Foyer steps stuck in the 60s! Need some ideas!
March 1, 2014
We bought our house about a year ago. I've been fixing up one room at a time and over the past few months I've been working on our entrance/foyer area. I tiled the floor, put beadboard on the walls, and painted… but now I'm stuck on the steps. I like the slate, but the previous owners (original owners) painted over the beautiful stone. I tried a paint stripper, but there are too many layers of paint and the stone is too porous, so it did not work one bit. On top, there is an awful pebble garden that needs to go away since we have a baby that is about to crawl.

Just looking for some ideas. I thought about just painting over it, but that is a last resort. I attached 2 pics of the steps and one pic of the rest of the foyer. I welcome any help or advice you can share! Thank you!
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The white painted stone is fine - actually looks very nice. (Not saying I would have painted it back in the day as the previous owner did but I'm working from where you are now.) The railing is what's crying out for an update. The twisted wrought iron isn't horrible, but the right railing with chunkier and modern lines could really make these steps a showplace. For the stone, natural and painted, I'd just scrub it all thoroughly, touch up the paint, and seal the natural stone.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:30AM
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Any pictures showing the steps from farther away? Where are the new tiles?
    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:30AM
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soberg - I completely agree with you on the railing. I plan on taking out the railing up top (on top of the wall) since the piano is there. I think I will take your advice on the stair railing and maybe put in a modern one.

apple_pie_order - yes, I can take another pic of the steps from farther away. The new tiles are on the floor below the slate steps. You can see them a little bit in the 3rd picture.
    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:38AM
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Have you thought about continuing the beadboard up the stairs on the back wall and covering over the pebble garden with wood to make a shelf? I also would replace the railing with something wood with square balusters in keeping with your beadboard theme. I think I would just paint the stone risers and the front facing stone to match the beadboard. That would be the only stone left, still have a nice textural interest, and rather minimal. Just a thought.
    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:47AM
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Thanks rocketjcat! My wife also mentioned continuing the beadboard on the stone and I liked that idea a lot but I'm not quite sure how to attach it to the stone. Some of the stones push out a few inches farther than others. Do you think a strong construction adhesive would work?
    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 7:57AM
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You could faux-finish the rocks in a new set of colors to go with the new tiles if applying new tiles doesn't seem feasible. This would be time consuming but could look fine, depending on your skills and the time you have available to lavish on the project.
    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:16AM
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@fikus, I'm no carpenter, but I think construction adhesive would work... Maybe you could chisel & hammer some of the high points off first. And/ or you could put nailers up with adhesive and nail the beadboard to them. There would be some tricky cuts around the stairs, but you could make a template for that. Then trim it out like you did the rest of the foyer, which looks very nice. Just a suggestion.
    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:11AM
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I don't think the breadboard goes with this at all. Please don't add any more- it will be uneven and end up being a big mess. You could try a veneer stone over the original to get some color/ warmth personality back.
1 Like    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:18AM
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laura - I love the idea of covering it up with a stone veneer and I originally thought about putting it on top of the painted stone, but there is not way to attach it. The current stone is really uneven and would never hold a veneer. I even thought about attaching some thin plywood or subfloor to it for the veneer to attach to, but that would be almost impossible.
    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:29AM
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Kim Harvey Design, LLC
Here are a couple of recommendations that I would make if you were my client: The railings definitely need to go away. Since you've already got the cottage look going on (wainscoting), then I would choose a chunkier wood style w/a clean, shaker feel to it (houzz of course has some great photos if you need ideas). Next, in order to visually minimize the brick which now screams at you because of the contrasting white paint, I would find a soft gray in the same family as your slate & paint all of it. The brick will then blend in w/your slate that you DO like while your white bead board & railings function as the highlight. Finally, rather than using an additional railing @ the top, I would have your trim carpenter (whomever does your railing) build a small, open bookcase/etagere atop your "pebble garden" that would extend the full length & reach maybe 24"-30" in height so that you not only have a necessary barrier to the stairs, but you also have attractive storage that does not visually close in the area. This I would paint white as well to match the railing. The result of these few but important elements will be your eye travelling upward along the white millwork & subsequently into your living spaces, therefore forgetting about the painted brick.
Good Luck with your project!
3 Likes    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 10:48AM
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