October 7, 2010

Wainscoting Wishes

Of all the things I have coveted for my own home, wainscoting in my stairwell is #1, number one, numero uno. 

Before I go too far, let me show you where we started:


When we purchased our home, the front hall and stairwell was painted industrial grayish white and the trim was all poorly maintained dark wood.  It was a dungeon and we really, really didn't like it.


Fortunately, my mom came to visit one weekend a couple years after we bought the house and we worked her to the bone for a couple of days until we had a beautiful, striking, deep red entryway and stairwell with white painted trim.

(pay no attention to the clutter; turns out this is the only photo I had on file of the "after" of our stairwell and it just so happens it was taken on the same day as a front closet project, hence the mess)


Lovely as the red is and awesome as the fun frames are…there is one thing sorely missing from our stairwell that needs be addressed with increasing urgency.  Specifically, there is no handrail once you get past the half rail at the bottom of the steps.  We promised ourselves we would install something sooner than later so that neither one of us would fall down the stairs…but it never happened.  Then we promised we would do it when we had the baby so that we could be extra careful going up and down the stairs…but it still never happened.  Now we are at the moment where that baby is starting to learn to go up and down stairs and we need to stop hemming and hawing and get focused!!

Here is a tear out from an old Pottery Barn catalogue that I have saved for years now.  I take it out every once in a while just so I can look longingly at the beautiful wainscoting and wish away.  I love the classic lines, I love the traditional feel, I love the contrast with the white and the deep color, I love how it can be both pretty and functional. 


Well, it turns out I'm not nuts…because not recently I started watching a little show called Modern Family and the very. first. thing. I noticed was the staircase in the Dunphy home.  Look at that beautiful, crisp wainscoting against that gorgeous, husky blue. 

And here are some other great examples of how gorgeous and striking wainscoting up a stairwell can be:



Time is of the essence.  As I write this my munchkin is sitting in the foyer pointing at the staircase demanding we make it safer for him (ok, so really he's just pointing at the kitty…but you catch my drift).  So hopefully, in the next few months, that's exactly what we'll be up to.

Have you made any safety modifications to your home for your kids that have the fringe benefit of adding beauty as well?


(sources: 1-3: Miriam Bradford; 4: scan from Pottery Barn catalogue; 5: Modern Family Set Photo via Reckless Bliss; 6: This Old House; 7: Wainscot Solutions)

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