Tag Archives: entryway

So It Begins

27 Jun

The carpet removal has begun.  On Saturday we ripped off the carpet on the bottom two stairs. I needed to see if there was actually wood under there and if it was salvageable. Check for both!

I wanted to try to sand a step or two to see how long it would take and if it would work. I have a small palm sander that I used and quickly realized it would take me forever to sand everything with it.  The sandpaper kept falling off!

So, my husband loves me and took me to Home Depot and bought me an Orbital Sander. Nothing makes my heart flutter more than power tools. I’m my father’s daughter.

I got the DeWalt 5 inch Random Orbital Sander (This). The sandpaper sticks directly to the pad and makes life a whole lot easier for me. It took me 10 minutes to sand one step, when previously it took me at least 30.

Look how pretty it is.

I took the same stain that is on our floors now and tested a little spot on the stairs.

Big problem with the bottom stair. It stained so much darker than the floors. I put the stain on and wiped it off immediately. It’s still several shades darker and incredibly noticeable.  I’ve read you can water down stain with turpentine. We might do that or pick a lighter shade that is as close of a match as we can get. We’ll see. The rest of the stairs stain exactly like the floor. It’s just the horizontal planks on the bottom step.


No bueno.

Ignore the brown grate. That’s going away. It’s non-functional and dumb.

Because there is something wrong with us and we can’t ever stop at what we had planned for the day – we ripped off the carpet on the landing.

It’s definitely worn. There are definitely a lot of scratches, but nothing was deep. It was all superficial. I love the look of older hardwood too and this has the potential to have the character that I love.

And because I’m an idiot I decided I should sand the whole landing. So I did. For almost 4 hours.

60 grit sandpaper really cuts through the polyurethane.

I was a mess and the house was a mess.  We hung up plastic sheeting to protect the downstairs, but there still was dust all over the place.

And me…

Don’t I look wonderful. Miss America, ladies and gentlemen.

But the floors looked good.


After a lot of vacuuming….

There are still a few places that I need to hit with my Dremel Oscillating Tool. That little guy is great to sand in tough to reach places.

I’m not sure if I’m going to fill the small crack above with stain-able wood putty or not. I’ve heard some not so great things about it so I’m on the fence. That will be a game time decision.

Here’s a good shot of where it was sanded and wasn’t…

I’m going to go over it lightly with 150 grit sandpaper before I stain. Just to make sure everything is smooth.

It’s going to be a crazy weekend.


The Accent Wall

1 May

I can admit, this wasn’t an idea I thought up myself.  I saw Sarah do it over at Thrift Decor Chick (Here’s her original post) and fell in love with it immediately. It’s rustic, but slightly industrial. You can tailor it to the feel of your home based on stain or paint. I was hooked, but I wasn’t sure where to put it.  I played with a few areas. At the top of the stairs, a wall in the living room, but I kept coming back to the wall in the entryway.  It would be a nice impact right when you walk in. It would look great with the tile and the color on the walls.

So I searched Lowe’s for weeks for the tongue and groove pine planking that was needed for the project. Apparently it was in high demand! My husband finally found it and brought 5 packages (there’s about 5 or 6 8 ft. planks per package).  Way more than we needed – but it’s better to return than search for more!

We grabbed the nail gun, a level, and a measuring tape and got started.

We started at the top and worked our way down.

We found out very quickly that our walls are NOT even so each plank needed to be measured and cut.  That’s what took the most time. We had to re-measure every time as we continued down the wall. It’s funny now that each board is a different measurement – it was not funny at the time since our miter saw is in the basement and we ran up and down the stairs at least 100 times that day.

A few hours later we were here…

The bottom pieces were tricky since we needed to notch out where the window molding was and trim about an inch off of another so it didn’t cover the baseboard.  Since we don’t have a table saw the jig saw had to suffice.  My husband took the reins on this one and was able to make the cuts (with only a slight hiccup).

Here’s the finished wall – pre-stain.

I was already in love.  We let it sit for a few days, giving it time to settle, and also giving us some time to relax!

I taped around the ceiling, walls, and baseboard molding, and added some plastic sheeting to keep the stain off the floor.  It was my first time staining something so I was a bit nervous.  I took a scrap piece of pine and practiced to see how long the stain needed to sit until it reached the color we liked.  Then, I just went for it.

You work up a sweat trying to keep a wet edge when you are staining something so large! I did two coats and let the stain sit in for about 10-12 minutes on each coat.  The top stained a bit darker than the bottom, so that sat on for only about 7 minutes.  It’s all trial and error.  I would rather do 50 coats to get the color I like then only do a few and have it end up darker than I wanted.

Here’s what it looked like after the stain.

The stain was Minwax Wood Finish in Early American. It’s actually the stain on our hard wood floors so it flows nicely.

I applied it with a foam brush and wiped off with regular paper towels.  Keep an old shopping bag beside you when you are wiping so you can keep all the soiled paper towels in one place.

I let the stain dry, waiting about 24 hours just in case, and then did a coat of polyurethane to keep it sealed.  I used Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane in semi-gloss.  Applied with a foam brush.  Apply slowly and make sure to watch for bubbles.

I ripped the tape off, touched up any spots that stain leaked through, repainted the trim and was finished!

Here’s what it looks like now…

I’m so in love with it.  It really adds something to a very tiny entryway. Plus is looks great from the kitchen too.

The skylight in the entryway almost makes a spotlight – brightening up the wall even more.  That was a happy coincidence.

Considering what it looked like when we moved it, I think the accent wall definitely improved the whole look of the house.  We love it so much we are thinking of putting a second accent wall above our stairs!

This is really the best before I have (from our inspection):

And after:


Now all I need to do is find some curtains and possibly a small entry table and I can label this space DONE!