48 Hours in Raleigh, NC

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This past weekend we went exploring around what is technically our hometown, Raleigh, NC. As North Carolina transplants, we’ve lived here since college. But as humbly self proclaimed homebodies, we admittedly know very little about the area. We are the people who you could ask for lunch and dinner recommendations and we would just end up shrugging out shoulders.

We’d like to change that though and have been slowly but surely been adventuring out. After careful consideration and much ado about nothing, here are the hotspot if you only have 48 hours, two days, a weekend etc in Raleigh.

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Weekend Trip To Raleigh Must Dos

COFFEE- The Morning Times

BEAUTIFUL HOMES- Historic Oakwood Neighborhood

ANTIQUEING- Raleigh Flea Market or Cheshire Cat

DINNER- Pooles Diner (Diner food), Bida Manda (Laotion food) and The Remedy (Vegan food)

OUTDOOR SPACE- William B Umstead State Park for a hike, The Art Museum (surprisingly has beautiful green space

MUSEUM- Marble Museum if you’ve got kiddos or North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for anyone

If you pick one from everyone of these categories, you are more than good to go. As we flush our more details, I will more than likely expand on this post.

From the Raleigh area? What’d I miss?

“Impromptu” Kitchen Renovation

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How I Planned an Impromptu DIY Kitchen Renovation

Usually I am all clothes all day, but let’s stay on the house roll for just a second, shall we? If you follow closely enough on instastory (Side note: I am going to be better about blogging here in this space instead of lazy real time post on instastories. Hence this post), then you saw that I began covering cushions for the sweet little built in window seat we installed in the kitchen. The fabric that I am using is a remnant and goes perfectly with our kitchen. Only problem is, I just don’t love it love it. You know?

I keep finding myself saying, “I wish this was a blue and white ticking stripe instead of this gray”. But blue and white wouldn’t go with our overall kitchen especially not the painted kitchen floors that were a labor of love about a year ago. I found myself saying, if only the floors were blue and then I realized; literally nothing is stopping me from making the tile floors blue.

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Hubby and I have been debating the merits of “real tile”, meaning ceramic or porcelain tile, almost since the day I finished painting our dated vinyl tile the gray and white color. We knew the painted tile would never be a permanent fix  -we just hated our vinyl tile enough that we couldn’t live with it.  But I definitely didn’t think the strong desire for a different kitchen cushion color would be the thing to propel me towards a kitchen reno. *Slaps forehead in exasperation emoji*

Why it’s okay for me to design in stages

It’s neither here nor there that I have to change the floors because we want, what we want. And don’t worry about the time wasted on the painted floors. The way I design is in three stages “Before”, whatever the house looked like when I originally set up shop, “During”, the temporary fix to get us through and “After”, the final renovation. If you fell in love with an intermediate step, “thank you, bless you” and I am so glad that you loved it as much as I did. The bright side is that those middle steps are usually really great “apartment fixes”; what you could implement in an apartment or rental property. They also do a great job giving you time to decide on more permanent fixes and to really get to know a space and see what would be most efficient and functional.

All that to say, here is where we are doing with our temporarily updated kitchen to get it to our permanent fix. As things get done, I will check things off this master list. I am working from top (ceiling) to bottom (floor) in our kitchen so here’s the order of services and some inspiration pics.

How I Plan To DIY Our Small Kitchen Refresh

  1. Add second layer of cabinets to our kitchen cabinets to form double cabinets. This was prompted entirely by having extra materials from our built in living room project. 
  2. Change hood about the stove
  3. Install quartz countertops and farmhouse sink
  4. Remove temporary wallpaper backsplash and Install permanent subway or hex tiles
  5. Change vinyl tile floor to blue and white ceramic of porcelain tiles
  6. Cover bench cushion in blue and white ticking stripe.
  7. Add move pendant light above island and add recessed lighting*

*Was added at the last minute because it just made sense

And there you have it folks, a look into my convoluted and yet organized thoughts. This will definitely take a while. We are regular people with regular 9-5s who pay for our projects out of our actual pockets (which is zero shade to people who blog full time with sponsored post. This is simply an explanation for why our project train will pull slowly away from the station). So there you have it. Anything I should be adding to this list? Or any post you are particularly excited to see so I can remind myself to actually blog it?

