Simple & Easy Stairway Makeover

If you have a house, there's like 50/50 chance that your house has stairs. I'm on the side of those odds where my house does in fact have stairs. These stairs are old, they are ugly, and they squeak loud enough to wake the entire 2nd floor of sleeping people in my house when I want to go back downstairs to have alone time and watch TV after everyone's in bed. If you have hideous, squeaky carpeted stairs like me, then you stumbled on the right page of the internet today, my friend, because I am going to show you how to take those eye-sore steps and turn them into eye candy.

Materials needed:
  • Box-cutter
  • Hammer (as needed)
  • Staple remover/Needle-nose pliers
  • Hand sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain
  • Old rags
  • Painter's tape
  • Paint
  • Paint brush

Before, from the top.

Before, from the bottom.

Step 1:
First, you're going to want to prep. For me, this meant getting all my materials, setting up my workspace, having the trash nearby, and keeping my vacuum handy. Nothing more annoying than going to start a project and realizing you don't have everything you need to do it. So be prepared and be ready to get things done, you hard-worker you!
Don't make the same mistakes I made out of laziness: Confine your workspace as much as possible and remove anything from the walls or it will all be covered in dust when it's time to sand. That means plastic hanging, doors closed, and as little amount of traffic in your work area as you can manage.

Step 2:
Next, you can get started by using your box-cutter to remove carpeting from one tread and one riser at a time. I say this because it's easier to make sure you remove all of the nails and staples if you inspect each one individually. You don't want to mess up your sander when the time comes and you definitely don't want to have to get a tetanus shot because you missed a nail and now you're bleeding everywhere and everything is chaos and you have to stop mid-project for an ER visit. That sounds like a disaster we all want to avoid, so make sure you do a double-check on this step. My husband went ahead and just ripped the carpet all off at one time, oh well.

After carpet removal. (Yuck)

After carpet removal, close-up.

Step 3:
Once you have all the carpet removed (in my case, there was two layers and the second layer was glued to the wood that we had to scrape off), it's time to sand these hidden beauties to give you a clean slate. They have potential! It doesn't look like it yet, but it's there under all those old layers of glue and stain and the most staples you've ever pulled in your life. The good news is, you can sand most, if not all, of it away with some hard work and determination. Sanding is definitely my least favorite part, physically, but it's the most exciting to get all the old yuckiness off and see that bare wood for the first time. They just look so much cleaner after a good sanding. Thanks for all your hard work, sweet husband of mine!

Pro tip: There's going to be a ton of sawdust being produced, so I suggest doing what I didn't do (whoops) and covering up as much stuff as possible and taking stuff off the walls anywhere near your stairs so there's less clean-up when it's done. As mentioned earlier, because this is so important.

Step 4:
When you're finally done sanding, you can give yourself a pat on the back. The hardest and most time consuming part is over. Clean up whatever mess you've made and straighten up the area. It's time to wipe the stairs down to prepare for paint and stain. Use whatever you'd like, but I just vacuumed up what I could and wiped off the rest with a wet rag.

Step 5:
Now you get to do the fun parts! (Not really) First up is staining. You want to stain first so that if it gets anywhere it shouldn't be, it's most likely going to be somewhere you are going to end up painting anyways. If your stairs are in really rough shape, staining them might not be the best option since defects will show through. If this is the case, skip this step and just paint your treads instead. You could do a brown or black or whatever you want, but you probably want to go for a dark color since they will get a lot of traffic. Another helpful tip is to only stain every other tread, that way you can still use your stairs if needed while they are drying. We used a stain that also has a polyurethane in it so it took longer to dry, but it eliminated a step or two and saved a lot of time. If you can find a stain like this, I highly recommend it. My husband stained every step (before I could tell him the right way to do it), starting from the top and working his way down, and then we left the house for a few hours while they dried.

After sanding and first layer of stain, from the top. (Don't mind the mess, y'all. It's gonna get messy.)

