This is the Before: we are fortunate to have a good-sized foyer and a curved staircase, but the stained staircase with wrought iron spindles is has so much presence that it's overwhelming. It also makes the wainscoting and moulding work in the same space look incomplete.
This is the mock-up from Photoshop: I needed to visualize how a painted staircase would look like in my own space. So far so good.
This is the Progress: after getting a few quotes all north of $1,000, I've decided to tackle this on our own. I was wrong to think the taping was challenging - it turned out to be the easiest part of the entire job. The trick is to be thorough: there's no such thinking as too much tape. Over-protection will make your subsequent tasks less stressful.
Staircase in ScotchBlue Edge-Lock Tape
I taped up all the spindles, anything I imagined would likely be in the way of brushes and rollers.
Once I started priming, I realized making a decision to paint the staircase wasn't the toughest part after all. After the first coat of primer was when I had the most doubt - just look at all the streaks on the risers! That's when I said to myself that I might have made a mistake to paint the staircase but it was too late. Moving forward and finishing the job was my only option.
This is our staircase after two coats of KILZ Odorless Primer. It's not entirely odorless so if you are up close painting and have sensitive airways like I do, I would still recommend you wear a carbon filter respiratory mask to reduce the amount of fumes inhaled.
So bright and airy and more put-together.
With lights on, the space has a warmer glow.
So my foyer transformation is now officially wrapped up, and I think I am completely happy with how it looks. One key lesson learnt from painting the staircase is that don't give up when in doubt (when you see those streaks). It will only get better once you paint over primer, I promise. Also don't forget to stock up on Ibuprofen before you start - your legs are going to be so sore from squatting and your lower back from turning and twisting that you are going to need some once you are done. That I promise as well.