P.s. Here’s the blue and white tile inspo since that prompted this whole spree.

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Colorful Cold Weather Hunter Gear

I consider myself a rain gear specialist. It’s kind my thing.  I went hunting for “the one that got away” a little scalloped jacket I remembered seeing and loving but honestly I was feeling too cheap to buy another thing. #meIRL This led me down a rabbit hole of some of the cutest winter goodies I have ever seen on the Hunter Boots site. With this polar vortex, winter sales and spring a coming, I figured these colorful goodies were worth sharing. As the proud owner of a gang of Hunter boots, I can say although I own none of these things, the Hunter quality is next to none and I may add a few of these items to cart. Here are a few of my favorite things that are on sale right now. Happy shopping! 20180131151449-PROD-SS18-ORG-WRO1224WAN-BMI-1

“The one that got away” Scallop Jacket $233

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Colorblock Puffer $16820180820094339-PROD-AW18-ORG-WRO1252SAE-PIC-1

Colorblock Coat $19820180131150721-PROD-SS18-ORG-WRO1210SAY-BMI-1

Garden Jacket $19820180618151642-PROD-AW18-ORG-UBB2022MXD-MRC-1

Colorblock backpack $158

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Purple Rain Boots $80

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Penny Loafers $68

Guest Room’s Final Form

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If you’ve been following along on Instagram then you know I’ve finally finished the thorn in my side; our downstairs guest room. Our guest rooms have gone through various uses from housing younger sisters, short term roommates to finally being devoted to actual guests. As our friends begin to mature and some of them marry off, we wanted our guest room to be an adult oasis. Several people weighed in on Instagram saying they loved the first iteration of the room, especially the white Ikea bed against the navy wall, and we did too but it no longer served it’s purpose or felt like us. This one feels more like we do now- romantic, refined with just the right bit of whimsy. Anyway, all that to say, we are finally happy with our guest room and happy to share it, and what sources we can, with you. Sources are sprinkled throughout the post. Below is the “before” shot by the way. I like to think of it as “another version” of the room instead.9296b2f2-dcce-483f-87c4-febf672cfb75

And now, back to the after, what we are all here for anyway.

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Desk (Habitat for Humanity store) (similar) // blue boxes // stripe vase (old) (similar)// Thrifted desk chair (similar) // Rug // Hummingbird print // square ginger jar // Remnant leaf fabric // frames

I purchased this stunning “Hummingbird” print from Janet Hill Studios as something to add to the cart when I bought a bunch of other prints. When she arrived it was love at first sight and she became the design inspiration to pull together all the mixed portions of the room. I even toted a photo of her to the store to color match paint and fabrics in this room to match sure everything was shaped around her. The photo below is from an Instastory where I allowed a vote between the Valspar colors, “Malted Milk”, “Romance” and “Crystal Pink”. Hubby and I fell in love with Malted Milk while Insta fam fell in love with Romance. We ignored and went with our gut and feel great about it.

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Bed (vintage) // Delft chandelier (vintage craigslist)(similar) // DIY Pheasant pillows// Harry Potter Letter Pillow // Scallop duvet set // Ticking Stripe Duvet Set // Stripe throw (old) (similar)// Ottoman // Young Woman with Peonies print and frame // Tassel lights // White Sconce // Cord hide // Wall color // Wall mirror//

I wish you could have seen me in the store when I purchased these ottoman. Talk about sparks joy. Marie Kondo anyone? I pretty much had a fit  about the bug pillow fabric that I passed on, come to light in a pretty little stool with “X” legs. I threw the display in the cart and my friendly neighbor Red Shirt went to pull its twin from the back. I considered taking them back to the store but the cream mirror tied them together nicely, if I must say so myself. I won’t even lacquer the mirror a funky color like I originally planned. And speaking of bugs, I found these cutie little bee clips at Ikea and had a similar fit of joy. Nothing, and I mean nothing, seems to make me as happy as little bugs.

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I wish I could offer you guys better sources but between lucky thrift finds and things we’ve had over a decade like the cane chair. This is the best I can do. A happy happy decorating to all of you and thanks for sticking around long enough for me to finally get this post out.

