Up the wooden hill...
Stairs are a great invention, aside from the obvious use of getting up and down levels they are great calorie burners, general stairs practice (which most of us do everyday with minimal effort) retain and enhance balance & coordination and did you know the longest stairway recorded by the Guiness Book of Records is the service stairway for the Niesenbahn funicular railway in Switzerland. It has 11,674 steps and a round trip would burn over 3,000 calories!
In the 19th century stairs were at their beautiful best with many houses having multiple stair cases, the grand, ornate, sweeping wide ones as a show of wealth, along with the narrow, steeps, creaky ones at the back for the maids and house keepers. Then in the 20th Century architects favoured lifts; new, shiny, effortless means of elevating up a level. Everyone loves a new gadget. Now in the 21st century we are living in 'active design' times and stairs are more prominent again. Ladies, science has it you burn more calories climbing them in heels...easy cardio!
So back to our stairs, a small sturdy, open set with a right curve. The gentleman who built our house had never used the upstairs, no carpets, unfinished plastering etc. We tackled these jobs first but after only a few weeks of 4 pairs of feet clomping up and down our untreated pine stairs, the dirt was starting to show. Action was needed quickly as i wanted the stairs to remain wood. I suspect the previous owner and stair maker intended to carpet the stairs. The banisters are Oak and i wanted to match to them, i really didn't want the stairs to take on a gingery pine look so i stained the stairs with an oak stain. This didn't work on the pine, they got more and more ginger with every brush stroke. I had done every other step so that we could still go up and down, so i could see the dramatic difference. Before i rushed out to find the nearest homebase in a fit of panic i tried applying a walnut stain i had in the studio and by a saving miracle it worked, it toned down the ginger and gave them a richness, that was a complete happy accident that I'm incredibly happy with.
For the back of each step i painted them in Ronseals Floor paint - grey. I like the contrast and think it adds interest and depth to the stairs and lessens the wood look. I like wood but only in small doses, as a preference i prefer painted wood. I have a lot of wood to cover up in this house. The stairs got to stay. Check out pinterest for creative stair colours in abundance.
3 coats per step, 12 nights of painting, a lot of frog tape and voila!