We have been on this downsizing, minimalist, adventure for about a year and a half. There are a few more projects to finish in our little church home before we can rest!
One of the biggest projects I am working on is my “kinda, sorta, DIY” steps.
When I say kinda, sorta: I mean I have done a lot of the work myself but at times had to call in reinforcements to maintain my sanity. It has taken a lot of trial and error.
I mean a lot of trial and error.
One big lesson I have learned….it does not have to be perfect!!!! Perfection is just an illusion. It is not a worthy, or obtainable goal. No one lives a perfect life in a perfect home. We all have messy, chaotic, joyful, sad, flawed, beautiful, imperfect lives.
Okay, enough of that, on to the DIY steps.
When our friends stated trying to save this little 125 year old, one room church, there were no steps. They created the staircase that leads up to the bell tower. If you want to see more pictures of the steeple being remodeled click here.
In the pictures you can see the steps from when they were started with an overview of the progression. This church was only one room prior to us remodeling so there were no steps. The wood in the staircase came from the church’s original ceiling beams and the balusters are from around the altar.
The blue ceilings were the original ceilings that had to be taken down, cleaned, and then reinstalled. They were painted with a blue “milk wash” as is a tradition in the south to keep “haints” away.
The beautiful blue lantern in the second to last picture is from Pier One. My Dad installed, for me, onto the staircase. (thanks Dad!) At night, when all the lights are off but the bell tower and this blue lantern light, the church looks like a mythical, magical, place.
Sometimes I sit in my Dads old recliner, with its duct tape holding it together, and think: “I get to live here! What did I ever do in my life to deserve THIS?” It makes me cry just thinking about it.
I feel pure gratitude in my heart for being allowed the honor of calling this my home.
Onto the DIY steps!
I had decided to try to keep the contractor wooden steps from when we built the staircase.
Cause y’all know I am a bit touched and I like to make things as difficult as possible.
This picture is after 2 coats of stain. As I was beginning fill in the gaps in the wood, sand, caulk, paint, sand, seal, caulk, paint: ect. ect. ect……
I stained the steps with a mix of Ebony and Mahogany stain from Minwax. After staining the staircase four times it became the dark, rich, color I was going for.
This is when I decided to make the kick plates into book spines of our favorite books. I had seen some images of this on a website known for its magical ability of making hours disappear.
I found the images on Pinterest, but I never could find the “how to”.
Follow me on Pinterest so you too can lose hours of your life looking at beautiful pictures and thinking “how hard could it be?“ I made the kick plates about .5 inch shorter than they needed to be so I could make lights shine out from under the steps. I started painting the kick plate different colors. I love this yellow and green together! They just look so joyful! See what I was telling you about caulk and paint!!! It can fix just about anything.
I repeated the same regimen to the upper steps. I used the different paint colors we had used throughout the church. A lot of the colors I had from our painted rug on the hardwood in the dining room.
My favorite artist, and hateful old man, Mike Smith painted this for us. It means so much to me. It has my family and his family’s initials incorporated into it. It also has important family dates.
It is so perfect.
FYI: you can get paint samples at Lowes for about $3.00. Each sample had enough paint in them to do this rug and several of my kick plates! Mike and I picked a color scheme we both liked and just bought all the paint samples from it. This is an easy peazzy way to make sure all the colors complimented one another.
I painted the side boards with high gloss enamel in bright white. Then painstakingly caulked it all. (One lesson I have learned is caulk can hide a multitude of sins!) I put 2 coats of polyurethane on the steps using Minwax Gloss Fast Drying Formula. If you reapply within 12 hours you don’t have to re sand. When I found out this little tidbit out, I knew it was the polyurethane for me!! I have used it on all the old hard woods downstairs and on the bookshelves we turned into my flooring upstairs. I would say I am pretty much and expert at this stuff now.
I hand sanded all of our floors. When I tell you I was sick to death of sanding I.was.sick.to.death.of.sanding….. Plus, my pinky finger is now, and forever more, deformed from all the sanding. It won’t go back against my other fingers now!
On the bright side, my cell phone perches perfectly on my deformed pinky. Like it was made for that purpose.
There is always something to be grateful for!!!
After polyurethaning every other step I banished the dog outside and promised to cause bodily harm to any of my offspring or spouse if they got anywhere near the wet steps.
Ms. Renia at Milayne’s Creations made the vinyl cutouts of the book spines for me. She used an outdoor vinyl so they would be rugged and could handle the wear and tear of being on a staircase. I spray painted polyurethane on the cutouts just for good measure.
They look better than I could have ever imagined!
But just you wait till you see what she made me for above the steps!!!! It’s so freaking awesome!!!!
Yep, it’s Mary Poppins!!!!
Flying into the bell tower!!! How amazing is that? With all the people I love the most pictures hanging above my most favorite books, then Mary Poppins flying above!
I mean really.
How did I get to live here?
I still have a couple more steps to finish and I have a big plan for my green and yellow steps. I also want to work on the lighting situation some. If any of you have any ideas to improve my under the steps lighting, or any suggestions for my staircase, please leave a comment and “enlighten” me! lol
Thank you for taking your time to read my words. It humbles me.
Sending you prayers for peace and love.