 

J. Crew Chateau Parka Review and the Look for Less

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This is my favorite coat in the whole wide world. The first time I saw it two years ago it was love at first sight. I instantly had fantasies of myself walking down the aisle in the blush pink version of the coat, reinacting J. Lo music videos circa Jenny from the Block era and just all around feeling myself in this coat.

So what could I do but buy this coat in multiple colors? The Chateau parka in Italian Stadium coat is absolutely worth the investment. Unless of course you live anywhere between Florida and North Carolina where the temperatures don’t drop terribly low, in which case I can only shrug and offer you fabulous alternatives which I am happy to do today.

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The Look J. Crew Chateau Parka in Italian Stadium Cloth Wool $365

Pros

  • Colors Comes in 7 stunning colors ranging from basic black and gray, to a fantastic heathered lavender, to a classic but not basic red.  I can not stress enough how stunning the colors are.
  • Wide range of sizes Comes in size 00 to 24 and petite and tall which is a blessing if you are looking for a great coat in extended sizes. Note: The extended sizes don’t come in petite and tall.
  • Fit This coat fits like a dream while still allowing sweaters underneath. It’s ultra tailored at the top while being swingy at the bottom. Several reviews on the site say to size down. However, I think if you enjoy layering, you may enjoy a little more to allow for that. The extra room doesn’t take away from shape with this one.
  • Removable faux fur The hood come with removable fur on the hood although why anyone would remove the fur is beyond me  I have a personal preference for fur that is faux but that is just coming from the tree hugger in me. So if you prefer real fur, the hood may not be for you. But for the most part the fur wears well and doesn’t shed or feel odd.

Cons

Price That price tag though. $365 for a coat that is pretty distinct in color and may not be an everyday wearer is quite pricey for a lot of people and that’s totally reasonable. Hence this list in the first place. However if you are looking to buy it sometime soon, it’s a great gift for the holiday to yourself or others because J. Crew has been doing a lot of promos like the 50% off everything Black Friday promo.

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The Look for Less J. Crew Factory Vail Parka $198 currently 40% off

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Pros

Colors Still comes in great colors. Each year, this coat comes in 4 colors; usually it’s three basics and one “wow color”. This year’s wow color is green, which in person is down right, stinking lovely. It’s the perfect pop of color in a fall and winter wardrobe and would look killer going to Christmas dinner with an all black number under it. I know that’s specific but if I can imagine the scenarios I would wear it. I’m sure you can too.

Size The extended sizes for the Factory Vail parka goes up to size 20, which is still better than the usual size 12

Satin lined hood The ultimate pro is the satin lined hood instead of the stadium cloth. For a black girl with a head of natural hair, this is a God send. He specifically requested for this to be satin lined because then I don’t get the frizz or the ends stuck in the weaving and can avoid the static of the stadium cloth. Super win.

Price Obviously this is a great deal especially if you are buying it as a gift. You are definitely getting what you paid for and more especially while they are doing the killer Black Friday 50% off at J.Crew Factory.

Photographs lovely This isn’t just useful if you’re a blogger. During the time of year where you are photographed with family often, I have to say this little gem photographs well! The photos of me in this coat were actually taken many moons ago in our backyard with an iPhone and it still shows up great.

Cons

Quality It’s excellent quality. Promise! But the quality is not as good as the retail one, which feels a bit like a duh. However, whenever people say that, they don’t say exactly what about the quality is not as good. The factory version is a softer fabric so not exactly the sturdy stadium wool of the J. Crew Retail coat. For me this is a plus because the neck line on the retail coat stands a little high for me to have such a short neck. It also doesn’t have the same details, less visual stitch works and the diagonal breast pocket doesn’t exists on the Factory version.

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The Look for Even Less Target $64.99

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It seems this look has finally developed enough popularity that it is now in a similar look at Target.

Pros

Price The obvious initial benefit is the price. Even with sales on the J. Crew coats, the price is better on this little guy from target’s new day line.

Location Target is far more accessible for many than a J. Crew location or a J. Crew Factory. There is also the chance to get other things at Target like snacks. But let’s face it the ability to go in and try on is a driving factor for lots of folks.

