Work continues at a slow but steady pace through the house. Slow is sort of an inaccurate word here – there’s rarely anything too slow about our lives. But slow is the progress of house projects in the middle of all the rest of life.
We’ve been clearing out the dining room – packing or stacking things up in other rooms, or storing them in the basement. M’s started drywall patching – there are a bazillion little nicks and bumps on the walls – thirteen years worth of projects and material schlepping through this space and up the stairs. It’s been thirteen years since we painted this room too, and it’s about the dullest shade of dull color you could imagine. Dull color with smudges.
We also had some evidence of drywall tape showing on the ceiling where someone may or may not have plugged the drain in the laundry room sink and then left the faucet running to slowly fill it, only noticing her mistake several moments later when you could hear the gentle splashing of water over the countertop, through the laundry bin drawers, across the tile floor and then through the wood floor in the stair hall. That person shall remain nameless (although it should be noted that she never leaves the faucet running, ever).
I’ve already run you through the history of this room, but if you need a refresher course, it’s here.
Next up, we need a plan, but I can’t say that we have one quite yet.
Paint: We could go gray, like the living room, or we could go white. I’m leaning towards white because this is the only room in the house that is really, really dark, and I want some serious light bouncing action from that lone window.
Window: The wood blinds are out of here (well, they will be soon) and we’ll apply some cool window film for privacy issues, but to keep the light flowing in. We never, ever opened the blinds because this is the only window that looks directly into the neighbor’s window seven feet away. But I need natural light, and really can’t stand this room without it.
We I would really like to refinish the stairs. Again, it’s been over a decade, and I’m thinking that staining the stair treads a darker color like the floors and painting the stair stringers a lighter gray would look so, so good. But it would be an absolute royal pain in the tush to do it. We’d have to take every other tread off, and then hope the girls remembered to skip the right steps. Still, I want to do it.
Lights: We never installed the lights on the first run of stairs. This was because we were too poor to install the ones that we wanted way back when, and so we wired for them and for a transformer, but lived without them. It’s slightly ridiculous, and more than a little dangerous. We do get quite a bit of light from above, however, since our stairs are so open (no risers) and once we moved up to the second run of stairs we installed the lighting there and on the third floor. Regardless, it’s time for some stair lighting.
M and I have been looking at several options, and yesterday he purchased some cheap $20 fixtures from Home Depot just to compare the look / beam spread of wall mounted fixtures with diffuse light versus a more focused downlight / wall wash. The pictures I took last night are truly awful, and they look very yellow and gross, but it’s always good to have some really bad before shots so the afters look that much better – at least that’s what I’m telling myself this morning.
I realize they look really glare-y in these photos, but they aren’t so much in real life. These are the downlights. They light the stair really well without feeling like they stick out so much that you will hit them. The lower one will need to be lowered slightly to create the same diagonal as the stair stringer just above – which means more drywall work. There will be fixture at the top of the stairs too, even though we only installed test lights on the wall. And there will be one on the stair landing below. We tried a simple ceiling sconce there with diffuse light, but we’re wondering if a recessed downlight / wall wash fixture might be the way to go because of the height of the ceiling at that landing. That of course will mean some more ceiling / electrical work.
So we’re going to live with these for a few days, and then order the real deals. We’re leaning towards the same Resolute Purity fixtures we have on the third floor stair hall – these are line voltage, not low voltage, so we wouldn’t need to purchase a pricey transformer too – even though we did wire for one. No matter what we end up with here, it’s certainly going to be nice to finally have real light on these stairs, and a decent set of walls below to light up.