Both the grand staircase and the servants stairs were carpeted when we got here. The grand staircase had a carpet runner that was green and mauve and was probably put there in the 80’s. It matched the area rug in the entry and the awful mauve paint on the stairwell walls. As you know, the pink paint was the first to go. I also rolled up the area rug and dragged that out immediately as well. It was threadbare, covered in pet stains and the backing of the carpet was disintegrating, leaving a powder oozing out from under the rug.
I also pulled the runner off the top section of the staircase. It had the same problems. I thought the bare wood on the stairs was beautiful and the carpet being gone would make it so much easier to clean. Little did I know that before the runner was installed the stairs had been refinished. But whoever did that didn’t finish the stairs where the runner was going to be. I put that on the list of crazy things we discovered here. Why would you leave the center of the stair tread unfinished??
Matt decided we would leave the remaining runner in place until we decide what we are going to do with the stairs. I would like to keep them bare and refinish the treads. He wants to replace the runner. It is so much easier to sweep and wipe the steps than to try to clean the edges and vacuum the runner. Since we agreed to have the home on the Christmas tour we are going to have to make some decision soon. They certainly can’t stay like they are and the old runner has to come off.
The servants staircase at the back of the house was another big problem. They were also carpeted with an industrial gray that would have provided great training for a CSI team. To call them disgusting would be too kind. The smelled, they felt nasty when you walked on them and our dogs were convinced they could pee on them often enough to get the other pet odors covered up.
I pulled up the corners on the landings and found a lovely linoleum underneath. (OK, it isn’t really a lovely linoleum.) It went up all three flights of stairs and was in the third floor hall as well. If we pulled out the carpet I wasn’t sure if we would be able to get the linoleum up, I was pretty sure it was glued to the hardwood. After several months of being afraid to go up the stairs I went ahead and started ripping up the carpet. I figured I could live with the linoleum until we were ready to refinish the stairs because I could clean it! Something I hadn’t been able to do with the carpet. Trust me, I did try!
It turned out that the carpet had originally been tan not gray. Now I was even more determined to get it out of my house. At some point the staircase from the second to the third floor had had the linoleum removed but it was glued and the glue was left on the stairs. We were able to scrape much of the glue off and will eventually remove the rest of the linoleum and refinish all the stairs. For now it looks like this:
The linoleum has been here a long time. I would guess it was put in while the Oblates were living here. It has a cork like texture and the color is actually less offensive than I had first thought. The best part-it is clean!! The horrible odor is gone and nobody cringes at the thought of going up and down the stairs.