House Update: Back Stairwell

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Kyle and I renovated our kitchen just about three years ago. It was a process—old homes are always that way—and we never quite finished the project. We got about 95% done and called it good. We’d lived without a kitchen for almost six months, so we were fine if the trim wasn’t painted and there were small things that had yet to be done.

Here’s the problem with that though: We never revisited those little things. That included our back stairwell, which is right off the kitchen. It originally had shelves in this little nook area that we were able to use but we took them down when we started to renovate. We never hung them back up because we planned to make new shelves that would better suit the space and give us more room to store things. As a result, that back stairwell sat mostly untouched (outside of some patching and sanding) for three years.

That changed at the end of January. I got to work on painting the trim and walls of the space, while Kyle worked on sanding and staining the shelves.

The cool part about the shelves is that they were made from old church pews. A good friend of ours had been given a bunch of old pews and he’s repurposed them into all kinds of projects. One of those projects was the shelves, which he cut and got ready for us (just short of sanding and staining) probably two years ago.

It took about three solid weekends of work to finish the project, but I’m so glad we did. We finally have shelves (which means I actually have space to not only store many of our wedding presents but also display them) and we were able to re-hang our artwork in the back stairwell. We also added a new piece to the space too, which is a portrait of Jacks—sent by my one of my close friends—after he passed away last year. We hung it in the spot where Jacks’ leash used to hang by the back door before we got Scout (and the leashes moved to the front door). It felt like the perfect spot for him to be.

Overall, I’m really happy with how the space came together. It still has some little details to finish (I know, I know) but it’s much more functional now and not quite the eyesore it was before. Now on to finishing the rest of the kitchen…

You can see some of the transformation here:

@helloerinmarie Nothing some paint and new shelves can’t fix. #homeimprovement #homeproject #diyhomeimprovement #diyhomeprojects ♬ original sound – Molly-DIY + Home Design

And here’s a before:

And after:

I still have some re-shuffling to do on the shelves. I just wanted to get everything out and start organizing from there, but I’m happy for now with how much they hold. The shelves are also just around the corner from our kitchen so it’ll be nice to be able to grab something easily as I need it (versus having to go all over the house to different storage points).

Also, if you’re curious what paint color we used on the walls, it’s Sherwin-Williams’ Agreeable Gray. It’s my go-to wall color, and I love it. I’m also aware everyone used it for a long, long time but look… It’s agreeable. Of course it’s been popular.

House updates are always a bit slow around here, but I’m glad when we get something checked off the list. We have a few areas we still want to work on, so hopefully this inspires us to keep going.

If not, I’ll have an update in three years.


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