Oh Say, Can You Believe These 200 Star-Spangled Stairs?

After quitting her town job and moving into a beach cabin in northwest Michigan to start a new life together with her loved ones, Erin Southwell was in no place to invest additional money. “We had been living on savings and a prayer, literally,” she says of the first year in her new residence. But she wanted her family to live in a gorgeous property. Tackling the stairs was on her record.

Project at a Glance
What: Staircase makeover
Location: Northwest Michigan
Cost: Under $200

With $200 and elbow grease, Southwell changed a 1970s shag-carpeted stairway into a cheery beach-inspired space.

“We’re delighted with how it turned out,” she says. “I just wanted a casual, bright, whitewashed look for a beach cabin for our young family. My husband did not want me to run up a credit card. We call it a win-win.” The stairs lead from the home’s living area into the upstairs bedrooms.

Before Photo

BEFORE: Although the cabin was constructed in 1888, it was remodeled in the 1970s: shag carpeting, wood paneling, the functions.

Before they place a deal on the home, Southwell had uttered a peek at what had been under the carpet — luckily, it was hardwood. But once the carpet was wrapped up, she realized the wood staircase would have to be refinished.

AFTER: With the staircase professionally refinished wasn’t in Southwell’s budget. “I couldn’t stand to live with it the way that it had been, and I knew the only way I was going to have the ability to alter it was to find creative and DIY it,” she says.

After yanking the rug, she spent several hours pulling up the carpet tack strips and principles with pliers. After sanding and cleaning, she implemented three to four coats of white Kilz primer and one coat of white latex porch and flooring paint into the staircase, trim and railing.

How to Paint Your Hardwood Floors

Before Photo

BEFORE: The bannister has been required, but it had a little something special too.

AFTER: Southwell screwed in a classic newel — located online for $10 — into the end place for additional charm.

Of course, the bright yellow stair runner would be the star of this staircase. Southwell desired a bright yellow to tie with the cottage’s other beachy accents; she found this runner at Garnet Hill, installing it using carpet tacks and staples.

Southwell completed the DIY nearly a couple of years ago, and it has held up well — despite the tear and wear of a toddler running around. “You do not have to spend a great deal of money or have mad DIY skills — I truly do not! — to really have a gorgeous home,” she says.

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See related

Keep Your Stability: Cool Railings

Rails are an element that could make or break the appearance of even an entire house or an area. Occasionally selecting the correct railing gets lost in the shuffle of the remodeling or building procedure, but it’s a layout component that warrants consideration.

I’ve discovered this the hard way. In a minute of exhaustion, after months of building, I consented to use my inventory railing advice. I’ve as I look from garish white-plastic that totally collides with my contemporary deck, spent every minute since repenting that minute of weakness.

I need to live with my error to get a short time, but in the meantime, I’m active picking out my next railing appearance. Below are a few of my favourites:

Original Eyesight Restricted

This plexi glass is unobtrusive and contemporary – but also secure. I really like by what method the mixture of concrete, wood and metal functions collectively, and the way the glass on the stairway resounds the wall of windows in the rear.

Original Eyesight Restricted

The best thing relating to this railing layout is the curve that is minimal. It evokes a feeling that is art nouveau – Paris, next quit? – without being too elaborate. It nevertheless feels clear.

Original Eyesight Restricted

Occasionally the greatest statement is not made by any railing. In this situation, thin alloy posts protect open stairway. I really like the clean, classy appearance (even easily would not allow a newborn infant crawl up these actions).

Austin Patterson Disston Architects

In this conventional house, a comprehensive, hefty wooden railing with Mission overtones complements stained glass. I enjoy the way the lines of the railing bring focus to the routine of the glass.


This vibrant, interesting, Deco-inspired inside allows the wall do the heavy lifting, railing-smart. I really like the yellow of the wall contrasts with all the method, as well as the vivid blue in which the railing wall produces a geometric form that is cool.

Ashford Associates

In still another excellent example of utilizing the wall to excellent edge, this outside staircase uses a railing that is simple but provides curiosity having a wall. The result is not complex but intriguing.


This deck that is shaded is not warm for lots of reasons – the tree is one of them – as well as the complete appearance is complemented by the railing. Using a variety of wood to coordinate with steel and the home, the railing fits the woodsy appearance of your home and is not obtrusive.

Shigetomi Pratt Architects, Inc.

The railing is a surprising element in this house that is conventional. The pattern of the wood railing is not same, but nevertheless in sync using the total appearance that is old-fashioned.

Design Options

This railing remindes me of a combination between champagne bubbles and a stained glass design. Either way, it is trendy and adds a typical stairs and something interesting and surprising.

Axelrod Architects

I really like this mix of white and black. In a tidy, white inside, seeing black railings that are straightforward adds a component that is artistic and interest – it is practically like a Franz Kline painting come alive.

Ashford Associates

Occasionally only a basic wall is the most suitable. With this deck, the railing is only an extension of the flooring, which which will keep the concentrate on the interest that is actual: the perspective.