Magnolia Cottage: Black and White Painted Steps

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Do you remember the “before” pictures of the stairs at Magnolia Cottage?Magnolia Cottage-stairs

They were super groovy, with a colorful pattern painted by a local artist. It was pretty, but you can see how over the years the chips and dings weren’t repaired (it would be pretty hard to patch, wouldn’t it?).

Magnolia Cottage-stairs

 

Here’s video of the “before” if you prefer to see a literal walk-through:

When we rented Magnolia Cottage, painting the steps was a part of the overall design plan that I presented to the owner, and she agreed that this would be an improvement to the value of the home. It was definitely a big job, but so, so worth it!

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

(The hallway to the right is the pantry that goes through to the kitchen.)

I tackled this job back in July while my family was gone. It was just me and the pets, so that minimized traffic up and down the steps–always a bonus.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

The how-to’s are pretty simple. I debated whether it made more sense to paint the risers or the treads first; in the end I opted for the risers.  I started by vacuuming and wiping the stairs off, then sanding lightly with a mouse sander.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

Note my wine glass; this was a big job that was accomplished during the evening hours!

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

The paint pattern on the steps was pretty thick and it was impossible to sand it all away during this century, but I did the best I could. Once I had the risers and spindles painted white–and yes, it took two coats–I taped off the edges and the spindles before I painted the treads.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

As you can tell, Frog Tape had to hit the auxiliary power button at their factory because I singlehandedly depleted their world supply!

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

 

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

I painted the treads from top to bottom and then left the house for two days to go meet Amy in Richmond. During that time, the dog was being boarded and the cat was outside killing small animals for sport, so there wasn’t any traffic on the steps.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

When I got home, the treads were still slightly tacky. I used Valspar’s Satin Latex Porch and Floor Paint in Kettle Black, so obviously it was intended for this sort of application, but it was the peak of summer and the heat and humidity levels were high, even in the house. The good part is that the stairs aren’t even remotely slippery.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

I did have to paint the banister, spindles, and the trim on the sides of the steps since there was no way to match the existing black and white. I listened to Where the Crawdads Sing on audiobook (the whole thing!) while I was painting (read my review of it here).

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

I opted for a satin sheen since the glossier the finish is, the more it shows flaws. Older houses are full of charming imperfections (also also some not-so-charming imperfections!) and that means a gloss finish isn’t always the best choice to show them at their best.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

 

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

I intend to install a seagrass stair runner in the near future. The steps are pretty steep and that will make them safer for both people and pets.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

Also, as much as I love the black and white, the black shows everything (99% of which is Harley’s fur). I really should vacuum them every day and it looks bad if I don’t. Just food for thought if you’re considering a similar project.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

Here are a few photos of the upstairs landing (more to come soon since I just painted it yesterday and these pictures were taken before that). I love having the landing space; it’s one of those quaint little touches that you don’t see as frequently in newer construction. Also, I don’t know if you can tell from the photos but the railing is kind of low and would never meet code in a new house.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

 

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

Back down to the dining room…you can see Harley’s favorite spot to sleep during the day.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

This is what happens on the other side of the camera–I had to push the dining room table and chairs out of the way to get a clear shot of the stairs (#reallife). Harley continues to sleep on in the corner.

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

 

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

I’m thrilled with how it turned out; it made such a difference in the feel of the house. My sources are below but please let me know if you have any questions.

Like it? Pin it for later!

White and black painted stairs steps | 11 Magnolia Lane

 

Sources

 

Black paint: Valspar’s Satin Latex Porch and Floor Paint in Kettle Black

White paint: Sherwin-Williams Duration Home satin paint in Extra White (straight from the can)

Dining room paint: Sherwin-Williams Repose Gray

Upstairs paint: custom mix

Mouse sander

Frog Tape by the truckload

Hydrangea pillow

Curtain Panels HERE or HERE

Curtain rods and rings

Blue and white garden stool

Cane barrel chairs -vintage

Gold bullseye mirror – vintage (similar here)

Full-length gold mirror upstairs – vintage (similar here)

 

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Final New Christy headshot 2015

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Comments

  1. Oh wow, you are right, what a difference. This looks amazing. So much work, you – you inspire me.

  2. Oh Friend what a beeeutiful transformation! I don’t deny I liked the former painted stairs and yet what you have done has totally made the staircase more ‘sophisticated’ and awesome. I would NOT have had the patience in the prep work you’ve done. Kudos to you there!! I know I would have painted without the Frog.! lol My goodness this looks totally elegant!! My oak stair case however will not be getting painted here………per hubby………lol

    • Well, marriage is a give and take, right? So the oak stairs stay as-is but I’m sure you get your way in other areas. 🙂 So glad you like how mine turned out–I’m thrilled with them!

  3. Wow! What a big job. . . but what a great transformation!!
    It’s beautiful. Congrats!
    oh and the dog fur. . . Yes, my Marlee is also an olympic-caliber shedder. The struggle is real! (my Swiffer vac keeps me sane.)

  4. Kathy McAdory says

    Could you provide the source of your bamboo shade on your stair window? Thank you so much! I adore what you’ve done in this precious cottage!

    • Thanks so much, Kathy! OK, I asked the homeowner and she said that unfortunately it was already in place when she bought the house so she doesn’t have source information. We have similar ones on the front and side doors, as well. They’re very similar to these blinds from Wayfair. I’ve also seen them at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and even Amazon, believe it or not. I added the gray ribbon in the middle.

      I hope that helps a bit! Christy

  5. Beautiful job! Congratulations!

  6. Rebecca Purdie says

    Hi Christy
    I removed carpet from our stairs a few summers ago.
    Painted them white and stained the top a dark brown.
    Best decision ever.
    Yours look beautiful.
    Ladies don’t be afraid just do it.
    Yes it takes time, but so worth it.

  7. Oh wow, this transformation is stunning. What a difference it made! You are such a hard worker and I’m very impressed because I have two left thumbs and feet! 🙂

    • This just took time, it wasn’t hard at all. I knew that it would be SO worth it, too. Thanks for your kind words, Nita. I’m thrilled with how they turned out!
      ~ Christy

  8. Heidi Colton says

    Wow! What a huge job! I love how sophisticated it looks. Although I did like the way it was. But it was too beat up. Kudos to you!

    • Yes, and while I agree that they were darling and creative, I think that all the bold color and pattern in the house was definitely scaring away a few would-be renters, so in the end this was probably for the best. And of course I get to enjoy it while we live here!

  9. Just beautiful! What a job that was, but worth every minute and every bit of Frog tape.

  10. Interested in how you are going to install the sea grass runner. Please post on that!

  11. What a beautiful transformation. It looks wonderful. A few years ago, we removed the carpet from our stairs and painted them black and white. like yours. I love it. But you are so right….I need to vacuum everyday (cat hair) and I admit I don’t do it that often. We put carpet treads on ours to soften them and to somewhat hide the fact that the treads are not pretty wood to say the least. Unfortunately, that made the cat hair problem worse. Your home is looking great. I do love the serene colors – we have just about decided to get rid of all the colored walls and go neutral – just cant’ figure out which one!. thanks for sharing – I am enjoying seeing it all!

    • Thanks so much, Judi! At least I’m providing you with a few ideas for light neutral paint colors, right? I also loved Valspar’s Oatlands Subtle Taupe in our last house; that was a wonderful griege color. It’s so funny that even though we have a cat, too, it’s really Harley who gets blamed for all the shedding! Either way, they’re worth the extra vacuuming, aren’t they?

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