dueling DIY: Staircase Showdown

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Oh, it’s on, you guys.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about blogging is that I’ve connected with a few other DIYers on a personal level. As in actual phone calls and texts like real friends and sharing the latest personal life developments with each other. One of the bloggers that falls into this category is Kit from DIY Diva. If you don’t already follow her amazing blog, Kit is hilarious. And she’s also totally nuts for buying an old farmhouse at auction while sitting in a bar (without ever having walked inside). She’s a single woman renovating her house just like me, and she’s got just the right balance of determination and brutal honesty that makes reading her blog ridiculously entertaining.

Her amazing stories aside, Kit and I both share something else in common:  we do a lot of projects at once. As I mentioned earlier this week, sometimes that’s out of my control (when someone offers to help on a part of the house that’s not on your mental list of things to tackle this week, you say thank you and do it anyway). Sometimes, it’s because someone offers you a kick in the pants to finish off a project that’s been bugging you ever since you moved in.

The conversation pretty much went like this:  she wants to reno her staircase. I have a staircase too. She knows that I want to redo the railing and work a little black magic into the look (and that the all-white is perpetually dirty thanks to a dirty, shedding dog). This really shouldn’t be that hard of a project to complete. But I’ve got six other projects going on at any other given moment. And, shocker, most of them require running up and down the stairs (like ripping out the primary bathroom).

So Kit’s challenge is that we both throw down at the same time. Both work on our staircases from start to finish. Someone will finish first. That same person might also finish best. But in the end, we’ll both be able to cross a project off the endless lists that never seem to get anything crossed off before moving on. We’re calling it Dueling DIY. The winner gets bragging rights. Or maybe a photoshopped image of one of us standing in triumph over the other.

When it comes to my project, and what you’ll see on this blog in the coming weeks, I plan to:

  • scrub everything down
  • paint the treads black
  • re-hang the handrail we ripped out of the wall when moving in (also after painting it black)
  • paint the handrail that’s still connected to the wall
  • touch up any white paint that I half-assed when I last painted the stairs
  • add a runner up the middle for Charlie’s slippery feet
  • possibly create some amazing artwork out of all of the empty beer bottles and caps I’ll have after painting a staircase night after night and drinking away my sanity

So, Kit, I accept your challenge. Bring it.  I’ll be over here blasting my workout playlist and wielding my weapon of choice (a paint brush, of course). I don’t have high hopes at my odds for winning (I’ve still got a dining room to sand and paint after all). But if this works, and I get it finished, and it’s because you baited my competitive nature, then I’m going to do this again. And then again (and challenge a few other bloggers along the way). But with exactly one fewer staircase to paint.

In fact, if there are other folks out there who have their own staircase to redo and want to join in the competition, feel free to link in post comments. Or just keep up with our challenge each Tuesday to follow along (be sure to head over to Kit’s blog too to see her updates).

Who knows? At some point, I may actually have more finished projects than finished six-packs of beer. One can hope. It’s on!

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  1. I'm really glad you said this because our staircase had its carpet ripped out a month or two (or three?) ago and I haven't found the motivation to do it…maybe this will encourage us to move it higher on the list! It would be nice to have another big project done! :)

  2. This will be fun to follow. I am hopping over to Kit's blog to subscribe too, I don't know why I am excited, I am not doing anything and I have no staircase to join! LOL

  3. So when I painted a staircase it was late at night, and I decided to paint UP the staircase (as in, I painted the steps from bottom to top) so I'd be on the second floor and could go to sleep afterwards.

    This was an insanely stupid idea. Just in case anyone else might ever think this was a good idea, I wanted to throw it out THAT IT IS REALLY NOT. Ahem.

  4. Here's my story:
    1. Procrastinate on hanging some drywall for like a month, scared because I “don't know how to do it myself.”
    2. google, find Kit in fairly ridiculous videos doing it herself, lose any shred of an excuse I was clinging to
    3. Read the rest of her entire blog
    4. Find this OTHER pesky, pretty DIY chick leaving comments like paint blobs on my new floors
    5. Subscribe to get the Double Dose!
    6. And now a battle royale! You need to talk to HBO about setting up a pay-per-view.

