Oh right, fun fact, there’s a huge attic in this house. You don’t see much of it on this blog because it’s mostly storage, and as much as it would make a wonderfully converted office or living space like some of our friends have done in their homes, that takes some mad beans. Cost restraints aside, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t thought about it, especially considering that the house will be in need of a brand-spankin’ new roof in the next few years, and wouldn’t that be the perfect time to spruce it up? Think skylights or more dormers, and some great area rugs over the existing wood panel floor. Or cool FLOR carpet tiles and rad CB2 loveseats…. I digress.
Our access to the attic is great too; unlike crawlspace designs where you’re popping through a hole in the back of your guest room ceiling, there’s a real, permanent staircase accessible behind a closed door next to the bathroom. It’s locale helps to further explain why the stairwell closet that I painted here is such a wonky shape.
Thumbing through my brain cells and the search functionality on the blog, I’m pretty sure that the only attic-improvement related project that I tackled was this one where I repainted and refinished the paned glass window that overlooks the front yard. Good project, totally worth it from a curb appeal standpoint, but it didn’t really tell you a lot about the attic space itself.
The lack of attic documentation has a lot to do with the fact that it’s really dark up there with only one window and a single light bulb. And spiders, there are some spiders. And Pete’s Carhart snowsuit that hangs in the corner in shadows convinces me that someone is hiding in the corner of the attic every time I embark to innocently find Christmas ornaments or bubble wrap or extra cardboard boxes. So just trust me, it’s a tall room, and big too (the entire size of the footprint of my home) and hopefully someone, someday makes great use of the space.
When I moved into the house, there wasn’t much I needed to store in the attic. It was almost completely empty until we moved some extra kitchen cabinets up there for safe keeping in the fall of 2010. It filled up much more when Pete moved in last spring. Kids toys. Extra clothes. Lamps. An inordinate number of Christmas tree stands and bed frames.
These days, we’re up and down the stairs at least few times a week, usually carrying up something big and heavy, or carrying down something big and heavy in almost no natural light and the glow of a single light bulb. And one thing is apparent: those painted steps are slippery.
Adding some traction paint to the stairs has been on my to-do list for the last 6-months or so, but I’ve been waiting for warmer weather so that I can open the single dormer window and the attic door for access and ventilation without releasing precious heat in chillier months.
Creating your own gritty-traction-sandpaperish floor isn’t anything super special or new-founded; you can either buy those non-slip panels to stick a rough surface onto the smooth surface, or blend floor paint with fresh-from-the-beach sand and paint it on yourself.
For my slip-free stairwell concoction, I used about 2-cups of Valspar Porch + Floor paint, the same gloss light gray that I had purchased and used when I was repainting the sunroom floor, and added what equated to about 1-cup of beach sand until the consistency felt rough and tough and totally grit-tastic. I mixed the two right in an old plastic container that had previously been used for mixing tile grout, so any remaining gritty wouldn’t do any harm in the grand scheme of things… I mention that since maybe you’re wondering why the container itself looks filthy.
Before I got to painting the top of every step, I had given the whole staircase a really good wash down to eliminate the dust and dog fur and dirt that had been ignored for the last three years.
Starting from the top step, I worked my way downward to paint my way out of the attic stairwell, slathering an even coat of sandy paint to the tread of each step (not the riser and not the side pieces).
Painting the treads was quick, and once it was dry, I came back through with the same paint, un-sanded, to re-coat the remaining dark wood so that the whole staircase was a consistent shade of light gray.
Considering that I was going from seriously dark brown to a light gray, the stairwell itself is refreshed and brighter, even though it still looks dungeon-esque in this photo:
The project itself was pretty effortless, and the gritty texture of each stair tread is so nice, so grippy that it’s like getting a bottom-of-the-foot pedicure when you walk on it. Can you see the sparkle of the sand in this picture?
There will be no ballet twirls or slips on these stairs; it’s like walking on low-grit sandpaper.
Hey, what are those little round plugs on each stair? Does anyone know? They pop loose and seem to serve zero purpose.
The paint job on the stairs wasn’t the neatest, but that was actually intentional. Not sure if you noticed in all of the previous images and quietly judged me, but the walls of the attic stairwell need a damn good refinishing as well, which will only result in a repriming and repainting of the entire stairwell in due time. So, no sense in cutting in carefully where the stairs meet the wall since it’ll be cleaned up in due time anyways.
Hopefully I’ll get around to putting my skim-coating hat on in the next few days. All I know is that skim coating anything repeatedly is low on the list of things that I love to do, so it’s going to require more than coffee and blaring Cosmo talk radio to get my blood pumping.
Who’s ready to get this started?