Colors The colors are as nice and as rich as the J. Crew version with enough options to satisfy but not thrill.

Size Like the Factory version of the jacket, this one goes up to XXL which is equivalent to about a size 18-20.

Cons

Density Not nearly as heavy as J. Crew lightweight and not nearly as good at keeping that chill out from what I can infer. When you put both versions of the J. Crew coat on, both Factory and Retail, you can tell that the weight will keep you pretty warm.

Quality I feel like this goes without saying as well but the quality is not nearly as good as either J. Crew coat but for the price, its still quite lovely especially if you snag it on a deal like today.

Winning Coat: For me, the Vail Parka is the best buy for your dollar. You get most of the benefits of the J. Crew Retail version (unless of course you need the extended sizes) while losing none of the pertinent details. Plus you get that darn satin hood which is worth its weight in gold for me. Definitely the Vail Parka.

Small Black Women Owned Preppy Businesses

I had little to no intention to post Black Friday deals since a lot of the list I’ve seen contain overlap. However, one thing that none of these list seem to include are types of businesses that I make every effort to frequent when I get the opportunity; small businesses owned by black women who just so happen to be preppy. Because they are few and far between, I would love to introduce you to some of my favorites that  I would actually be shopping with, whether or not they were have a deal. I also included a few folks who may not check all of the boxes but do beautiful work.

Small Black Women Owned Preppy Businesses

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Culture Fit Clothing Active Wear for the Culturally Conscious Woman 30% off site wide with code BFCM18

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The Tiny Tassel 30% off with Code “Thankfulfortassels” I’m obviously bias to Tiny Tassel because I consider its lovely owner, Mimi, a friend after all this time but I love what she does and the quality of her pieces are next to none and home made.

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Effies Paper Company 25% off site wide no promo needed

Small Women Owned Preppy Businesses

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Janet Hill Studios 20% off prints with code “BLACKFRIDAY” at checkout If you follow my instastories then you have seen me obsess over this lady’s work recently. Her swoon-worthy preppy scapes give me heart palpitations. I purchased four prints for myself today during her sale including the one above.

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Society Social Up to $750 off best selling styles. No Promo necessary.

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Katie Kime 30% off site wide with code MERRY30 – This wallpaper is stellar and looks exactly like the style that we went for our own bedroom.

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Caitlin Wilson Design save 15% with code BF15 site wide

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Elizabeth Wilson Designs 20% off with Code FRIYAY. Get the cape coat. Just look at how cute it is

Small Preppy Businesses

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Arnold Steiner offering 15% off your first order on the site- Arnold is hands down one of our favorite shops and people. The pieces are quality and the owner, gentlemanly. You will have zero regrets buying from him.

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Kiel James Patrick 25% off site wide with code COZYCABIN

Preppy Businesses

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J. Crew 50% off everything with code “Everything”

J. Crew Factory 40-50% off sitewide

Artfully Walls 30% off everything BLACKFRIDAY2018

L.L. Bean 20% off Clothing and Outwear  with code THANKS20 and 25% off bean boots with code BOOT25

Landsend 50% off full price styles and men’s and women’s flannels for $20

I pray this list was useful to you guys and that you have a fun and safe time shopping today, be it at home or in store.  Just be mindful that today is one of the worse days of the year in retail for retail workers. They are doing long hours with often terrible operating technology which goes down from time to time all while battling people’s bad attitudes. So please be kind while you’re out and about. Happy hunting,

XO Prepford Wife

On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink

CA3C41FC-1155-45C4-890B-EBEEB496C776J. Crew Tie Neck Dress in 365 Crepe // J. Crew Stella Bow Heels in Wild Fuschia

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“On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was”

Pink has turned into one of my favorite colors. It’s so versatile and can be easily carried from season to season by just altering texture and fabric. I love that pink can be paired with so many other colors and carried off with a myriad of skin tones. It doesn’t hurt that a quote from the best movie of all time includes the color pink (Mean Girls is a classic. Tell ya mom to fight me on it). So in honor of Mean Girls day, I give you, a round up of my favorite pink things on the internet currently.

