One Year Later – Living With A Painted & Stained Staircase

Everywhere around you can’t help but see fabulous images of newly decorated rooms, restored furniture and freshly painted walls. As beautiful as they are, I can’t help wonder – How do these gorgeous interiors actually hold up over time?

Don’t get me wrong, I love a great before & after or a creative makeover, but some of my favourite posts in Blogland are the ones about how these gorgeous spaces and projects are holding up and what these amazing interiors look like a month/ a year/ an excessive party later.

Edwardian Hallway

After all, if you are thinking about painting your floors white, installing expensive book cases or purchasing a budget kitchen, don’t we all really want to know about how things are working out and holding up in everyday life?

A little over a year ago we shared the results of our epic DIY Edwardian staircase restoration with you.

Edwardian Staircase

We were really happy with how the stairs turned out, but after having our project featured on Apartment Therapy, we gained quite a bit of criticism, mainly saying that the staircase wouldn’t look good for long, as it would get a lot of scuffing, get very worn and need constant repainting, etc.

So, if all of you sceptics out there are considering stripping, staining and painting your wooden staircase, but are worried about how it will hold up, here’s how we are getting on with ours.

Edwardian Hallway

Dust

Yes – of course we have dust on the treads, but it’s really nothing major. Anyone who has hard floors in their home will know that you occasionally end up with dust bunnies in the corners of the rooms, but they really couldn’t be easier to clean away. All we occasionally do is wipe the stairs down with a Swiffer. In less than 2 minutes they’re clean again.

Edwardian Staircase

Scuffs, Scratches & Chips

None so far! In general don’t wear shoes in the house, so that the stair treads aren’t exposed to a lot of dirt and rough surfaces. Having said that, when we had the wall between the kitchen and dining room removed we had a lot of builders going up and down the stairs for a few days, with their big and fairly dirty shoes on. They still held up fine. Absolutely no scuffs or chips on the treads and just minimal dirt on the risers which can easily be cleaned away.

Edwardian Staircase

Dirty Risers

No problem at all except for when the builders were in and left a few dirty marks with their boots. Luckily it was easy enough to wipe away and for the more stubborn marks we just used a magic eraser.

Edwardian Staircase

White Paintwork

Still white, still no chips. All we’ve done so far is give it an occasional wipe with a damp cloth.

Edwardian Staircase Restoration

All in all we couldn’t be happier with the result and with how the staircase still looks a year later. We definitely have no regrets in choosing the stained and painted finish. If you followed our staircase restoration process, you’ll know that we were planning on installing a runner up the stairs. Our plans haven’t changed, it’s just taking a bit longer than expected, as we can’t have one installed until we’ve had the staircase to the loft installed.

Do you have varnished and painted stairs? If so, are you happy with them? Do you also wonder what projects look like after some real life use?

Easy DIY Easter Egg Decorating

With spring finally underway and Easter now only a couple of weeks away, we’ve finally made a start on planning our festive decorations.

This year, we decided to go for some fun and colour puff painted eggs.

Painted Easter Eggs

#1 Start by blowing out your eggs. There are loads of tips and tricks for this on the web. We basically just made a hole at the top and at the bottom and blew out the egg white and yolk. Don’t forget to give the egg a good rinse afterwards – you don’t want them to start smelling in a week or two!

#2 We decided to go for black and white eggs, so before starting to decorate them, we painted some of them black. (As we could only find brown eggs, we actually sprayed the white ones, too.)

Painted Easter Eggs

#3 Then for the fun part – decorating the eggs. We decided to keep it simple and dotted the eggs with some puff paint. Once you’ve decorated your eggs, it’s time to make the paint puff up by applying some heat with a hairdryer. For some reason our paint didn’t really puff up, I’m not really sure why, so our dots are just slightly three-dimensional.

Painted Easter Eggs

Our tip: Make sure that at least one of the holes in the egg is open and not blocked, so that the heat can escape when you hair dry the eggs. Otherwise they can crack. (Trust me, I learned the hard way.)

Painted Easter Eggs

#3 To hang the eggs, we used a little broken off piece of a skewer that we wrapped a piece of cotton around. Then just pop it into one of the holes in the egg so that it falls into the cavity and give it a wiggle. The skewer will then hold the cotton inside the egg and allow you to easily hang it up.

Painted Easter Eggs

It’s a shame that we couldn’t get the paint to puff, but the eggs still add a fun splash of colour to the room.

Painted Easter Eggs

Do you have any tips for us to get the paint to puff up? Are you painting any eggs for Easter? Do you like to decorate your home for the holidays?

How To Hide Your Sky Box And Still Be Able To Control It

I like things to work without seeing (or knowing) how it’s done. I like things to be tidy, neat and done in a particular way. Most importantly though, I like to hide things.

This is probably one of the reasons that I hate TVs and all things gadget that seem go with them.

Sky Eye

Not only do you end up having a big black box on the wall or stood on your side table, you then also have a load of mostly ugly black boxes that end up going with it. Not to mention the tangled mess of random cables and remotes that seem to take over the corner of your living room and whose sole purpose it seems to be to collect dust.

