Recently, I’ve been updating my tired house. Not a huge remodel, but painting and updating all of the 1985 glory that is my abode.

I hired interior designer Mary Beth Brotzge from Brotzge Designs to help me in the process, as I am blithely unaware of what to do. The first thing she wanted to tackle were my foyer steps. I balked at this, as I only had eyes for my kitchen re-do. The foyer was way down on my list. But in her opinion, since the foyer is the first room anyone sees, it sets the tone for your house.

She was dead right.

My steps were covered in cream carpet with the original oak shiny bannisters. The carpet got so dirty, so often, that I actually purchased a carpet cleaner because I was so sick of renting them. It is obvious from the pictures below that I had not taken said carpet cleaner out for a spin in a long time.

Filthy all the time from a family of five traipsing up and down the steps all day.


Just an up close shot of the nasty.

First, the painter prepped the banisters by sanding them down. They were a shiny oak. And, I mean REALLY shiny.

Shiny bannisters sanded down.

My painter and I said a group prayer before we pulled up the carpet. If the wood was good, we were fine. If it was not, well, that would morph into a very expensive project. I would recommend you lift a step or two of the carpet up in the corners before you do the big reveal. If it is poor wood, you will have to replace all the wood before you paint it. You should know this before you start.

Turns out my steps were all high-quality wood. This fact made us both scratch our heads, thinking why would anyone cover these with carpet?

A good solid wood stair. Why would anyone initially carpet these?

My painters spent an entire day taking out carpet tacks, staples and nails and then repairing the holes with caulk and putty. Seem as though the carpet layers were highly aggressive to my poor wood steps.

The bannisters were painted first. We used the darkest shade of gray – a midnight steel gray.



There was one portion of wood on my landing area (where the stairs turn in another direction) that was pure plywood. A hardwood floor person replaced the plywood just in this one square. He also had to replace kick boards and other trim. My point being: you will need to enlist a hardwood person to help with this project as well. It is not just a painter’s job.



We painted the top of the stairs the dark gray color and the risers white. There are two coats of paint plus a paint of polyurethane to make it shiny and durable.




This project does require a few days of time off the steps. Each coat takes about 8 hours to properly dry. Painters would come early in the morning and work their way down the steps painting. So we would need to finish all of our business upstairs by 7 a.m. before we could walk up the stairs again around dinner time. We did this for three days: two coats of paint plus one coat of polyurethane. Be sure to figure this into your timing of the project.


The new and improved Potter foyer, circa 2013. Let’s hope this stays in style for the next 25 years.


I would highly recommend my painters, Pro Painters. They are fair and do a great job. To contact them, call or text Pro at 502-767-2929.

I would also highly recommend my interior designer Mary Beth Brotzge. She can be reached via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone/text at 502-314-8407.

The best part: now I just have to vacuum and mop my stairs, and no more stains. After spilling a cup of coffee down them last week, I did a little jig, knowing I would just have to wipe them off rather than bust out the carpet cleaner.