The stairwell in our home is right in the center of the house, and it gets a ton of traffic. To the right of the above photo is the kitchen, and to the left is the living room. This pass through area is small, but I see it so much that I want it to be pretty.
It has gone through a few changes since I started this blog a few years ago. First, I painted the back wall Benjamin Moore’s Hale Navy for a little punch.
But this setup just wasn’t doing it for me, so I sold the fabulous yet bulky Dorothy Draper chest, framed out Schumacher’s Chiang Mai Dragon wallpaper, moved the West Elm Parsons Console from the entry hall to this space, and hung a mirror I found at an estate sale.
The stairwell has looked like the above photo for about a year and a half now, and this past weekend, I decided we were due for a change. I liked having the big basket there for boots and other large, miscellaneous items that like to clutter this space, and of course, I love the vintage blanc de chine lamps and the antique prayer box. With all we have had going on here lately with continued bathroom construction, and a collapsed porte cochere, this little area had gotten fairly frantic with things that needed to be put away. Once I had gotten everything clear, it was time to figure out how to give the stairwell a fresh look.
When I am rearranging a space, I try to get it as bare bones as possible so I can really see what I am accomplishing/not accomplishing. So I cleared everything out except for the console which I knew needed to stay there. I also find that taking photos of each look as I add/take away things is really helpful – I do this with clients, and I do this for my own home, too. Seeing your space in a photo can really help you find the strengths and the flaws in what you are creating.
For a split second, I did ponder exchanging the console with the chest in the dining room, but I decided since this area is so slim, having a piece of furniture that is open at the bottom is best as it lends a more airy overall feel.
Side Note: By the time I finished cleaning up the collected clutter, it was nighttime, so sorry these next few photos are not the best.
I also thought about switching out the rug, but the vintage one I have there compliments the wallpaper so well, and I did not have another good option in my house, so that stayed, too. After staring awhile, I decided to switch the mirror I had there with the mirror from the dining room.
I liked how the black outline on the mirror picked up on the black silhouettes in the wallpaper, so I added what may be at the top of the list for greatest Craigslist finds, my newest Craigslist treasure, a vintage Sarreid chest.
I originally moved it over to the far left because in my mind, I thought I could still put my big basket next to it. It did not fit, plus it looked weird, so I decided to center it, and added the lamps from the living room. The basket is going to go in the closet to the right of the console table for now.
I thought the lamps may work, but the ivory shades were a little blah, so I switched them out with black ones I have from Target.
I really really liked those lamps there, but my husband enjoys seeing the chinoiserie lamps there because of how pretty they look at night. Therefore, the next day, I switched the lamps back, added an oval brass tray, some books, and my favorite bust, and stepped back…
This is a very simply decorated space, but I think the few intentional items really give the stairwell new life and help it look finished without looking overly decorated, which is how I felt it looked before.
The vibrancy of the wallpaper marries the blues and greens in my home and adds in some extra pop,
the lamps, oh the lamps, add such sophistication, and I have still not ever seen another pair like them,
and the bust is a beautiful piece of art I fell in love with at an antique store long ago.
I paid around $50 for it, and at the time, I felt like I had spent a fortune, but I felt so drawn to it, and I have never regretted the purchase. It is signed and numbered, but I have never been able to find anything on the artist. I am especially drawn to its hands, and I like to put them in different positions. They have such a graceful and elegant look to them, almost ballerina-like.
We should talk more about the chest though, shouldn’t we?? I found it on Craigslist in another city in my same state while looking for something else. I will sometimes look at Craigslist in other cities in Texas because we have friends/family spread out, and a little trip might be worth it for something awesome. : ) A simple search for “brass” led me to the chest, and I could hardly believe it. I have admired vintage brass Sarreid chests for years, and since they are so rare, they can be quite pricey in vintage/antique stores. Since I had some scheduling conflicts and could not pick it up right away, I asked if by chance the seller would be willing to deliver for a fee (sellers will do this sometimes). The seller was not willing to drive all the way to Fort Worth, but she was willing to take it as far as Waco. Ding-ding! Youngest brother. In Waco. Sold.
My sweet brother got this in his apartment, kept it safe for me for a week or so, loaded it into his car, and dropped it off when he came to Dallas for work. Gold star for Baby Brother. He was also the kind soul that got me my awesome $400 couch.
Since Sarreid chests are true brass, they often have lots of pitting and scratches from age, bad storage conditions, and overall neglect. This one has barely been breathed on. I have never seen one in such beautiful condition. I initially thought I would sell it and put the profit towards another project, but it is so pretty, I have decided to keep it for now. Just so I can stare at it for awhile.
Books are always a great tool to use as accessories, and these are all books I like and have read. I find I’m more apt to search for a particular passage or photo previously enjoyed when I have books out for display like this. To “relax” the look of a stack of books, think about turning them slightly to break up the stacked symmetry and create a more casual, “these just ended up here” feel.
You can see the coat closet in the below photo,
and this image gives you a better idea of how small this space is. Taken from the viewpoint of the living room, you can see the entrance to the kitchen on the right.
It’s always amazing to me how a few changes give you a whole new excitement and appreciation of a space.
And even though I feel like this ambiance is really hard to capture, I especially love this area at night. The warm glow from the lamps is a soothing nod as I flip off the kitchen lights and head upstairs. The kids are asleep, and the house is quiet.