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The Basement Stairway: Avoided Waaay Too Long

Some things are planned.  We plan a meal, a vacation, careers, retirement and the list goes on.  Thankfully, not everything is planned out, sometimes we deviate from the path (remember the movie The Adjustment Bureau?).  Often, the unplanned things turn out to be fun, or blessings, or helpful and healthful.  Okay, nothing like waxing philosophical over...the basement stairway!  Fact is - I didn't plan on this project just now, but it was needed, and quite frankly it turned out well!  Here's the story...

Let's see, we have inhabited 173 for some 18 years now, and we've done quite a bit of work.  Really, the only room that hasn't been touched yet is the kitchen - don't get me started.  But the basement stairway isn't exactly a room now is it?  As a low-on-the-priority-list item, this project has been neglected - nay - avoided, since long before me!  I've had this blog for some years now.  You'd think I would have the whole - take a "Before pic" down, but somehow I often miss that step.  After scouring the photo archives (both printed and digital) these are the best I could come up with for before:
Not a great shot, guess that's for a reason!  It was dark, dirty, ragged (notice the peeling paint?) and just downright embarrassing!
Never mind the arrow, that pic was from a different post, told ya I had a hard time finding befores!  So why now?  Well, a couple recent posts told how this past winter the side door had been replaced.  A few weeks ago I painted said door, then, as always happens when you own an old house, one thing lead to another.  I started out by caulking the hell out of the inside of the door-frame, then noticed this,
Yup, that little area of busted plaster lead to this whole thing.  Now, you'd think that the old '40s or '50s green (a color I love by-the-way) and the horrible condition it was in would have been enough - but no, that little 4" by 4" spot did it!  I removed that bit of plaster and it kept going, 'til it became this!
Then one morning I was at Lowe's when I found a package of wainscoting 50% off because it was missing a piece.  Well, five packages later:
I even milled my own chair rail (very simplistically):
Then I pulled off the lower portion of the door casing.  They had been cut in two for some reason when the new door was installed.  Here's what I found:
Hollow!  And yes!  That's daylight!  So I fitted in some pressure-treated 2x4s, then the spot where the casing meets the foundation revealed that some of the concrete was crumbling.
Luckily, I had some concrete left over from the basement redo, and patched that up.

After all the prepping was done it was time to paint!  Now, I've never really enjoyed painting.  As a matter-of-fact I kinda hate painting.  But sometimes ya just gotta do what's gotta be done.  They say that if you flattened out West Virginia it would be the biggest state in the union (you know - mountains!).  Well, have you ever considered the amount of surface area underneath a staircase?  This area of the house (it's the side door area by-the-way) in under the main staircase, so it's really quite complicated, two ladders, twisted acrobatics and hours of painting!  After all was said and done....
Oh yeah, then there was the steps...painted and those little pieces of rubber-backed carpet were stapled in place:
Then she was done!  Two weeks and lotsa hours later!  This picture is a little disorienting, it's looking down the steps, and notice the little shelves I made atop the foundation:
Turned out alright yeah?
The before and after again:
There it is...NEXT!


  1. This looks amazing! Not that I'm surprised or anything - as most of what you create looks fabulous. The color you chose for the wainscoting is fabulous. Nice work!

    1. Thanks Lindsay! Ur comments are always so encouraging!! Get that jackalope stuffed yet?


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