started prying the tack strips off to get an idea of how many tiny holes I would have to fill when I refinish the stairs. You see how quickly I made that executive decision? In the time between when I first spotted the Oak and when I pulled the padding off, I had already decided that in the next week or so these stairs will be sanded, stained and sealed in the perfect dark Cherry or Mahogany stain. For the record, removing tack strips is the most labor intensive part of removing carpet. You have to be very careful not to ruin your wood with your tools and careful not to sticky yourself with the tacks. Realizing I didn’t want to do too much of this work by myself, I stopped here and cleaned up this one stair. I wanted the hubs to come home and tell me what he thought of the idea.. If he totally hated it, I would just staple that piece of carpet back to the stairs.
Needless to say, when he got home he jumped right in without hesitation.
For the record, I just want to say that those arms are like catnip to me. He could have convinced me to cook him whatever he wanted after watching him work on those stairs in that tank top 🙂 🙂
We worked fairly well together as a team. Him removing those tack strips while I went over every step with a magnifying glass trying to remove every last staple. I didn’t want to ruin my sander or sandpaper on a rogue staple or even worse, step on one of them barefoot. It took us about an hour to remove the carpet, padding and staples from 9 of 15 stairs. We will get to the rest of them in the next few days.
Look at that beautiful wood. I’m so excited to knock this project out but there may be one thing that puts the brakes on this project. A contractor. You see as I stated a while back, I would like to open the wall between the staircase and our office. I need the contractor to come and confirm that this wall isn’t load bearing (holding up the house). If the cost to do the rough work is reasonable then we will hire out but if it isn’t, we will DIY it.
I stumbled upon a blog a while back that inspired me to open up that wall. Tracie at Cleverly Inspired has an entry with an identical layout as mine but just on a slightly larger scale.
Her wall opens up to her dining room which is where my dining used to be before we designated it the office. Our office windows pour tons of light in so it will be nice to have that light flow into the entry and illuminate the staircase. The contractors are coming this week to give me a few estimates. For now the only thing I can do is remove the rest of the carpet, fill some holes and select a stain.
So that you don’t have to scroll back to the top, here is the shot of my entry from the entrance to the family room again.I’m really hoping that the wall isn’t load bearing cause I would love to DIY this staircase remodel 100%.
I’ll keep you posted.