Painting the Banister Black & White

Hello! As you may have guessed, Roger & I have been on a total DIY home renovation spree lately. It's like a domino effect--when one project is complete we can't wait to start another. Instead of escaping down south to an all-inclusive resort this summer, we opted for a "Staycation" in attempt to beautify our home. My job: To tackle the front foyer. I'd like to share with you how I took our banister from too-traditional to modern-excellent. I absolutely adore it!

Sept 3 - Before stairs

Supplies needed for this project:

Tremclad Rust Paint (Black & White)

TSP for stripping

Microfiber cleaning cloth

Rotary sander (I picked up the Black & Decker Mouse) with 80, 120, 220 grit paper

Sanding Blocks - 80, 120 & 220 grit

2 paintbrushes for oil-based paint

Painters tape (I went through 2 rolls)

Drop cloth for spills

Tweezers (optional for picking out stray bristles)

Cost: Approx. $100 if you have to buy everything from scratch

Sept 3 - Supplies

To start the transformation, I had to first prep the wood for painting. I applied a TSP solution to the entire banister and rinsed 3 times with water. When dry, I tackled the hand railing with the electric sander. Which grit you go with depends on how much sanding needs to be done; in our case 80 was necessary to grind out years of abuse and questionable markings. (I discovered various religious symbols etched into the wood.) I then used the 120 grit sanding block on the spindles and less-scratched areas.

Sept 3 - More sanding

Next I taped up my boundaries. I wanted a nice crisp line between shades. I then painted the hand rail and larger spindles black and waited 24 hours before removing the tape.

Sept 3 - Taped Stairs

For unwanted paint spots, I applied a 1:20 solution of TSP and water.

Sept 3 - TSP

I taped again and applied the first coat of white paint to the spindles and base of the banister.

Sept 3 - White tape

I let that dry for 48 hours and applied a second coat of white -- this was a must for maximum opaqueness.

Sept 3 - More stairs

Love it!

I am so pleased with the finished look! Although time consuming (the project took me 4 days to complete), painting the banister is an easy and affordable way to revamp your front entrance. I feel like I've teased myself with what I've done; now I can't wait to rip up the carpet and get some hardwood on the stairs!

Oops! There I go getting ahead of myself again. One project at a time. But when I do replace the carpet, I promise to post about it! 🙂


Wine Time: Niagara-on-the-Lake Getaway

What's a vacation without a little wine? After days of Staycation renovations, Roger and I decided to treat ourselves to a little R&R at a B&B in picturesque Niagara-on-the-Lake, complete with a guided wine adventure with Niagara Vintage Wine Tours. I took a few (okay more than a few) pictures to highlight our favourite parts of the trip.

Sept 1 - B & B

If you are looking for a place to stay in Niagara-on-the-Lake, I HIGHLY recommend Ranger's Retreat. Managed by retired restaurants owners, Brian and Jan, this upgraded tudor-style house has everything you'd ever need in a Bed & Breakfast and more--fuzzy slippers, an outdoor sauna, Niagara heritage books, a basket of "in-case-you-forgot-me" items. There are 4 bedrooms (two with balconies) and each have their own bathroom.

Sept 1 - Rangers Retreat

Tea time was a must...

Sept 1 - B&B T

Especially when we had this gem of a collection to work with! English Breakfast was our tea of choice.

Sept 1 - Tea Box

Pictures out by the pool.

Sept 1 - Close up

The house and the gardens were immaculate.

Sept 1 - Garden

We had a little time to kill between our arrival at the B&B and our departure for the wine tour. We opted for lunch at Epicurean (they have gluten-free bread for sandwiches!) and we had a blast meandering through the quaint little shoppes and museums of Niagara-on-the-Lake. I though this sign was punny.

Sept 1 - Grape Escape

Inlaid wood flooring at the Prince of Wales hotel.

Sept 1 - Feet

The thing I love most about the region is how wonderfully landscaped everything is! Downtown was a horticultural dream and the surrounding neighbourhoods were just as pretty.

 Sept 1 - Poppy

We walked through the Trisha Romance museum. Some of her original paintings are valued at $45000. Our reprints will do just fine.

Sept 1 - Trisha Romance

We picked up some awesome coasters to facilitate safe wine drinking at home.

Sept 1 - Glasses

Our private chauffeur picked us up at five for the tour. This was the other tour bus--we rode in style in a Mercedes SUV (not that I'm bragging or anything!) Haha, I think the other patrons were a little jealous...

Sept 1 - Tour Bus

We tried a few grapes--they were tart and very seedy, but they make for great wine!

Sept 1 - Grapes

Pondview Estates winery was our first stop. At only 3 years old, it has already achieved world-renowned status for its Chardonnay.

Sept 1 - Pondview

Highlight of the trip--Icewine in dark chocolate cups!!

Sept 1 - Chocolate cup

Seconds after experiencing this little taste of heaven, I started Pinteresting ways to make chocolate cups. This recipe will revolutionize the party shot... at least in my kitchen.

Sept 1 - Icewine tasting

Couples photo at Pilliteri Estates.

Sept 1 - Couple

Our tour guide was fantastic. We caught a glimpse of the wine cellar where they keep all their barrels.

 Sept 1 - Pilliteri

The last winery we visited was Peller Estates. Driving up to the building, we got a sense that this winery was a big deal. It is stunning in both size and appearance. The hospitality; however, was a little amiss. The wines were yummy, but I wish we would have gotten a guided tour 🙁

Sept 1 - Winery of the Year

A 3 course dinner and wine pairing at Zee's was included in our tour package. Roger is making a Roger face while we wait for our waitress.

Sept 1 - Roger

Sept 1 - Dinner

Everything on the menu was organic and locally-grown. This was Roger's Ribeye--much too rare for me!

Sept 1 - Rib Eye

We awoke to a delectable selection of local artisan cheeses, homemade bread, fresh organic fruit, and homemade chutneys, jams, and spreads. The neat thing about B&B style accommodations is meeting new people; we sat down for breakfast with a recently married, retired couple from New York.

Sept 1 - Spread

Mushroom & herb omelette with cheese, asparagus, and grilled tomatoes courtesy of our host and former restaurant owner, Brian.

Sept 1 - Yum

One thing is for sure--we would go back to Ranger's Retreat in a heartbeat! One night seemed too short a stay, so next time we will stay for two and perhaps enjoy some light reading by the pool. The tudor-style home was one you can easily find comfort in, despite it not being your own.

As exceptional a time we had exploring Niagara-on-the-Lake, there are a few things we plan to do differently next time around. Firstly, we would not need to pay as much for the wine tour as we did. Don't get me wrong--Niagara Vintage Wine Tour was fun and informative, but very pricey. We would have been better off to take a few complimentary tasting cards from the B&B to experience the wineries on our own. The tricky thing would be finding transportation; we might have to bring/rent bicycles or hire a driver. Totally doable.

All-in-all we liked the small vineyards the best. They're not so hoity-toity and they really value your business. Plus I love it when the family members come out to meet you and conduct the wine tasting sessions themselves... for a brief second I think "I could definitely run a vineyard"... and then I think "Nah, I'll just drink the wine." We are now big fans of Icewine--80% of the world's supply is produced in Canada--and I'm so excited to have some in my fridge right now. Dark chocolate Icewine shots are my new guilty pleasure. Beau chapeaus are a close second.

Sept 1 - Out the door