paint brush on a stick

Marian ParsonsBefore and Afters, My House37 Comments

I was all set to meet Kriste at the studio this morning, but as I was getting up and about for the day, I realized I really wanted to paint my walls and trim and get the tedious painting project that’s been hanging over my head for years, finished.  When the mood strikes to do something like that, you do it.  So I did.

I shared last week about some of the painting on my to-do list


Yesterday, I painted the walls (Gray Owl) and the trim (bright white out of the can) in the hallway through the arch.  It just looks fresher and brighter than it did with the off-white trim and creamy-beige walls.


Here the hallway is from the bathroom view before it was painted…


…and after.


The stairway was the same color and really dingy and scuffed.  You can see I have touched it up over the years…sometimes with the wrong paint, so it was nice and blotchy.  


It was a pain in the rear to paint all of this, but it looks so much better now!



I’m planning to install a stair runner to add a bit of color and also for safety.  We have all taken a spill on those steps, because they are shallow and slippery. Having a runner will provide some traction and at least cushion a fall!

I have my eye on this one from Dash & Albert

Dash & Albert stair runner

The hardest part of painting the stairway is how high the walls are.  Of course, I can use an extension pole to reach them with the roller, but without specialty ladders for stairs, I can’t reach the corners to cut in.  I painted the ceilings the same color, so I was able to get away with a simple solution – a paint brush on a stick.


I just taped the brush to the end of the extension pole and then I could reach the corners and edges.  It’s definitely not good for precision and it’s not pretty, but it did the trick!

I painted the ceilings the same color, because they are really low upstairs, as you can see.


Painting the ceiling the same color tricks the eye a bit to “lift” the ceiling.  That’s the official decorating explanation, so I’m going with it.  It also meant I could use my brush on a stick.

I had a clock hanging on the wall, but I swapped it out for an antique dress from Jeff’s side of the family.  It doesn’t stick out as far as the clock and is stunning enough to act as art.

mms-4752 mms-4729

I love how the bright white paint frames the doors and shows off one of my favorite original features of the home…the door knobs.


My dad has had to tinker with several of these knobs to get them to latch, open and close properly, etc.  There was actually one room you couldn’t get out of if the door closed, because the knob wouldn’t turn the latch!  He fixed that, though.  Jeff and my dad have mentioned replacing them, but I won’t hear a word of it!  The door knobs go?  I go.  No, not really, but I do love them and they are worth all of the quirks.


One original feature that I would like to replace is the hall light.  It does have a somewhat charming vintage quality about it, but it is the only light for the hallway and stairs, so it would be nice to replace it with something that can put off more light.  Because of the low ceilings, though, it has to have a very low profile and I’ve never found something I really like.  I’ll just keep a lookout and, I’m sure, one of these days I’ll find just the right thing.


Next, I need to start working on the pictures for the gallery wall.  I have a large stash of family letters, pictures, mats and frames and I just need to start putting them all together.  I know it will bring so much life to the halls and make them feel like real spaces, not just dingy, neglected places used to get from point A to point B.

paint brush on a stick

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37 Comments on “paint brush on a stick”

  1. Marion,
    I’ve got those same low ceilings in my upstairs hallway and my husband just popped in some recessed lights. It helps so much to not have those globes hanging down. He even added one light and gave me a dimmer. Nice new-house upgrade for an old house=>

  2. Thank you for the photos. I’m in the process of choosing the right gray for my basement!! I love how this looks! I only have one small window & I think these colors would brighten it up.

  3. Amazing what a new coat of paint and some determination will do! That looks great. We repainted our entire house last summer – it really needed it – and I was astounded how much better everything looked. Our first house had those same charming doorknobs. I miss them now – don’t ever give them up!

  4. Funny you mention about not being able to get out of a room when the door closed. We are fortunate enough to have also been able to retain the original glass doorknobs in our home and the exact same thing happened to us. I was stuck for almost 1/2 hr. until Mr. Fox finally heard my cries for assistance. The color looks wonderful and I have noted for future reference. Lovely!

