Big News for Beachlife House

Her staircase is finally getting its makeover today. After twenty-one years in a whitewashed finish, the pickled stain and lots of wear and tear has left this contemporary styled open staircase looking so last century. This staircase is a beloved part of the home’s interior.  She spied it on the very night she saw her home for the first time.  It was dark, and the lights were on inside the house.  She was walking outside, trying to be surreptitious and noticed the staircase through the lovely, elongated windows. She was immediately attracted to the open style.  The staircase is located to the right of the front door and together with the large, rectangular picture windows is a bit of a focal point.  Traditional enthusiasts would eschew her staircase but she has always loved it, and tomorrow, it will make its debut, mature but refreshed.  It will be a golden-hued beauty, accented with three post tops painted black, just a bit, to give it an edge. The aged carpet that wraps its steps will be torn free. It will be cleaned and exfoliated, then primed, and finally, the deeply saturated golden caramel oil-based paint will be carefully applied by hand.  Atlantic Beach’s best painters have been recruited for this special job. 

This wanna-be designer went through many iterations of choosing the paint combination for the staircase. An opportunity such as this doesn’t come along every day, and she wanted to get it right. Wanna-be designer thought that something dramatic, like black, or brown, or both,  would make the staircase look splendid. She elicited opinions from her husband (ambivalent), her father (eager to be helpful) and her internet friends (who live far away, but willingly looked at many uploaded pictures, and endorsed her brown/black concept). Her color-ambivalent husband dutifully painted some large cardboard swatches of the chosen brown and black. Wanna-be designer loved them, and pronounced them perfect for her staircase.  She believed it to be true.  Meanwhile, her husband was busy with a different painting project, re-doing a credenza for the living room.  Wanna-be designer thought it would be great to use the brown/black colors on the credenza and the staircase, so her agreeable husband transformed that piece with her chosen colors. He applied several coats of paint beautifully, yet it didn’t take but a glimpse of the newly painted credenza  for wanna-be designer to realize that the colors were completely wrong for the staircase. She felt horrified that she could have been so…off.  So utterly wrong in thinking that those colors could actually work in that space.  It was apparent in an instant, before her in living color, that they were. just. wrong.

The brown/black idea was lovely…on the credenza. Seeing them in person, she understood that on the  staircase they wouldn’t have melded.  A true designer has the innate ability to understand what a house is about.  It’s more than just a house’s architecture or style…it is what the house is, its essense.  The combination of architecture, natural light, the non-changeable elements like cabinetry, wood flooring and tile.   The house’s soul, and what it seems to tell an intuitive person about how it should look. And this house’s soul is about lighter tones.  Saturated colors, fine, but only in certain hues.  For instance, this house speaks gold, not silver.  A wanna-be designer sees brushed nickel accents and likes them for her house.  A real designer understands that the cool tones of nickel would fight with the warm tones of wood flooring, golden tiles, and rich greens, toasty browns.  This wanna-be designer is honing her skills one misstep at a time.

Bright side: thank goodness for newly painted credenzas to show this wanna-be designer the light before she made a serious mistake.  Moments after viewing her new brown/black furniture piece she repaired post-haste to the paint store and returned with a rich, lush golden shade.  The house has its own, inexplicable way of muting the color, of drawing the color into itself.  This color is the color, and suddenly everything falls into place. Hello,  Byzantine Gold by Benjamin Moore.  Cargo Brown and Edwardian Black? What was she thinking?  This wanna-be designer would have painted herself a cave and her husband would have insisted she live in it.  

As the two talented painters began their work, the wanna-be designer became a giddy homeowner and pranced around as they got down to it, snapping pics for her before and after album.  Within minutes they’d ripped away the twenty-one (yes, twenty-one) year old carpet from the steps and started sanding and priming the staircase.  Chemical odor permeated the house but she didn’t mind: her vision was taking shape!  

End of day one: wet paint.  Rich, golden caramel glistening.  Giddy homeowner has become hyper mother, insisting the children walk gingerly up the stairs, not to touch a thing, not to kick up the dust for it will stick to the wet oil paint and forever mar the finish.  Atlantic Beach’s best painters will return tomorrow to finish the job.

Wanna-be designer, giddy homeowner, hyper mother is tired but grateful. A lovely home  makes her happy and the staircase re-do followed by the much-needed new carpet will go a long way to satisfying her design urges.  There is always another project to contemplate…but this is pretty wonderful to her.

Final results: to be continued.


  1. CQA says:

    Can’t wait to see final pics!

  2. Owlhaven says:

    Oh, I want to see it done! I am picking tile and vinyl today for our bathroom….and now have the urge to blog it…


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