Elizabeth Wilson Dress

Elizabeth Wilson’s Judy Lanien Dress in Stripe

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Customizable Lisi Lerch Sparkle Bag- Pink & Gold

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J. Crew Parke Blazer in Velvet- Petitie Sizes and extra 40% off right now

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Gal Meets Glam Chloe Dress

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Michael Kors Fara Feather Loafers in Oyster

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Nahmu Blossom Earrings

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Asos Wide Leg Pants- Only $16Asos Wide Leg Pants- Only $16

 

Happy October 3rd, yall!

Favorite Preppy Rainy Day Coats

With the impending doom that is Hurricane Florence and having to inventory all my worldy goods, I realized exactly how prepared I am in the raincoat department. I love of a good raincoat. As far as clothing goes, I am a firm believer in the quote about there being no such thing as bad weather, just a lack of preparation. So I have been preparing with a vengeance with some of my favorite rain jackets.

L.L. Bean Signature Fisherman Cove Coat

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Coat (c/o L.L. Bean) // Tote (c/o L.L. Bean) // Jeans//  Boots

It was love at first sight for my husband who first spotted the Fisherman Cove Coat on L.L. Bean’s stories sometime last year. Fast forward to a year later when this little guy is shipped to me courtesy of L.L. Bean. It’s everything Marcus hoped it would be and more than I every could have expected. It’s such an incredible classic coat. It goes with every single thing in my closet and paired with high rain boats, my entire body stays dry.

J.Crew x Penfield Gibson Jacket

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Jacket // Skirt // Shoes

Easily one of my favorite rain jackets. In a bright still sophisticated yellow, this rain jacket is perfect for its light weight and water proof seal. Full disclosure, this is a men’s jacket which would explain the really good yellow.

Stutterheim x Madewell Raincoat

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Stutterheim Jacket // Umbrella// Hunter Boots

I’ve blog about this jacket before. I am in love with everything about it from how much it covers my body down to how pink it is. I can not say enough good things about this brand.

Here are some others that I am this about pulling the trigger on while I’m stuck in the house.

J. Crew Perfect Jacket (comes in 5 colors and petites)  // Hunter Perforated A-Line Jacket (HAS SCALLOPS!) // Joules Right as Rain Print Packable Printed Poncho (only $39.95) // Joules Right as Rain Packable Jacket

Olde Harbour Inn in Savannah, GA

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For my birthday this past weekend, the husband and I popped down for a quick trip to Savannah, GA. We’ve been before on an equally quick and impromptu trip. Even though we knew my birthday was on the horizon, we waited until the absolute last possible minute to plan (I searched restaurants and things to do while in the car on the way down).

We did, however, book our hotel before hand. Our favorite dog sitter was out of town on adventures of her own so we knew we would be bringing the pups wherever we decided to go. We heard that the town was particularly friendly to pups and the hotel, the Old Harbour Inn, in particular was extremely welcoming to four legged guests.

And boy, oh boy were they. We stayed in a lower first floor room so that we could just take the pups straight up and out if they needed to potty. Our room was directly to the right of that stair case that led to the lobby. It was also surrounded by other dog lovers which we know because we could hear their pups. That would be my only point of warning if you decide to stay here. This hotel is not, to our knowledge, haunted, it simply has some of the thinnest walls thanks to building this old not having great insulation. At one point, we heard our neighbor cough and looked at each other to see who did it.

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The room that we stayed in actually had a really great apartment feel. It was a full living room, separate kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. In this great old warehouse building, it felt like living in a New York brownstone. We loved it.

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Right outside the window, were the shops that line the river and other tourist attractions. I say the walls were quite thin but we actually heard nothing outside despite it being  rather busy street. We spent quite a bit of time in this room. We’ve been to Savannah before and weren’t necessarily in a rush to take in all of the culture so much as to just get away from our usual location and decompress after one of the most hellish weeks that ever was. All in all this hotel, and Savannah’s cool and relaxing atmosphere delivered.  We had a great time.  2B9F05A6-A4D6-4ABC-A328-843492B5F695

Remove Carpet from Stairs to Stain

How To Remove Carpet from Stairs

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Here’s a quick post recapping my carpet removal adventures before I forget the entire process. Let’s get right to the point, what you are actually after; the before and after.