  5. Love the new color! Gray Owl is my go-to… I just love the look of it everywhere, and here is no different. Bright and fresh with the white trim and warm wood doors!

  6. It is always amazing what a coat of paint can do. Our house flooded last year….3 little girls, too much toilet paper, a potty that stopped up and never cut off…..for about 4 hours….. Anyway, every floor in the house had to be replaced. I still have to finish up some lingering painting projects…a year later. 🙂 I am inspired to get them done!

    Could you please write a post about your whole 30 experienced? I just started. I do not have Facebook so I can’t join the Facebook group you started. I am liking it so far but wondered what your final thoughts were and what results you had. It is blowing my mind how much sugar we consume unaware… is in EVERYTHING! Thank you!

  7. Marion, Because of your penchant for painting, I have always wondered why you haven’t painted the interior doors in your home. Could you enlighten the curious, please?

  8. Please, darling friend, please do me a favor…..please put some heavy woven fabric on that wooden hanger before you hang that yummy vintage dress…..I promise you if you fail to protect it from its own weight, it will quickly disintegrate from hanging there. Most likely it will tear right at the hanger. I use unbleached muslin to protect my stuff….and it’s the exact color so it doesn’t show…. Sorry to meddle, but I adore old stuff used as decor….I just want to spare you the loss of that beautiful dress..

    1. I was just thinking I loved the vintage dress as art. I have two such pieces that I want to display. How will padding the hanger help? Won’t the dress still be holding up its own weight with or without padding?

  9. I did the same thing (taping a pole to my paintbrush) when I was painting the under-the-eaves area of my house outside, and my arms weren’t long enough to reach. There are paint rollers that will accommodate a screw-in pole (to extend one’s reach), so WHY aren’t there paint brushes that will do the same (especially for us lady painters)? Wish someone would produce such an item. In my 1926 house, the builder cheaped out on the upstairs walls/ceiling (typical of the era) by installing a kind of pressed board in narrow panels, with battens over the seams. I decided I wanted to keep the original paneling/battens, but used “bright white” to bring more light into the upstairs. I had the same experience as you — the newly bright walls almost seem to expand or float, they’re so much lighter in feel. Don’t let ANYBODY take away your sparkly doorknobs! They’re wonderful.

  10. That’s clever painting the ceiling the same color as the walls! Especially for those awful tall stairway walls. I love your doorknobs too… it’s really cool that your dad could fix them… Everything in your house looks so pretty…


  11. I’ve seen Gray Owl (Benj. Moore) used a lot and its one of my favorite colors. It looks wonderful on your walls and it really makes the staircase look so much fresher. Its not easy keeping a staircase clean with two active boys!

  12. I got the urge to FINALLY paint my stairs on Monday, woot! I can’t believe the similarities in your woodwork and mine – same grain, same color etc. My stairs look very similar to yours now! I can’t believe how much lighter it makes the staircase. I also couldn’t believe how awkward painting them would be, twist right, twist left, scooch up, scooch down – needless to say I was sore when I went to bed. I am thinking about painting the treads too, I’ve seen some in black and gray that I like a lot. Onto to the next project!

  13. Had to laugh when I saw the picture of the taped paintbrush. I’ve done that so many times, that I no longer question how I’m going to paint something out of reach. You find out quickly how steady your arms can be….:)

  14. My house, which is 103 this year, has all of those types of doors that don’t close right but they do have pretty glass knobs. In fact the only interior door that actually works as it should is the powder room door. It’s kind of ridiculous but I just haven’t figured out those mortise locks and I know if I take one apart I’ll never get it back together and that will cause even more problems!

  15. What a difference!! I just can’t fathom how one gets up in the morning, has a hankering to paint and accomplishes so much. That would take me days and I would probably have to be in traction and on major pain meds after. It looks beautiful!

