As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Monday, January 24, 2022

House Projects 2022 | Project #1

Each January, Ron and I sit down with pencil and paper and discuss the house projects that we'd like to accomplish in the coming year. We actually list
everything that we would like to do in the future (that list is long!) and then choose a top five for the current year. 

This is flexible. If we finish the top five, we can choose something else. If one of the five doesn't happen for some reason or another, we can substitute . . . or just not accomplish it all. Sometimes there may be a bit of time in which we can fit a smaller project so we'll go ahead and do that. Or sometimes our priorities change during the year. The main thing is that we keep moving forward with our vision and keep chipping away at our goals. 

This year, we have two main projects in our top five, and three smaller projects. In this post, I will tell you all about the first project. 


Looking from the dining room, through the basement stairwell, into the kitchen.

Between our dining room and living room, there a dark little space that leads to our basement. I always avoid showing it in photos because it really doesn't connect visually with anything else in our house. It is covered with the same paneling that is in our master bedroom, has the same pressed board ceiling tiles, and the stairs have the same carpet, leading us to believe that those spaces were completed or updated at the same time. 

(To clarify: The master bedroom paneling is now painted, and the room has a new ceiling and hardwood floors. We did that makeover in the winter of 2020. I don't think I ever showed you the full "after," just a few glimpses here and there. Oops.)

We will only be working on the stairway area. The basement itself needs a lot of work, but that will be for another year.

Looking from the kitchen, through the basement stairwell, into the dining room.

Here are our plans to update the basement stairwell:

1) Replace the pressed board tile ceiling with drywall. This is an aesthetic change. Drywall will look so much better. You can get a glimpse of the tile in this photo of our master bedroom before the makeover. 

(Note: Ron and Ryan hung the drywall last week. It is unfinished, but it already looks better!)

2) Paint the walls and trim. The walls will be Antique White (color match of an old Valspar color), the same as all of the other walls in our house. The trim will be the same tan that is in the living room, dining room, and hallway. It is a very slightly lightened color match to Linen White, an Olde Century Color. 

3) Replace the ceiling light. We have a double saddle light from Irvin's Tinware. (We've had this a while, but we think that we purchased it on eBay.)

This is the current light.

4) Remove the carpet.
Because this is the same carpet that was in our master bedroom, I did not have high hopes about what was under it. The bedroom had a tile floor under the carpet, so I imagined the same tile or maybe even particle board. Would we have to replace the treads? That would be a big project.

But a few days ago, Ron cut into the carpet on a lower tread and . . . lo and behold . . . the treads are PINE! I am thrilled! We'll have to do some refinishing, but they are certainly usable and I think they will look great. I will probably look for a stair runner because this house often has old people (some of them live here!) and babies and safety is a factor, so I want to soften the edges of wooden treads. 

tile floor that was under the master bedroom carpet

5) Build a half door/baby gate at the top of the stairs. This is also a safety measure. 

When we moved into Pineapple House, we were puzzled by the wooden bar that was across the middle of the doorway. What was its purpose? It couldn't prevent a child from falling down the stairs, nor would it keep a pet upstairs. We eventually came to the conclusion that it was a safety feature for older people. The bar was easily raised and lowered, but it was at a height that would prevent an older person from accidentally falling down the steps when passing through the space. 

Over the years, we have used various approaches to keeping little ones from getting to those stairs. Sometimes, we are in the dining room and we keep an eye out. Sometimes we have slid the piano bench over to the dining room doorway. When Ryan and Sarah became foster parents to Baby K, they bought a baby gate that fits in the doorway, but because Manzy's litter box is in the basement, we have to allow clearance at the bottom. 

When Kati and Andrew have visited and we have had to have the baby gate up for days at a time, Ron has stepped over it 😱 to avoid moving it and putting it back for a quick trip to the basement. Before their Christmas visit, I made him promise me that he would NOT do that! (Wives, are you with me?!) 

We have looked for a baby gate that would be more permanent with a door that an adult can easily open and close, but the need for clearance at the bottom has made that search challenging. Ron has decided that he will build a half door that will meet all of our specific needs for that space. We anticipate old people and babies in our house for years to come, so it's an investment in the future.

See the mysterious bar? What do you think its purpose is?

6) Install a door at the bottom of the stairs. This one is a "maybe." If we use the basement as a bedroom or guest room or even a sitting room/game room with a sleeper sofa, a door would give privacy from the upstairs. So we may install a door (Ron already has one), or we may defer that to another time. 

This stairway update will certainly brighten and freshen this dark little space! The plan this week is to finish the drywall and (hopefully) begin painting. One step at a time . . . 

I will be back soon to tell you about the biggest project that we have planned for this year . . . the one that I am most excited about! 


  1. I love how you choose projects for your home at the beginning of the year, Cheryl. Stairwells to basements are certainly tricky. I'm in agreement with you on your wish for Ron not to step over a baby gate. Falling down the stairs would not be pretty. The bar across the stairs surely must have been put there as you say to remind one of the upcoming stairs. It's good to have help when installing drywall as that is a bear of a job. The paneling looks familiar. I would love to paint our paneling in our basement. We are at that point in our life where we need to hire someone to handle such projects. Looking forward to seeing more of your ideas. PS I love the ceiling light you have chosen.

    1. I expected to have solidarity about that climb over the baby gate to go down the stairs. It made me cringe every time! Painted paneling really brightens a space. We are so glad that we did that in our bedroom. But I really get the idea of hiring things out. The wisdom is knowing when is the right time for which project. The big project I am talking about next is one that is hired! Whew!

  2. This sounds like a great project that will make your house safer for babies (and older people), and be lighter, too.

    1. Yes, those are the main goals for this space! Both are welcome!

  3. Sounds like a big project. I must say that I have never seen an open access to the basement like yours. Interesting. All that I have known, have a full door where that bar is. Mine does for which I am grateful. Children and old folks need protection. I like the way you and Ron decide what projects are in your future. 👍🏼 Have fun!

    1. Now you have me wondering why there was not a full door to the basement? There obviously never was because there is not a wall above the opening to frame it in. I will be happy with my half door though, because it will offer the needed safety! It is exciting to be making improvements, so we will have fun!

  4. I sure admire how the two of you plan and complete your projects. This will be a very nice update. So glad those stairs are pine! Cracking up about some old people living in your house. LOL. It is smart to put in safety measures for sure. I like the half door idea. Yikes about stepping over the safety gate!! That bar is clearly for practicing ballet!

    1. I was so delighted to learn that the stairs are pine! I'd have never guessed!

      So that's what Ron thought, I guess . . . that he was practicing ballet! 😀 Sometimes he forgets that he is one of the old people!

  5. I admire your planning, and I know your plans for this space are going to turn out awesome. I think you've probably made the correct guess about that piece of wood across the top.

    When you described Ron stepping over a baby gate at the top of the stairs I was like... "What?!?" So yes, I'm with you. We want to see lots more projects that Ron will do, so he needs to be careful and not get hurt.

    1. Thanks, Becki . . . for the encouragement and for the solidarity about that gate hopping!

  6. I love these kinds of makeovers. They have huge impact on the live-ability of a home! I'm with you on lightening up the space and it will flow better with your whole house asthetic!

    Can't wait to hear about the big project!

    1. Thanks, Deanna! And this one is very low budget too, because we already have the light and we won't have to do much to the stairs. Gotta love a low budget/high impact project!

      So, the big project is not a low budget one, but it will make a huge improvement in how we use our home. Can't wait to share! Gathering photos . . .


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...