  5. Just clicked over from Kit's blog. Yay for including an adorable dog with giant ears in the first post I see. I'm going to follow along to see how this goes.

  6. THIS IS EPIC!! Seriously in my daily DIY Blog wanderings I go:

    I am so excited about this! This just made my LIFE! I love you both and cant wait to see this happen!

  7. I am so jealous…I want a dueling blogging sister! I too am remodeling an old farmhouse AND have an unfinished stairwell where I am replacing all the treads and risers. That is, all the new treads and risers are half done and taking up too much space in the garage while my bare rotted (and some loose ones I pried off for underbelly inspection) seven layer painted ( with car paint?) treads are looming their ugly selves over my lazy self, daily!
    Maybe I will pretend to be a silent challenger and try to beat you BOTH LOL. Good luck, it will make the project so much more bearable, to be done as a competition!
    p.S It wouldn't let me sign in under my blog, but that's okay, it is a baby one and not as entertaining as yours, just thought you should know there may be a bug in the system :)

    1. Yes! Join in! It will be the most fun you've ever had painting/staining a staircase :)

    2. I second this… I have a soft spot for people in old farm houses. Plus, a little trash-talking is WAY more fun than being a silent participant!

  8. Dadgummit! I just finished our staircase! And it took me almost 18 months! That could have been because after I fell down said staircase and busted my teeth out – I wanted nothing to do with it for awhile. But after thousands and I mean THOUSANDS of dental work I got back to work and finished it. It looks awesome I must say. So do my new teeth.

    Be careful!!

    1. Ha, I remember that! Yes, one of us will be victorious. And the reigning Photoshop queen.

  9. P.s. Can I challenge you to an entire Kitchen REMODEL!!! That might help get me moving again.

    1. Well, if this goes well and I finish, I'll consider the kitchen for the next duel!

    2. Wait, wait… I'm in for that one too. But you have to let me get through this staircase thing first, and then recover from the hangover. lol. And Brittany has a WAY head start on us for that one.

  10. awesome! I have really enjoyed reading when I can and really digging the layout of your blog + your sense of humor. I have too enjoyed popping in over at DIYDiva through the years. just subscribed up on that now … figure I'll enjoy a battle of the dueling divas … gotta admit, kinda makes me think of that Seinfeld episode … know the one? ha! may the best prevail. ~ jb

  11. I like a good challenge, and I also have stairs that need done… but I just don't know if I am crazy enough to join you. I have a lot more to do on mine (including sanding and painting the entire stairwell)

    Oh what the heck… I'm in!

    The stairs are on my todo list for this year http://our-handmade-home.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/goals-for-2013.html

    I did start by priming them and testing paints on them last year, but I'm like you and have loads of projects on the go at the same time, and I get side-tracked. Plus this procrastination doesn't get done all by itself y'know.


  12. Hi Sarah – I'm going to follow along the dueling staircases. I do have one suggestion. (Sorry if someone else has already mentioned it.) When we painted our treads – yes, black!- after blocking off the dog's access, we painted every other tread. We used an oil based gloss for durability and it can take a good while to dry. Doing every other tread allowed us to still use the staircase and once those treads had their second coat and were completely dry, we finished the rest. It takes a little longer, but our black treads still look great after five years.

    1. When I painted them white, that's exactly the method I used. Helped to keep me from blocking myself off. But even when you have to hop over every OTHER step, it's no picnic when you're moving old toilets or bug crap around (see yesterday's post about those shenanigans). Thanks for the tips!

  13. Just popped over from Kit's place, and I'll definitely be coming back… and not just for the staircases. Love your style. Good luck in the duel!

  14. How did your kitchen cabinets turn out? Didnt see any finished pics. Doing mine and unfortunatly im sanding. Wish i did this before i did my granite and subway tile… And before I put in the new appliances.

    1. Kitchen isn’t finished yet, but I update the house tour with the latest progress photos if they are new.