After sanding and first layer of stain, from the bottom.
After sanding and second layer of stain, close-up.

Step 6:
Painting time! So once your stain is all finished and dry, you need to use your painter's tape to tape off around the area you'll be painting. You don't want to get paint on your freshly stained treads. Once each riser has been taped, you're ready to go. Get your brush, go around the outline first and then do the rest. This step might take some repeating depending on what color you're using and how durable you want it to be. I'm using white so I ended up having to do 3 layers to get full coverage, but I also was using a roller. My husband saved the day and showed me that a brush gets better coverage and might not need as many layers. You could also use a primer before your paint color, but I don't prime anything ever and it usually holds up fine. Whatever floats your boat.

After 1st layer of paint.

After 3rd layer of paint.

Step 7:
When your paint is dry, (carefully) peel all the tape off and voilà! Your old steps have been made new. Congrats, I knew you could do it. Now sit and stare at them and yell at your kids and your husband whenever they walk a little too rough on them. You worked hard on those steps and you earned that right!



There you have it, folks! My fool-proof and very easy to understand guide on a total staircase redo. I hope that it helps give you a better understanding of the process and gives you that push you needed to just go for it! Your stairs will thank you, and then you will thank yourself for doing it, and then you will thank me for showing you how (in which case, you're welcome).

-Yours truly

Garage Makeover Pt. 1

So today is day one of my garage's much needed facelift. It blends right in to the background when you look down my driveway and the inside is seriously scary.

See that brown square on the right side of the photo? Yeah, that's my garage. It was built who knows when, but it's too small for modern-day cars so we've just used it as storage.

The vision I have for my garage now is to clean it up, make it look decent on the outside, and useable on the inside because I want to start doing furniture makeovers as a hobby/side-job to fund my home projects so that's plenty of motivation for me because the biggest roadblock when it comes to home improvement (besides the fact that my home is 100 years old and all the complications that come with that) is money.

The list of things that have to be done are as follows. (I'm a list-maker):

  1. Tear down the overhead cover thingamajig.
  2. Clear all the junk out of the inside.
  3. Pressure wash the walls and floors.
  4. Paint the garage door.
  5. Paint the walls.
  6. (Possibly) seal the floor.
  7. Install a weather seal on the garage door.
  8. Create some storage for paints/stains and materials.
  9. And as always, some cute décor!
So the first thing we'll do is tear down the already-falling-apart overhead cover thing. Pretty much everytime it storms really hard, a piece of it falls off. First, it was like half of the underneath part so you can see straight up into it. Then, it was the rain gutter. The garage had to be added later on after the house was already built and the overhead cover on the front was added on after that and it was poorly made. We've got a 4lb sledge hammer and my husband's big muscles so we'll see how it goes.


Here is a picture of him working on it, day one.

And a picture of it after he called it quits for the day. It started raining and he said, and I quote, "4lbs has never felt so heavy." I lost it, he's funny when he wants to be.

It's not pretty looking, I know, but once all the demo is done we can clean the mess up and pressure wash to get ready for paint. When it's dry, I'll start painting it. It will probably need a few layers, so that could take a day or two. When painting is done, I will install the carriage house door hardware and then BAM. Just like that, the outside part is done. I think it will look great just with some new paint. I mean, look at it. It's not a regular, boring garage door. This garage door has squares on it. Another cool thing about tearing down this front part is that with that left support out of the way, it won't be such a tight squeeze to get to the gate for the backyard so that's pretty sweet. I really wish I could meet the person who did all these weird things to this house and just ask them why.


Day two, demo work was finished up. Nothing really exciting about it, but I did take this cool video of the majority of it coming down.


Now that we have the demo work done, we need to clean the outside to prepare for paint. We got all the garbage loaded up into a truck and took it to a transfer station, so that's done. I bought a pressure washer and--surprise--it doesn't work. Something's wrong inside it and the water leaks too much to get a good, strong spray going. So we have to take that back and get a new one. Then we'll clean it, scrape off peeling paint, probably spray it again, and then paint it. My carriage house hardware came in the mail already (yay). Can't wait to see what it looks like cleaned up with a fresh coat of clean, white paint and cute decorative hardware. I'm already obsessed with it.

