the project that never ended…ended.

(To be sung to the tune of This Is The Song That Never Ends…)

This is the project that never ends.
It just goes on and on, my friends.
One couple started it on, not knowing what they’d do
And they’ll continue working on it forever just because
This is the project that never ends.

Seriously…we removed the carpet in October! This was not a difficult project. It wasn’t even all that time consuming…but it is one we just couldn’t seem to get around to finishing. Blah. We removed the carpet without a plan. I decided to sand down the treads to see what the boards would look like cleaned up. I knew it would save a ton of money if I put in the work instead of just paying to get new boards. The boards are beat up looking, just the way I like them.

After sanding the treads and painting the walls, we covered the plywood risers with hardboard painted glossy white. I looked at a ton of custom painted stairs, but decided my house is already busy enough. So, I’m just went with wood and white stairs. Clean & fresh.


And Chris asked what in the world I’d ever do with that gym ladder I rescued out of a dump…use it to paint the stairwell, of course.

Sanding the stairs was a horrible mess. No fun. At all.
The landing was a bit tricky since it was plywood instead of the same wood as the treads. We ended up getting planks to match the treads and screwing them on top of the plywood.

Part of the issue with any remodeling project in this house is 4 little people that want to help. Sometimes we divert their attention, but we usually let them help a bit. My parents always let my sister and I help with projects…that is probably part of the reason I think I can tackle any project now (even if I really have no clue what I am doing).


3 of the 4 only want to help for a few minutes. This guy, however, loves to help me with any and everything. He likes to cook with me. Set the table. Put up laundry. Pick up. Whatever I need, he is usually the first to volunteer to help. Servant hearted.

It took months to get around to finishing, but was totally worth it. The whole stairwell seems so much bigger and obviously brighter.

I rescued this old school map from the same place I rescued the gym ladder. Both have set in my garage for almost a year now waiting to be used. The map now has a bright happy home, the ladder…well I still have to figure out where that HUGE thing is going.

Finally, I can mark that project off my list. I am so happy with the result. I told the boys we’d work on a Star Wars room for them when I finished the stairs. Feel free to share any great Star Wars ideas with me…ones that the boys and I can live with together.

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  • emmybrown - It’s gorgeous!!!

  • Liene - Wow, looks great! To me, it sounds like a big job … we are still putting it off šŸ˜‰

  • kiley - love the knotty pine. friends of mine turned a barn into a house and used that very same type of flooring and technique throughout the barnhouse. oh, it’s so gorgeous! if you’re ever visiting NY, I can refer you to the sweetest barnhouse B&B that is tons of fun for kids, too! my kids LOVE visiting their farm!

  • Rebekah - has TONS of Star Wars peel & sticks and of course there are ideas on Pottery Barn Kids’ site (I wouldn’t spend that kind of dough on their bedding but you could make it). And here are two Before & Afters

  • Danielle - Wonderfully bright & fresh… the map ties the rest of your house into this new space… great focal point! Very fun!!!

  • Amy Renea - It looks fabulous Ashley! Sometimes the smallest changes to the smallest spaces really make a difference. It totally took that space from suburban normal to Ashley Ann chic – I love it!

  • Bethany - The stairs look fabulous and hooray! for finished projects!

    Pottery Barn has a bit of Star Wars stuff and I think you’d be able to tackle this AT-AT Imperial Walker Bed if anyone could… good luck!

  • annie - wow! this is perfect! absolutely beautiful! not that I’d expect anything different…but it’s awesome! love the map too!!!!

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators - The stairs look fantastic. What a big undertaking. Love the addition of the school map!

  • Alice H - They look great!!

    Use the ladder as a place to dry clothes. Hang it horizontally from the ceiling. (I saw it on Pinterest!)

    Or to hang pots and pans. Or plants.

  • carrie - Gorgeous! I want to do this so badly on my staircase.

  • angie - love love love love

  • RachelC - oooooooh….looks really good. Definitely worth all that hard work. love the oklahoma map too.

