Monday, June 6, 2011

Installing a Stair Runner

Our house has 2 sets of stairs which is not uncommon for a house that is 150+ years old.  When we bought the house this front staircase was covered with some really disgusting and dirty 1980s mauve broadloom carpeting.  We immediately tore that out and then the poor stairs were left unused and unloved for the past 7 years.  The only time that staircase got any attention was at Christmas when I would dress up the railing with some lights.

I had been planning on addressing these this spring.  After seeing so many great redos out in blogland (check out My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia and Thrity Decor Chick) I had wanted to do the treads a dark stain and do the risers in white paint but once we found out we were moving I decided that I needed a quicker and easier alternative.

After some research I decided to go with a traditional carpet runner.  Prices on this vary a lot so do some comparison shopping.  You can get any length you need and the width ranges from 24 to 48 inches.  I found a lot of really nice choices on Rug Depot but their prices started at $11.99 a foot.  If I had been doing this for my own personal use I might have gone with something there, but since I am putting this in to get my house sold I had to be more frugal.  I checked out both Home Depot and Lowes for their in-stock options.  I decided to go with a traditional black background stair runner I found at the Home Depot that was $3.79 a foot.

When I went into the store I had in mind that I was going to have them install it for me.  I approached the salesman to place my order, and he couldn't believe I wanted it installed.  He said no one had ever asked to have it installed.  He told me that it is super easy to install yourself.  Not quite believing him and knowing that I was on a time deadline I still asked how much for installation - $79 plus $14 per stair - okay I'll do it myself.  I just couldn't pay more for the installation than the cost of the carpet itself.  So the salesman told me how to measure and showed me the tools I would need.  I went home, measured (I added 6 inches to my measurement just to be safe), and sent back the hubby to pick up the carpet.

Yesterday afternoon I started out by measuring from side to side and found the center.  I started at the top stair and unrolled the bolt of carpet down the stairs.  Then I tacked in the carpet using carpet tacks - surprise, surprise.  I used 3 tacks at the top back of each tread; left edge, center, and right edge.  I rounded each stair and tacked in right underneath the bullnose of the stair using 3 tacks.  Apparently this is a style preference and you could choose to skip tacking under the bullnose and just let the carpet ease diagonally into the back of the tread below.

Keeping the carpet tight I then put 3 more tacks in at the back of each tread.  I continued down the rest stairs in the same way.  When I got to where the stairs end and the 1st floor begins I tacked in as close as I could get to the bottom of the riser.  Using the mat knife I ran a cut along the crease of where the floor was meeting the riser.  I used the scissors to help clean up the cut and that was it.

Here are the tools I used.

I was lucky that the carpet I choose was black and the carpet tacks are black so they are completely hidden. I still think that if you used most any plush carpet you would not see the tacks as they get pounded down very low and the pile comes up all around it.

This was such an easy and inexpensive project that I am kicking myself for not just doing this before.  The stairs look great and I only spent about $80 on the carpet and $1.50 on the carpet tacks.  Not including the cleaning it took me less than 2 hours to finish the job.

If I were doing this for myself I would probably add a piece of shoe molding at the bottom riser to dress up where I made the cut but I don't think anyone will notice at all.

Now I just need to finish painting the front door:).

I'm linking up at...

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fancy Wire Planter

This is one of those hahaha I can't believe I was actually ahead of Pottery Barn moments.  Two years ago I was looking for some kind of small buffet/wine cabinet for our dining room.  I found a dry sink that I thought had potential on craigslist.  I contacted the seller and went over to her house to take a peek.  I liked what I saw and we agreed on $50.  However,I had not thought ahead so I only had $20 bills and she didn't have any change.  So while we were standing there in her garage I actually had the audacity to say "hey that's a really cute planter would you throw that in and I'll give you $60 for both".  She agreed and I brought home the dry sink and the planter.

Just because I know you would want to see it here's the dry sink after I painted it black.  I don't have any before pictures but imagine it being that 1950's muddy brown color.