Here is a pic after demo work, clean-up, paint scraping, and pressure-washing is done.

I spray painted the existing hardware white to match the door so that the black decorative hardware would be the focal point and put painter's tape on the windows to reduce the amount of paint scraping that would have to be done. Then I wiped the ridiculous amount of sweat off my face and called it a day.


The next day, I started painting. It ended up needing two layers so painting took two days. I finished everything up on the 4th of July.

Here is a pic after the 2nd layer of paint was applied.

After letting it dry for a few hours, we went back outside, installed the hardware, took the tape off the windows, and scraped the paint off. I cleaned the windows and this is the end result.

We used this hardware:

And I just put it where I wanted it and taped it in place. The screws were included, btw.

The paint was Dutch Boy Exterior Primer + Paint, Ultra White from Menards.

It's not perfect by any means, but it's a huge upgrade from what it looked like before and I don't feel embarrassed every time I look at it now, I feel proud. I did that (with some help). It's also a good feeling knowing that there's not a hundred thousand spiders covering it so that's a huge plus as well. I love seeing the images in my head turn into reality. It really turned out great and I'm so happy with it, I highly suggest this makeover to anyone who is thinking about how ugly they think their garage is. It literally only cost me my time, effort, paint ($16.98, after mail-in rebate), and hardware ($10, after $10 gift card).

This was just the outside curb-appeal part of this project. Keep an eye out for part 2 coming as soon as I can get the garage cleared of all the junk it's got inside it. Thanks for reading and if you liked this post and want to see more project tutorials just like this, make sure to share!

Woodland-Themed Nursery Makeover & Reveal


So it took a little longer than expected, what with having to order all the pieces and decorating and me being 30+ weeks pregnant and all, but I have (pretty much) single-handedly turned our guest room into a nursery and it is even cuter than I imagined. I only feel bad that my firstborn didn't get a nursery quite as sweet (constantly moving from apartment to family's back and forth made that a little difficult).

You can find a complete list of products and prices at the bottom of this post.*

It started when I saw the Camp Kiddo pieces from Pillowfort at Target. Originally, I was going to do my eldest's room a forest/woodland theme. I ended up changing my mind and going with a nautical theme. So when I found out I was pregnant with our second, I already knew what I wanted to do. I was hoping for a girl so I could do the cute little bears and foxes with the flowers and whatnot, but I am just as happy with the boy version.

I started by getting my son's room ready for the queen-sized bed which included painting, moving furniture, etc. You can see the full makeover and reveal for his room here. So this is what the nursery looked like when I started. I had JUST cleared this room out and gave it its own makeover, turning it from a random objects storage room into a guest room.

After the bed was out, I took down the curtains and wall-hangings and had my husband move the other small furniture to the basement. After everything was cleared out, I cleaned the walls of fingerprints and smudges and swept the floors. Then it was ready for nursery furniture. Once the crib and changing table were in the room, it already felt like a baby's room.

I also had him bring the rocking chair in from the front porch. It was sun-bleached and dirty so I cleaned it up and painted it white. That took a few days with all the crevices and having to do about 3 coats, but it turned out really cute. I had my fingers crossed for a comfy glider, but this will do just fine.

Next was the fun part, buying all the stuff! Waiting for everything to ship and show up on our porch is always fun. My 3-year old loves getting "presents" so even though all the stuff was for his little brother, he enjoyed opening up the boxes everything came in and helping mommy take it upstairs. I put it all where it went, finished decorating, and took some pictures and here's the final results.

I find myself in here a lot, waiting patiently impatient for the day our boy is born and changes all of our lives. We are so excited for this next chapter and I can't wait to watch my sweet boys grow up together in this old house that has become our home with so many memories already and many more to come.

*Product List: