I’m not done with the stair painting project. Getting there, though. There was a little snafu along the way; I had a change of heart. There were grand plans laid to start and finish the whole shebang in a single weekend – and I did get somewhere that first weekend, but it was kind of a bust and before I show you the real end result (which should be done by tomorrow and will be posted on Monday) I wanted to give you a little tutorial on my first attempt.
I really liked the concept of having a gradient of color going up (or down) the front of each stair; the samples I developed validated the idea, and I was really digging the top 4 steps of this next painted-on photo, featuring a gradient of gray and gold (the same gray that my sunroom floor is painted, and the same Behr Venetian Gold that’s so prominent throughout the entire house).
As I went forward with that plan, I drew out a more complex sketch of the stair scenario. You might have seen this a few weeks ago if you follow me on facebook (which you totally should, BTW, cough cough). I’m no artist when it comes to playing with a pencil, or in this case, a handsome thin-lined blue sharpie, but this was enough of a visual to help me see how many stairs I was working with and plan the ascent from the first story to the second. Turn your head to the left.
Knowing the number of stairs I had to paint (14 total), I started working on calculating out a gradual transition using the palette I selected: the gold, the gray, and plain white paint to lighten when necessary. Impressed with my precision? The whole 80/20 and 15/80/5 mixes? I was. I was damn proud. The little chemist in me was very pleased.
The whole while I planned, I thought I could visualize pretty easily how the color would vary and extend around the turn in the staircase. Somewhere along the planning process I switched the labels for light and dark gray in the right hand side of the page; it definitely would make for a more gradual and seamless transition from gray to gold.
When it came to measuring paint for those ever-so-anally precise calculations, I pulled a KitchenAid glass that’s used to measure coffee grounds, not liquids, but it was detailed enough that I felt I could manage to accurately mix the onslaught of shades I had promised myself to.
I’ll tell you straight up, the problem I had with Phase 1 is that I tried to do one color at a time, either mixing a hint of new color into the remaining formula, or else rinsing the glass out and starting fresh with a new shade. Maybe I was anxious to finish the project in one day, maybe I was lazy, but as I got into it, it showed. The accurate calculations I had planned for went out the window.
I would have been better off finding 14 cups and mixing 14 shades at the same time.
I started with the grays; the bottom step was easy – it was the same dark gray that was straight out of the can. The second step up had a hint of white in it to lighten it up, and same goes for the third and fourth steps. I was still happy at this point, but remember what I was saying about the whole mixing the colors in the single container thing: I would never be able to duplicate the formulas exactly as I had the first mix. It was a total OOPS-PAINT-blame-the-Lowe’s-paint-mixer-for-being-a-single-shade-off scenario live from my house.
Is the gray gradient even that apparent in this photo?
I left the 5th step plain white and moved onto the top stairs leading to the landing. I mixed the grays with the gold in the same fashion. The whole idea was to make the transition around the corner into darker, richer golds leading up to the second story.
I have such great ideas. And I was so excited to follow through on this vision. Until I got cookin’.
It was right around the 11th step up that I realized this wasn’t going to play out as I had precisely planned. Of course, by this time I was doing a lame-o job at washing out the glass and remeasuring accurately, and there was no precision to my art.
I was just adding color until it “seemed” different, although once dry, there was barely a change in the shade (that gold has some powerfully strong DNA). You must think I’m a lazy lame girl now, right? I’m cringing, it really was a poor effort. (Note: The top most step is painted the dark gold straight from the can)
Although, I will say that Pete really liked it and encouraged me to follow through on my original vision, but again, there was no way I could self-mix the colors that I needed to in order to match what I had already done. By the time the paint had totally dry, it was painfully obvious that each step would need a second and maybe third coat.
But there’s good news and there’s bad news.
Bad news first: I was so annoyed with my sloppiness that I didn’t even take a picture of the stairs painted at the end of Phase 1.
The good news: I did take a picture at the very beginning of Phase 2 that lets you see the failed effort from Phase 1 (see the slow gradient in this next photo?). I was surprisingly unimpressed by the subtlety in the transition; I definitely had thought that it was going to be more vibrant. Double good news: The photo also gives you a preliminary sneak peek of how I started to correct earlier this week jobber, wink wink. It’s been a long, long week of stair painting.
So come back on Monday; I promise you’ll like what you see.
And I promise it’s more accurate. I’m actually being mind-blown by my attention to detail this time around.