It came with a copper liner which I'm sure is worth more than the rest of the dry sink.  I replaced the knobs on the drawer with new handles that better match the copper liner.  We use it in our dining room to hold wine bottles and the associated paraphernalia.  I use the top shelf to show off seasonal decorations or if we have people over I have set it up as a bar so guests can help themselves.  The copper liner keeps all the drips from ruining the wood underneath.  It's a really neat little piece and we get a lot of compliments on it.

Now back to the planter.  When I brought it home it was white.  I hand painted it black because I didn't want it to clash with our house trim which is an antique white and then it would also coordinate with our accent items (lights, house numbers, mailbox, etc) which are black.  Then I put in some flower pots and placed it outside on the side porch under the dining room window.  I love it.  It is the perfect height and it makes it seem like that window has a flower box.  Plus it was only $10.

A few weeks ago the newest Pottery Barn catalogue arrived in the mail.  Imagine my delight when I saw this picture.  Not only did I already have a similar item but mine was $10 versus their $179 version.  I had to immediately show my husband  because I love having those see how smart I am to buy things off craigslist moments.

I wonder if anyone really would pay $180 to get a rusty wire planter.  I guess they must or Pottery Barn would be out of business, but I would love to know how many people forked over that much money when I got mine for only $10.

But even better then getting a great deal is that I love sitting at the dinner table on a sunny evening and seeing those pretty flowers right outside the window.

I'm linking up at...


My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
~ Gold Shoe Girl ~

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Where I've Been & What I've Been Up To

I bet you all thought I fell off the blog bandwagon.  I can't believe how long it's been since I posted.  This past month has been a blur.   In my last post I told you that my husband had accepted a position in the Chicago area.   Since then we've been super busy getting ready to sell our house, move him to a temporary apartment, and doing some initial house hunting.

We are fortunate that his new company has provided us with a nice relocation package but it has meant that we (and by we I mean I) have had to have a number of people through our house over the last few weeks.  In order to take advantage of some of the options in the relocation package we have had to have a home inspection, a pest inspection, a structural inspection, 2 realtors, and 2 appraisers through our house.  It was important to have our house looking great to get the highest appraised value as the relocation company uses the average of 2 appraisals to give us a buyout offer on our current home.  That means that if our home does not sell in 30 days then we can choose to accept their buyout value and be on our way.  So I was going crazy with cleaning and sprucing in an effort to get the best appraisal possible.

I'm sure you can imagine that it is not easy to have your house appraisal ready when you have 3 kids.  I honestly don't know how I will keep up once we actually put our house on the market.  When I am in one room cleaning the kids destroy the next room over.  My only solution so far is to just start packing away some of the offending toys.

Then this past Monday my husband left for his temporary apartment.  He drove his car and took most of his clothing and some of his personal belongings.  This was good because it helps our closets look less full - my husband is something of a clothes horse and literally had clothing in every closet in the house - but we are missing him very much.  He gets to fly home twice a month and hopefully we will be able to join him very shortly.

My husband and I did go to the Chicagoland area to do a little house hunting for a couple of days last month. We are still in shock over the price difference compared to our area.  For us to get a similar sized home out in Chicago it is going to cost us almost 3 times as much.  I guess we were spoiled with the affordable housing here in upstate NY.  We have also been limited to newer houses as those are what are in our price range.  It is weird for us as we have always owned older homes but new ones do come with some advantages such as having master bathrooms, finished basements, and fewer things that need fixing.  Still we will really miss the charm and character of our current home.  As we get closer to making a decision I will share our finalist houses with you.

I have been doing a lot of things to our house but most were not especially blog-worthy.  I did, however, just finish putting in a carpet runner on our front stairs so I will share that tomorrow.  I am hoping to be back to regular blogging now but please forgive me if it gets to be a few days between posts.  Also forgive all the clip art in the last 2 posts.  Next week I will have some better photos to share so make sure to tune in then.

~ Gold Shoe Girl ~
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