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Now that that’s over with, more detail. I’ve had my eye on this project for some time. The stairs are the heart of our home. In our little house, you can see the living room and the kitchen from the stairs, all while yelling up them to anyone who may be in the bedrooms. Plus it’s one of the dogs’ absolute favorite hang out spots so we spend a lot of time on them. And you can only imagine the amount of dog hair and dusts these stairs have accrued.

I’ve been wanting to rip of the carpet for ages and last Friday evening, I impulsively followed through after spending the ten minute car riding from a restaurant researching what other bloggers have done. One of the pieces of advice given was that if you have rounded caps on your stairs, you may actually have hardwood underneath and from memory, I thought we did. So when I arrived home, staple gun in hand just in case there was only plywood, I peeled back a piece of carpet with a pair of needle nose pliers.

 

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See how the stairs have that rounded little lip on the tread? That’s how I knew there might be some sort of flooring under there instead of just plywood. 955C55D4-F067-4023-8CBE-1F3A9B146155

 

I continued pulling up the carpeting using some combination of the a razor blade to cut the carpet away from the way, the needle nose pliers to tug with to avoid staples, and a back of the hammer to pull the tacking up.

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Some of the tacking was particularly stuck so I wedged a flat head screw driver under it and tapped with the hammer.

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The bottom portion of the stairs were individually done but once I got to the top, it was all one piece so I started from the top and ripped all the way down. In total, it took about 4 hours to pull up all of the carpet from start to finish because I had to be extra specially careful about picking up all of the nails after each step because of the pups. I wasn’t sure how long this would take me so I removed almost all the nails in one fell swoop. 62385570-F355-4F79-AC4F-B9359CC00872

Remus, my trusty night guard and diy partner in crime, manned the project from his usual spot at the top of the stairs well into the night. Looking at the stairs, there is clearly over spray on the baseboard and on the stairs. Knowing I wanted to stain the steps, I picked up this stripper that a colleague at work recommended. It felt less toxic than any stripper I’ve used before and had a great citrus scent. Would absolutely recommend if you have pets or small children because I didn’t feel like I was gagging them with this product especially since Remus insists on sitting so close to the work zones.

20FDD455-FA77-4655-8077-E63E0FB2DB1E I started my way at the bottom painting each stair with a cheap chip brush with a heavy hand and worked my way right to bed. It can be left on for 24 hours so I left it over night. 5A7DF75A-9D6C-4EB9-A1ED-3BAE9589864B

The next morning I scraped it off relatively easily and wiped up the remaining ashy coating with mineral spirits that I had lying around as recommended by the product label. I then started patching up the stairs with wood filler and began painting the backs of the stairs white after it dried.

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I sanded by hand with a 300 and 800 grit. It’s just what I had on hand, there was no particular rhyme or reason. I am really glad though that I sanded by hand because there was a lot of staples that I missed. People aren’t joking when they say it feels like a million staples. Thankfully most of them were against the backs of the stairs and underneath the rounded part of the tread.

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After painting the backs white, I repeated the process of painting my way up to the tops of the step only this time with stain. I used a thin coat and painted my way up around 9pm. It takes at least 6 hours for stain to dry to the touch which was fine because we didn’t come downstairs until around 6 am the next morning. This is the first look of the stain with no rubbing or smudging off.

170BA1EA-9244-4866-9CEA-173CAD69ED79I gave it a second coat, smudging this time and making my way to the top of the stairs for another night. The next morning I pulled out the caulk gun to touch up the edge. See the next two pictures from the difference between before caulk and after.

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See how the edges are all filled in. Also notice how light the stairs are now after the smudging process. I am thinking of giving them another coat and leaving it but I actually quite like the patterns that have settled in here. Plus I am tired of dealing with the stairs. Later on this week I will go in and do more touch ups like to the wall where it meets the stairs but I want to wait to figure out what color I want to paint this hallway. What ever color I paint will wrap around the entire downstairs and the upstairs hallway because there’s no true break in the walls. So I want to choose wisely. In the mean time, I am just going to enjoy this “completed” project.