The Ugly Bannister

by Liz Dowling

I have a question. Have you ever walked past something in your home and it has never bothered you? Then, for some reason, you notice it (in my case, after 19 years!) and it starts to drive you crazy? This is my ugly bannister.

Here is our Block Island house the year we bought it, 2001. The ugly bannister also had ugly brown stairs at the time. But, this was the least of my worries because we had just been told our second floor needed a steel beam to hold it up.

Here is the ugly bannister after we had painted, removed wallpaper, threw out old furniture etc. Probably 2002 or 2003.

Here is the ugly bannister in 2020. Because of Covid, we are on Block earlier than ever this year, so maybe I have more time to notice things. I came down the stairs about a week ago and took a good hard look at this thing for what felt like the first time. Yup, ugly.

If it was decent wood, I might think twice about painting it. But this is a mess. Plus, it makes this little section of the house look very dark. I had primer left over from painting the guest room and bought a quart of white semi-gloss at the hardware store. Time for a makeover.

Even with a pretty bad job of my first primer coat, you can see how it lightens up this section right away. I can tell you now why I never painted the bannister before ~ its a huge pain in the neck!

Second coat of primer going on. I pray I won’t have to do two coats of the white semi-gloss…. it is taking me 2-3 hours per coat to paint this thing.

A little side-by-side comparison. This is with two coats of primer and one coat of semi-gloss. I am going to live with it for a week or two before I see if I need to do a second coat of semi-gloss.

View from another angle into the living room.

Another before…

…and after. I am definitely happy with the results and I like how the white paint makes this little corner look fresh and bright. As always, now I am obsessing if I should paint the yellow walls white and repaint the stair treads and risers so they are updated too. I think I will wait on that!

Total cost: one quart of Benjamin Moore white semi-gloss paint and 7-9 hours of painting time.

the wry home

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sherry June 17, 2020 - 7:11 am

white paint makes. a. HUGE difference. Good for you! You are inspiring me!

Elizabeth Dowling June 17, 2020 - 9:11 am

I want everything white at the moment πŸ™‚

Amy Harden June 17, 2020 - 7:38 am

Well done – go you! What a difference a can of paint and sweat equity makes!

Elizabeth Dowling June 17, 2020 - 9:11 am

Lots of sweat equity πŸ™‚

Melinda Sweet June 17, 2020 - 8:59 am

Looks great, liz. Madre

Elizabeth Dowling June 17, 2020 - 9:10 am

Thanks Mod!

Anonymous June 17, 2020 - 2:31 pm

Love the change, Liz! Great improvement…. I also think chopping that big block of wood off the

Chris June 17, 2020 - 9:23 am

Looks great – it is so true on this things

Elizabeth Dowling June 17, 2020 - 9:39 am

Thanks Chris!

Phyllis June 17, 2020 - 10:03 am


Elizabeth Dowling June 17, 2020 - 11:03 am

and you will see it soon!

Katie June 17, 2020 - 2:49 pm

Love the new banister re-do, Liz!! Well done… so much lighter. I also might chop off that big wooden top on the post and replace with a pretty finial…. perhaps a glass float in hemp netting…. or a beautiful shell? Xx

Elizabeth Dowling June 17, 2020 - 5:16 pm

I like that idea! Something less bulky could look great πŸ™‚

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