please watch your step.

Hey, any of you guys feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t get projects completed very quickly around your house?  Well, you are definitely not alone.  In fact, I may just be the poster child for unfinished projects.

Three years ago I posted about wanting to spruce up my front hallway and stairs.  I started a pinterest board (because isn’t that the way you start every project?) and Mr. Q starting ripping out the carpet.

Once the carpet was out, it looked like this.

And I’m embarrassed to admit that it stayed this way for well over two years!

I managed to get the risers and the baseboard painted last fall, and that was definitely an improvement.

But the treads still looked like this.

One of the factors that contributed to my procrastination on this project was the inability to make up my mind.  Numbered stairs?  Grain sack striped stairs?  Wallpapered risers?  All fun ideas, but I just wasn’t sure.

In the end I really just wanted old farmhouse stairs, maybe with a fun twist.

And I wanted worn looking stairs.  I love old stairs where the paint is worn away from years and years of use.

So in the end I decided to paint the treads with black milk paint (in this case, Miss Mustard Seed’s Typewriter), and I finally got around to doing exactly that last weekend.

I think it will be interesting to see how the milk paint wears over time.  Also, I was originally planning to put black wax over them, but quickly realized I didn’t have enough black wax on hand.  So instead I used hemp oil.  I know that hemp oil is not going to provide a lot of protection, and I’ll definitely have to re-apply at some point.  But I’m OK with experimenting a little and seeing how it goes.  I may end up ordering some more black wax and adding that over the hemp oil.  Ha, ha, is anyone else rolling their eyes?  Do you really think I’ll get around to doing that when it took me three years to get this far?

Maybe not.

But in the meantime, after I got the treads painted and oiled I decided I needed to add a little bit of quirky fun.  So I got out my Cricut and some black vinyl and added a simple message.

The nice thing about the vinyl is that it’s removable.  So if I get tired of this (or come up with a better idea), I can just take it right off.

But for now I kinda love it.

Isn’t it amazing what you can do with a little paint, some vinyl letters and three years?!

31 thoughts on “please watch your step.

  1. Very cool project love the lettering. Sometimes we just have to let projects simmer while we ponder the process.


  2. They look great and I think 3 years goes by so fast, I’ve had projects take longer. I think you’re just fine. Also, we are getting to take up carpet at our house, but we don’t have pretty stairs under ours, just plywood we think. So, I have decisions to make too. I was thinking milk paint. My husband wants to wrap them in oak. We’ll see how many years that takes.


    1. Three years does go by fast! Wrapping stairs in oak sounds like a project that would be beyond my capabilities, but I bet they would look gorgeous when done 🙂


  3. I love how the black makes the stairs pop! You have a gorgeous newel post, by the way. Sometimes projects just need to “perk” in the back of the brain until the creative juices put it all together. I will never be able to play with my stairs so I’m sure glad that I can live vicariously through you…Thanks for that!


  4. Okay, this is a wild coincidence: I just walked up my own stairs and paused a moment to look at the chipping paint on the newel post. I had heard sometimes people strip just the handrail and posts, leaving the spindles painted. I thought I should take a *quick* look on Pinterest to see examples of how it would look. But first I opened my email and your blog post was at the top. Lo and behold, there were the photos I wanted to find! Thanks for saving me tons of wasted time today. And your stairs look fab!


    1. Oh my gosh, isn’t that a funny coincidence! Like psychic kismet or something. I think stripping just your newel post and rail is a great way to tackle your railing without having to strip the spindles. Plus I think it might be preferable to poke one’s eye out with a sharp stick rather than tackle stripping spindles.


  5. Only three years? In my book that is defined as “whirling dervish”. Slow down girl! Not everything needs to be done in this century.


  6. Thank you for sharing your “on going projects”. I feel so much better knowing that I am not the only one who has projects that should take a few days to finish that have been waiting in the wings for perhaps years. I’ll be working on painting my laundry/bathroom today and we’ll see if I can finish it by the end of 2017!!! And may I say the stairs look fabulous.


  7. Ohhhh……..I LOVE these stairs! Love how the color makes it pop. And boy, did you get your use out of your Cricut. To anyone who doesn’t know about tbese cutting machines, it is NOT pronounced “cry cut”, but “Cricket” like the bug. We found this out when we went scrapbooking at Mary’s cabin in Lyndstrom, and she was calling them by the correct name….and then we noticed the little cricket bug symbol on the machine! Pretty funny…


  8. The stairs turned out nicely. I like the Cricut words. So now I will have to read them every night going to bed while I am house sitting and you are on your fabulous cruise. Not jealous at all! Lol.


    1. Well, I wish you were coming along on that cruise, but it will be nice knowing that you are taking good care of my house and my cat, Lucy, while we are gone sis.


  9. Really turned out lovely and kicky. I hope you don’t mind if I use your post to show my husband I’m not the only one who has a project going for longer than you would expect! I’m going on 2 years with splotches of paint on each wall in the master bath…not a good look.


  10. Your stairs look great! I bet they make you smile every day. It may be a blessing that you didn’t have the black wax. I’d be afraid it would get a little slippery. Especially with all the “buffing” they would get with socks. Although, I may be a bit paranoid because I’m always running late and racing down the stairs …


    1. Yes, you can wax over oil but not the other way around, although I’m not sure why. I suspect that the oil would not penetrate the wax layer well and then would just sit on top of the wax, which would be a waste. I’m also not sure why one would want to plan to wax over oil on purpose. I’ve read that you get a more durable finish with wax over oil, rather than just oil alone. But if you’re looking for better durability why not just wax? I’m not sure. But in my case since I only had enough hemp oil on hand for this project, I could use hemp oil for now and then come back later when I have more wax and wax over it if I decide I want to. So far, I’m feeling good about the oil alone. We’ll see how it wears over time though.


  11. Love your house, and these stairs. I even liked them before you painted them. I love primitive. My husband swears we’re gonna have dirt floors someday, LOL


    1. I like a primitive look too, but I’m hoping for a little bit more of an intentional worn look with my milk painted stairs, if that makes sense 😉


  12. Love the stairs and the wall color!! I love your whole house!! Would you care to share the color on the walls? Thanks for sharing!


    1. I painted those walls a while ago with a Martha Stewart color that came from Home Depot at the time called Rainwater. I’m not sure if Home Depot still carries the Martha Stewart brand.


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