Things here at the beach house are at a bit of a stasis point. I’ve managed to accomplish quite a lot in just three summers (check out the Renovation and Decoration Report for a summary on that) but so much remains to be done. I often find it hard to synthesize the house projects with the kids’ need for summer vacation and a constant stream of house guests. Some projects are small – still looking for night stands in the master bedroom – and some are large, like the kitchen needing a complete overhaul – which you will certainly be hearing more about.

A small project that I’d like to sort out once and for all is our staircase. I’ve written about it extensively here and here before. Long ago it was fully painted white and stripping it is beyond my desire. For all the reasons written about in those earlier posts, a painterly solution and perhaps a runner still seems like the best bet. A favorite inspiration photo I’ve had up on my desktop all winter from Apartment Therapy has grey treads and a dark railing.

staircase via apartment therapy

I had also featured this photo in an earlier post and I keep returning to it too.

painted stairs Marie Claire Maison via FTRB

So I had pretty much come to the conclusion that I want to do something similar here at the house when I was offered the best of proof. A Tokyo friend bought a beach place in California and we had been having fun batting around decorating ideas. She and her designer Heather Schmitt had been talking about what to do with a wood staircase that did not match her floors elsewhere and one idea was to paint it. Her colors in the house tended towards a coastal direction – tan, whites and blues – and personally I have been loving and writing about deep blues – think Farrow & Ball Hague Blue – and how calm and neutral they are.  So I threw out the idea of white risers with blue treads and railing as an idea to her.

Dawn before stairs

I swear I barely blinked and they were done. Aren’t they absolutely fantastic!

Dawn stairs after

Not long afterward, Emily Henderson posted this Instagram of a staircase she had painted in a deep blue – both treads and railing – commenting that in over a year it hadn’t chipped at all.

Emily Henderson blue stairs instagram

So I am planning to take the plunge and paint, but I need to make a decision about color, tone and intensity. My questions for you all are the following…First off, should I go with a grey or a blue? Keep it mid-toned or go dark like my friend? Her stairs are tucked away, but mine are a central feature of the living room/dining room so you will really see them. And for the record, the chairs are not normally pushed up against the railing like that, but I just had a dear friend visit with her four little boys and they thought chairs on coasters were great fun…

beach house stairs

Second question concerns the railing. Unlike many of the staircases featured above, mine does not have open treads on the sides – they are fully closed and molded. My railing is also quite busy and detailed.

grey sideboard

So I am considering painting the treads, but not the railing, which is different from all my other examples here, but similar to these pink steps. Yay or nay on that one?

Pink Painted Stairs

While we are talking blue, there is more news on that color from Loi Thai, proprietor of Tone on Tone Antiques in Bethesda, MD. You may recall that he was the winner of the LuRu Home pillow from the giveaway I did this spring. Loi’s home is simply spectacular, as are his gardens, and you can read more about them on his blog, as well as see the details of his newly decorated home office, which includes the indigo dyed Babyteeth pattern pillow that he won.

Loi Thai Luru pillow

He is a master at working with soft colors, but I love the way he has jazzed up this space with some unexpected color, patterns and art.

Loi Thai home office

I’m looking forward to hearing your comments – I’d love to get this project checked off my list! For more images and ideas to consider, check out my Painted Stairs Pinterest Board.