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It’s time for another update on the most exciting competition about staircases you’ve ever seen…

Sarah and Kit- Dueling DIY

Come to think of it, I hope this Dueling DIY is the only competition you’ve ever seen about staircases. Not because I want to be original… but because if you have seen multiple staircase competitions, I think you should question your lifestyle choices. Go outside, would ya?

Frog Tape

Anywho, I made some significant progress on the stairs. And I had a helpful visitor swing by, too:


Mom wanted to help with the stairs, but I questioned whether or not having her help me paint them would be against the rules (and being disqualified from my own competition would just be pathetic). So I asked her for help on a side project… literally.

White Dove by Benjamin Moore

After living with the tan wall color in the living room and hallway for a few years, I think it’s time for a change. I love the color (which for those wondering is Valspar’s Sandy Shell matched to Behr paint), but unfortunately, the lighting in the living room is limited. And since this paint color covers nearly half of the lower floor, the entire area just seems way too cavern-like at night. I think something lighter in the room will also create more contrast with the furniture and floor, and let me add a few more pops of color.

Mom cutting in

The lighter color chosen:  White Dove by Benjamin Moore (the same color I’ve been using in the primary bath – it’s a warm white with just a touch of gray). Mom began by cutting in on the wall next to the staircase.

Stair wall

I consider it a trial for whether or not I should go all the way around the living room. You can see a pretty good contrast between the old and new colors below.

Old vs. new color

New color with banisters

But back to the heart of the competition: the stairs.

All-white stairs

I hate taping things before I paint them. I’ve learned to be a better painter simply because I hate it. But when it comes to these stairs, tape is necessary. So I trudged through.

Tape the treads

After two coats of gray primer, I could start to envision what black paint might look like against the white.

Two coats of gray primer

But I couldn’t stop there. I had to try out the first coat (this paint dries really fast by the way – I’ll share more about the paints and colors used in a later post).

Painting every other tread

Unfortunately, I can’t just power through and do multiple coats. I have to take breaks and let things dry so the dog can go in and out of the house. I’ve been putting boxes at the bottom of the stairs to give them a little extra paw-free dry time.

View from the top

She was pretty leery of the new black steps at first; wasn’t sure what to do about it. But at the end of the day, she’s still content to make a big mess of things.

White paw print on black paint

Aside from studying hardcore for an exam this evening, I’m hoping the rest of the week will give me a little time to clean the stairs off again (because of the dog, obviously) and get the other half of the stairs coated. I’m still a long way to go, but visual progress is incredibly motivating for the psyche.

Priming the banister

I was so proud of all of my progress, I couldn’t help but send a little friendly competition over to Kit to check in on her staircase:

Text to Kit

Be sure to head over to Kit’s blog to see her latest update. And of course, by now this little #DuelingDIY isn’t just about Kit and I; we’ve been hoping you’ll join in with your own staircase makeover. If you’d like to check in with us each week, we plan to post every Tuesday until we’re done and check out each other’s before & afters. So feel free to link up in the comments (and I’ve listed a few examples of some who have already mentioned they are participating) if you have your own to share! Can’t wait to see what you’re up to!

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  1. Wow, you're so far. It already looks amazing! Starting to feel very inadequate though…

  2. I was going to do a little trash talking, but instead I'm going to humbly admit that you win this round. Also, I think the new paint color is really going to make the stairs pop… love it. Will it continue into the stairway as well?

    1. Yep. Mom's coming back next weekend (I hope) to give me a little more help. The plan is to wrap around the hallway, around the front door, then the living room, and finally up the stairs. But I may just get impatient and start in the opposite direction anyway. We'll see if I survive today's exam first.

  3. It's killing me not to join in! As soon as I'm no longer pregnant, there are so many projects I'm going to be itching to tackle (in a haze of sleep dep, of course!).

  4. Besides the stairs, I really think the new wall color is totally you! :) And who knows, the ugly duckling may turn out to be a dove anyway!

  5. New follower here…go with the lighter color–much better. Love the stairs–coming along great–however, that darn dog would drive me bonkers with the dirt! I redid a builder grade stairway with carpet. The oak (ugh!) railings went black with white rungs–so much better. We did alot to our builder grade stuff–you have to–soo boring otherwise! That was homes ago. Now we have updated our “cool” tri-level brady bunch house. Really like it!

  6. Love the black stairs.

    Just a suggestion but you might want to try that paint color behind the couch for a bit before you commit. It's a gorgeous color but you'd be mixing a warm undertoned couch with a cool undertoned paint. The paint's going to make the couch “look” dirty. I would try something that has the same undertone as the couch, just in a lighter shade.

    To get an idea of what I mean look at the close up pic of the new color with the old color behind it. It makes the old color look dirty and that's very similar to the color of your couch.

  7. The stairs are looking great! I can complete related to the puppy paw prints. They seems to know where to leave them. PS: I love the trash talk – hilarious. Lisa xo