To combat my hatred of all things cable, one of the first decisions we made when we moved into our home was to have some sort of built in storage on either side of the fireplace in our living room to be able to hide – well, let’s face it – everything!

Sky Eye

Taking my anti cable addiction to the next level, we not only built two cupboards to house all of our junk, we also sunk some cable trunking into the wall so that we could have the TV wall mounted and still connect everything in the cupboard below and still not see any cables.

Sky Eye

Now, if you’re wondering how we control our sky box when the cupboard door is closed and everything is out of sight – well, we don’t. Or at least we didn’t until now, as we’ve finally installed a sky eye!

Sky Eye

If you’ve not heard of this fantastic invention, it’s this little gadget.

Sky Eye

It connects to the back of your sky box and sits on top of your TV. You can then change channels no matter where your sky box is hidden – even in a different room! So simple, but so effective.

Has it ever taken you years to get round to doing or finishing a project? Do you hate cables as much as I do? Do you have any other tips on how to hide your sky box?

F@&$

Seriously.

It’s all just been a bit of a big nightmare around here lately. I know that homes and projects in Blogland usually seem to be perfect, but things in the real world – at least for these bloggers – don’t always run that smoothly.

The thing is, I probably find it more annoying than most. I can happily say that over the years I’ve successfully dealt with dozens of trades people and usually things go more or less to plan, yes, of course you get let down sometimes, and yes, it’s always annoying, but in the last few weeks things around here really haven’t been going to plan.

Our boiler should have been moved months ago, a new lintel should have been installed weeks before that and don’t even get me started on the plasterer.

Bad Trades People

With so many projects going on around here, it’s inevitable that some things may not go quite to plan, but at the moment it feels like every project we tackle or even think about undertaking doesn’t go as it should.

Bad Trades People

Our plasterer (who came recommended) was scheduled to do some work on Thursday. We were up till midnight the night before and then up again at six trying to finish off a few projects and removing curtains and curtain rails for him to be able to work. Then, next day, just after he was due to arrive he texted this

Bad Trades

Seriously, what do you say to that?

Being complete idiots, we actually still gave him another chance (as we were a bit desperate to have the work done by this point) and he was due to come on Saturday, but then let us down – again!

Needless to say, we then decided to look for a different plasterer.

Dealing with bad trades people, people that let you down, people that damage your house and trades that don’t seem to respect your property is probably almost inevitable when doing and having so much building work done to your house, but every time that something doesn’t go to plan, every time we are let down, it not only puts back our schedule, it’s annoying. It costs us more time & energy and recently has really started to get me down.

Have you ever had a bad experience with builders? How do you deal with bad trades people? Do you have any tips for dealing with bad tradesmen? What’s the most bizarre excuse you’ve ever had from a trades person?

Two Down – Seven To Go

As you’ve probably already guessed, having had windows replaced in two of our bedrooms, we didn’t just install a new window sill in our guest bedroom – we installed one in our bedroom, too.

How To Install A Window Sill

Well, we couldn’t just leave it as it was, could we?

Now, if you’d been thinking, that we went to a lot of unnecessary effort to cut out a template for the window sill in our guest bedroom, you’d probably be right. In reality we saw it as a kind of practice run for our master bedroom window. Being in the bay, it was a much more complicated sill to fit.

Essentially we used the same method as we used to fit our guest bedroom window sill. (You can check out our full guide on how to install a window sill here.)

As you can see, the template we had to prepare for our master bedroom window sill was a bit more complicated than for our straight window sill in the guest bedroom.

How To Install A Window Sill

After preparing the templates, the rest was pretty straight forward. We transferred the templates to the window board and then cut it out using a jigsaw.

How To Install A Window Sill

We figured that starting with the middle sill and working outwards would be a good idea. After fitting the central window board, we could then double check the fit of the two templates on each side before carrying out any more cutting.

How To Install A Window Sill

As you can see, the cut along the edge of the board along the wall really isn’t perfect, but in our case it doesn’t matter too much, as we’re planning to have the whole wall around the window skimmed. Hopefully that’ll cover any imperfections from our bad cutting.

How To Install A Window Sill

The joint between the two sills isn’t perfect either, but after a bit of filling and a bit of painting (obviously yet to do) the join hopefully it won’t be too visible.

Our tip: Use one large piece of card as a template not just two shorter end pieces like we did. In the end the sills didn’t quite line up. At first we couldn’t work out why it didn’t fit, but then realised that it was because the windows are actually fitted at different depths. Luckily it was still an okay fit and nothing that a bit of filler couldn’t hide.

Now that we’ve finished installing the window sills, we can finally move on to fitting the architrave around the windows.

How To Install A Window Sill

Because we’re such perfectionists complete pains we’ve decided to have the design of the original architrave reproduced. For us it was a fairly big decision (it’s really not cheap), but we’re trying to replace as many missing period features in our home as possible and having the original architrave around the windows (where we’ve already reinstated the stained glass) will mean that they look more in keeping with the period of the property.

Do you have any period features in your home that you’re reinstating? Do you think we’re mad going to the effort of having the exact moulding replicated?