This stairwell has been my life for the past weeks (well, kind of). We had our amazing friend and Huxley's godfather visiting for three weeks to work on our house. The plan was to finish all the casings in the master bedroom, hang the door (hey, there is a strange notion, a door to the master bedroom.. (grin/blush/grin) and some other odds and ends. On a whim, we decided to also take out that hideous carpet in the hall. The carpet in the "Then" picture was at it's best, ever, as the picture was taken before we even moved in and before all the upstairs and rest of house demolition and renovation was done. Its state was truly disgusting just before it came out... and out it came, with some the carpet being held down by about 200 staples on one (!!!) stair. I think Michel spend at least a whole day just removing the staples alone.
He then dismantled most of the stairs, sanded every single bit down to the original oak, and believe me, if it would be possible to capture that exact colour, we would have left it, but the moment you add something to the wood, it darkens. Which is where the magic of our treatment comes in. Pickling, a technique I had read and heard about a lot in the past. Our house is about 1200 square feet, spread over 3 floors, with an awning in the back and a covered porch in the front. We face east and west. On the west-side, we are also right across the street of a magnificent old school, three stories high. This all means that the downstairs is very dark. Although I do like dark and aged wood in principle, our entry hall was just oppressive and dingy.
About a year ago, we bought some furniture from that "Swedish for common sense"-place in their light wood colour called "Blonde". The kitchen was repainted in a high-gloss, solid white paint, and a blonde floor laid (just el-cheapo vinyl tiles, as we are still planning to do a more substantive re-vamp in a few years time. All the appliances got replaced in white (great thanks to DH's parents who scored both a fridge and stove for about $250 used at a local auction).
It has also been over the past few years that I have totally, completely and with all my soul fallen in love with living spaces that are all in white and light colours. The interesting part being various textures. White is also easy to clean, you can really scrub it, or repaint it if needed. So this is what we are going to do with our house. If I remember correctly, the first book that sent me into a daydream was the book Pure Style by Jane Cumberbatch; some time later I walked into a home of a parent from Huxley's old school and it was done up in that exact style... I felt that I had finally found a part of me. I have also since picked up a few other books, Pure Style Living, Cool Colors for Modern Living and Thrifty Chic -- great inspirations.
It might be strange that as an artist, I don't have seem to have my own decorating style. However, DH is a graphic designer and has very strong opinions. This Pure Style was the first time that we actually agreed on something. I don't yet know how far we will carry it, but it's well under way with the stairwell. Currently DH is sanding and stripping down the door casings into the kitchen, as well as the kitchen door. We have also decided to pickle the top kitchen cupboards (instead of painting them in the gloss white we intended). Now we need to start looking into flooring options for the entry hall. If you have any ideas and links, I would love to know about them.
Oh, and yes... I am working on dolls too, but they have had to be put away for a bit with the renovations happening. But please do not fret, you will be the first to meet them when they are ready to go to new homes...