REFURBISHING THE STAIRS: PART I

April 18, 2016

The carpet is gone; the carpet padding is gone; the tack strips are gone; two milion staples are gone. The stairs are ready to be made beautiful.

Our staircase future feels bright.

LEARNING WHAT IS UNDER THE STAIR CARPET from Rachel Schultz 2

The only thing more work than spackling two million staple holes was removing two million staple holes.

REFURBISHING THE STAIRS PART I from Rachel Schultz

After spackle-palooza I got to bust out my Christmas gift for the first time – this bosch orbital sander.

I chose it because with my brief research, it has high reviews, a good price, and is pretty for a power tool. (And there is a chic carrying case for when you are, you know, orbital sanding on the go.)

REFURBISHING THE STAIRS

Part I of my refurbishing process is working on the risers and part two will be staining the runs. For the risers, I wanted a smooth, glossy white final surface.

ORBITAL SANDERS FOR PRESIDENT. It blasted through the job really smoothly and getting one with a little trap for the dust made it clean to work with and I did not need a respirator.

REFURBISHING THE STAIRS PART I from Rachel Schultz 2

One tip for using an orbital sander is that you do not need to push down harder to get the surface smoother. If the material is not getting as smooth as you want you need a higher grit paper. Pressing down on the sander just slows down its orbit.

For this job, I passed over once with a p80 paper and then finished with a p180.

REFURBISHING THE STAIRS PART 1 from Rachel Schultz 4

PHASE I IS COMPLETE.

Let us recall the entryway status before we moved in.

Before and After

Renovation progress, it is a beautiful thing.

HOW TO CARAMELIZE ONIONS

April 13, 2016

I have previously written at length of my love for onions. Well, my very favorite specific way to consume onions might just be caramelized ones. We love them on burgers, sandwiches, and even salads.

Really lots and lots of entrees are just that much better if you top the dish with some caramelized onions. Their perfectly natural sweetness is to be adored and knowing how to nail them every time is a nice tool for the at home cook. This is my tried and true way to make them. The bottom line is low and slow.

HOW TO CARAMELIZE ONIONS from Rachel SchultzHOW TO CARAMELIZE ONIONS
Serves about 1 cup onions

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 onions, sliced

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add onions to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, about when the oil starts sizzling. It is best to slice the onions quite thickly to prevent burning, and because they will reduce significantly in size while caramelizing. After the 3-5 minutes on medium heat, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 60 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes. Deglaze the pan by adding 1 tablespoon of water to lift all the flavorful bits from the pan onto the onions.

HOW TO CARAMELIZE ONIONS
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, sliced
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Once butter is melted, add onions to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes, about when the oil starts sizzling. It is best to slice the onions quite thickly to prevent burning, and because they will reduce significantly in size while caramelizing.
  3. After the 3-5 minutes on medium heat, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 60 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan by adding 1 tablespoon of water to lift all the flavorful bits from the pan onto the onions.

 

HOW TO PAINT WALLS AFTER REMOVING WALLPAPER

April 11, 2016

After stripping our wallpaper with a clothes steamer, the walls were mostly bare, but there was some glue residue and tiny paper scraps lingering. (In this photo, I have not painted yet, that is just what the walls underneath the paper looked like!)

STRIPPING WALLPAPER WITH A CLOTHES STEAMER from Rachel Schultz 6

To prepare the previously wallpapered walls for painting, the method I used was not all that different from what I used anytime I prep to paint a room (dust and scrub with soapy water).

This time, I bought a big sponge with a scrubby side and used a 1:1 water and white vinegar solution. This helped loosen any remaining glue and paper left behind. With a little spackling and sanding here and there to spruce things up, we were ready to paint.

HOW TO PAINT WALLS AFTER REMOVING WALLPAPER from Rachel Schultz

Our walls are weird and even when we have done a white paint going over another white it still takes three coats. I did not prime, but maybe will experiment with it in the future.

I also often buy the cheapest paint, so testing out higher quality ones might lead to less coats required. In here, I need two coats each of cutting in and with the roller.

Entryway

HOW TO PAINT WALLS AFTER REMOVING WALLPAPER from Rachel Schultz

The walls are Valspar Four Winds (love) and I am waiting to do the trim because I have bigger fish to fry.

Even though the dated wallpaper was neutral-ish, now that it is gone the continuous white makes the entire first floor feel larger and more open. And just like, CLEAN.

Copyright © Rachel Schultz 2016

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