What goes up, must come down...

Step 11: Continue the wainscoting from the foyer to the lower stairs.
The new office and kids area
The new office and kids area

I know, I know. I haven't been on here in AGES. I've been a little busy. I finished up my last semester of college (better late than never) and have been working on the house non-stop.  One of the projects I took on was the bottom half of the stairs. Just to remind you, they looked a little something like this:

After I did the picture frame moulding on the stairs leading up, I had a thought that maybe I should do them on the section going down. I let it mull around in my brain for a bit because I really loathed cutting the angles on the picture frame moulding for the stairs. Then, as usual, my mom stops by one day and says "you know, you should really carry that trim downstairs too. It looks weird only going up." And there you have it. A new project was on the docket. Keep in mind the old project (trimming out the front and closet doors) was still not finished. So as usual I headed to Lowe's for a few supplies and decided to tackle the latest project. I also decided to get the rest of the stuff to finish up the doors.

Just another day at Lowe's
Just another day at Lowe's

The good thing about knowing I was doing picture frame moulding this go round (instead of board and batten) is that my plywood cuts didn't have to be perfect. And let me tell you, they weren't! But first things first. I needed to finish the doors. All I had to do was add the same moulding from the trim around the windows. Then I added a piece of flat stock around the outside edges to beef it up a bit.

IMG_4241
IMG_4241
Close-up of trim around door
Close-up of trim around door

I know this isn't the best pic but it's already dark here (darn early winter nights). I will try and grab one tomorrow morning to give a better idea. Here is the door before:

The door trim before
The door trim before

After knocking that out, I started on the moulding down the stairs. I measured my angles and then got to work. Then the first problem arose... if I made the trim wrap from the wall next to it, it would be almost 4 feet tall going down the stairs! When I put the top rail on I knew that wouldn't work. And let me tell you why it really wouldn't work. I had all of the boards cut to 24 inches - the same height as the wainscoting on the upper stairs and the foyer. As you can see from the pic below, if I wrapped the trim around from the top, the boards were going to be way too short and that meant money thrown out the window.

Upper rail.
Upper rail.

So I walked away for a few days (mainly to get my blood pressure down). After thinking on it I decided to stair step the trim down.

IMG_4012
IMG_4012

Once I did that, the rest was a cake walk (except for those darn angles on the picture frame moulding). When all was said and done it turned out like this:

The stairs after
The stairs after

Here is a side-by-side:

Before and After
Before and After

I'm really happy with the way it all turned out. And even though I hated cutting those angles, I'm glad I powered through. I still have a few touch ups to do (like on the hand piece at top) but this one is close enough to being finished to call it done.

Did I mention that one of the other things I had to do (because of the bathroom remodel) was refinish my stairs? Yep... those beautiful stairs that I had done only 4 years ago now looked terrible. Covered in scratches and full of dings, they needed to be redone. So I got to work. After all, with such nice moulding, I needed nice stairs.

My daughter snapped a pic of me sanding the stairs
My daughter snapped a pic of me sanding the stairs

It only took about two hours and a glass of Spark to get them sanded down. With the uppers and lowers combined there are 14 treads.

The sanded upper treads
The sanded upper treads

After sanding them, I had to stain them. Since my floors are ebony mahogany, I did a coat of Ebony followed by Red Mahogany. The mahogany stain took a bit of the ebony off, so I did one more coat of ebony and then poly urethaned them. Now you may be asking how does one stain stairs on a split level house - especially when you can't walk on them for two days. Simple... you stain every other stair!

Stain every other stair so you can still use them.
Stain every other stair so you can still use them.

I worked on the stairs over a period of three days to allow plenty of dry time. When all was said and done, they were restored to their former glory and with that, I'm calling this foyer done! Finally.