  16. I hope you find a good way to fasten that runner to the stairs, or there would be even more and more dangerous spills down the stairway. If yours was a rustic, Western style home, I’d suggest large head upholstery nails, but with the cottage style you have going on, I’m not quite sure…

    Looking forward to seeing the gallery wall when you finish it!

  17. Love the color! I have to admit that the dress and the antique group picture were what I gravitated towards. I have a similar antique dress and tons of very old pictures that I need to do something with. I’m torn about the dress–I’ve been told that exposure to air and light accelerates degradation. But to have it framed properly would cost at least $200. I also have a little wool sailor suit my husband wore as a child with a sailor hat.. Plus his hand print and a teddy bear he loved so much it drops threads every time I pick it up. So I’ve got lots of shadow box frames in my future! I’ve already started on two memory shadow boxes for my mother and father-in-law who have passed on. I love looking at their lives story through pictures and momentous.

    Thanks for all your inspiration you give to all of us!

  18. Oh My GOSH!
    So much to talk about : )
    Is that an ironing board in the 7th picture? Love those old details~
    Love the runner you are thinking about. It looks just like YOU!
    adore the door knobs~ it would be very hard to part with those!
    Stay Well~

  19. I love everything about your charming home and the colors are wonderful and bright. I even made a mental note of the little whisk broom with a ribbon attached that you have hanging. A great idea for any home. The door knobs are too precious to change. I am wondering as detailed as you are why you still have the silver screw in the door knob face plate. You could also give it a touch of Rub ‘n Buf to change the color. You are probably saying to yourself, “Why didn’t I take a photo of another door knob.” I read all the comments and was surprised no one had mentioned it yet. Thank you for sharing your wonderful home and wonderful life with us.

    1. I noticed that silver screw right away and, being the person I am, quickly scanned the comments to see if anyone else had mentioned it! Might be one of those little ‘things to do’ that one no longer sees in her own house. . . .

      Anyway, love the glass door knobs. We had an attic door that was missing a knob on the inside — so if you closed the door and the one knob and post fell out, you were really stuck inside for a good long while! My mother finally left an old kitchen knife in the room for emergency door shimmying. Memories.

  20. I also just used Gray Owl and I love it. It is so calming without being stark at all and I love the gentle contrast between the wall color and the white trim. Hopefully we will both be happy with that color for a long while. Congrats on getting motivated and going for it.

  21. I think carpeting on the stairs, especially those with a shorter than needed ‘run,’ will make them more slippery. What you need is something with “grip” and dimensional texture Like sandpaper has.
    I know they are narrow but putting in a handrail on the wall side might help too. These stairs are dangerous and should be taken slowly. What would slow a person down?

    Falls can cause lifelong impairments.

  22. Marian-try a good quality LED bulb from Home Depot in your hallway fixture, it’s amazing how much brighter they are than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. Cree is a really good brand and they have daylight bulbs too.

  23. ” Oh!!! I was on my way to work….and then I thought….I need to paint my house!!!”” …….lololololol
    You really are something else!!! Can you please bottle some of that energy and send it out to me???
    LOVE those doorknobs!!!! don’t let ANYONE touch them!!!! Nice paint job too.

  24. Love the heirloom dress! I wish I could add a picture and show you what I do with my antique dresses. I have quite the collection and love them every one!

  25. It all looks so fresh and crisp now — Love it! I cut in using a brush on a stick, too, and it’s how my old painter used to cut in (actually, he had a special extension rod that a brush clamped into). Use an angled brush and you can get a clean, sharp line every time!

  26. Hi Marian, your choices are always great! I really like the staircase runner, very cheery-one that is grainsack inspired would be nice too!

  27. The change is so subtle, but looks so bright and fresh! Great job! I’m with you on the “if the mood strikes, go for it!” (but I hate when I have other responsibilities that keep me when the motivation is up, blah).

  28. the.paint.does.look.much.better,


  29. I got a chuckle out of reading comments about your doors. I happen to like them the way they are. They are not necessarily art on their own, but they work quite nicely in the big picture.

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