Staircase remodel: Before

I still can't believe I'm sharing these photos with the world. Gulp.

The first time we walked through this house, our real estate agent took one look at the stairs and said, "OK, I know why this house hasn't sold yet." The list of reasons why most buyers walked away from this house is miles long and, looking back, I'm shocked that we actually took the plunge. We've spent the last two and a half years tackling our home's flaws one by one, while keeping one very dirty secret: the stairs.

This is the view of the stairs from our living room. The stairs were so bad, we didn't even bother trying to pretty them up with paint (or maybe there were just too many other projects to get to first).

This is the view into the basement (utility room to the left, Adam's studio and our storage room to the right). I vacuum the carpet at least twice a week (and hate every moment of it), but it always looks dirty and is just generally stained and gross.

While the stairs are hideous, the worst part about them is actually that they don't work. To start, you have to step down onto the landing before stepping up to get to the second floor. Most people just step across the landing, which has led to more than a few stumbles.

The steps themselves are narrow and I've tripped on them in both directions, even once while holding Hannah.

Seriously, why didn't we at least make an attempt at painting?!

This is the view from the upstairs hallway, looking towards the stairs. We bought hardwood for the hallway when we replaced the floors in the bedrooms, but we've been waiting to install it until we replaced the stairs. I can't wait to see the last of the carpet go!

This is the view from the entry, looking into the kitchen. Guess what else we've been waiting to replace until we fixed the stairs? Yes, the ugly laminate in our living room/dining room and the beat-up linoleum in our kitchen. And of course we can't wait to update the baseboards like we did in the bedrooms, too.

Over the next few days, our contractor will be knocking out the entry between the living room and the kitchen (the one our dog is lying in above), and widening the entry to the stairs. The new entry will extend the entire width of the stairs and a new header will be installed at the height of the ceiling. The entry to the stairs is in a load-bearing wall, so this work is well beyond our DIY skills.

As for the stairs, both sets are being ripped out and replaced. The new stairs will be built to code and will head straight down to the basement and straight up to the second floor. They'll be separated by a half-wall, inspired by this photo:

We're thinking about painting the steps, since we're leaning towards a different tone of hardwood for the main floor (you can check out some of my painted stair inspiration here). For now, our contractor will install temporary treads, which will give us more time to choose hardwood for the main floor and figure out the best permanent look for the stairs.

The progress at the end of day one is incredible - pictures to come!


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