  • Meredith N. - lovelovelove the map and garland! looks awesome

  • megan@contentedsparrow - Yes, soooo worth it, Ashley! Great job. And that Okl map? Swoon. Perfection!! It looks like there are other maps under there, right? You should think of something to do with those!

  • Angie K - Really love the changes! Absolutely beautiful.
    Adore the Map.

    I really love how you get the kids involved! So fun to have a “peek” into your world šŸ™‚

  • Leila - Super great job, and I so applaud the wood and white. What a great backdrop for all sorts of fun decorations!
    The map is PERFECT. Love it!
    I think a simple treatment of the walls and floors is the best, when all is said and done, and I love your can-do attitude. It inspires me!

  • Amy Beachy - it looks AWESOME!

  • Ms. Megan - Goodness!! It turned out beautiful!! The white certainly brightens up the space!!

  • amanda torres - It looks super cool! Now, go pin it on Pinterest!!!

  • jacci in ohio - Looks great! šŸ™‚ I was peeking on instagram, I admit. It seems like all my projects take that long, so I wasn’t minding the wait. It may have something to do with my ADD tendencies with our house. I have about 6 coals in the fire at any one time. At least.

    Star Wars room, huh? Tough one. I’m continually trying to work through giving my children their own space while preventing things like neon orange walls and massive milennium falcons drawn on the wall. My 3rd (girl) and 4th (boy) share a room and we have your bunks. I’m planning on putting star wars fabric on the bottom of the top bunk so my son sees it as his “ceiling” from his bunk. And he has a star wars blanket. And, currently, he has a bajillion cut out star wars pictures tapped to his wall. not my favorite look, lol. i’m working on some ideas to corral all of his interests in a less crazed way.

    I’ll look forward to what you do with a “themed” room. ANd how you balance their wants and your wants.

    Have a great day, Ashley!

  • Trina - Lovely! We did the same except instead of white…I used barnyard red. I love them. I’ll have to keep white in mind for when I don’t have an entire house to redecorate.

  • Kristin - Oh I looks so awesome! Worth the the extra time and work I think. šŸ˜‰ I have several of these never ending projects too.

  • Corrie Anne - It IS so much brighter! Love it!!!!! Love the busy!

  • Becky Pitcher - Looks great! I love the big square pictures that you have up in the Before pics, are they canvas or clip frames or what? They’re SO darling, I want to copy you!

  • mandi@herbanhomesetead - Wow! It looks so fresh and great!
    About the looooooooooong ladder- could you attach it sideways to the wall leading up the second half of the stairs? I know you did not ask for any input on that (ha!) and you always have such wonderful ideas!

  • shannon - We just tackled the exact same project at our house AND I think we had the same carpet!! It makes a big difference, for sure. Yours looks great!

  • Holly - It looks wonderful!I loved the crazy pictures of all of you that you took down to put up the map. I hope you found somewhere for them.

  • Brandy - WOW! What a fabulous transformation! I love it!

  • cailan - Turned out so fresh and nice. I have a carpet-removing project in my future…you don’t necessary make me anticipate the process, but it will of course, be worth it. : )

  • Elizabeth - It looks fantastic!! Congratulations on finishing it.

  • tracy a - although i have only crossed your doorstep once, it never ceases to amaze me how much your home has changed, yet remained the same. there will always be a welcoming, cheery feeling that abounds, even when things like a major stair makeover occur! it looks great!!

  • Kim - Ashley, I have a suggestion for your ladder. I have no idea what your front entry way looks like, but in my parents house we screwed an old board high on the wall, then leaned an old ladder against it and screwed it to the board…and, now its a coat hanger for when guests come over.

  • the whyte house - ah, star wars. now you’re speaking my language. since you’re miss arts & crafts, how about pillows with stenciled silhouettes of r2, vader, c3p0? full body or just their heads. you can always set up the legos for a shoot. my nephew has tons of star wars legos and we set one up to look like a storm trooper had pulled over a speeder to write it a ticket. haha. have some lego star wars prints on the walls. easy peasy…or a lot easier than sanding the stairs! šŸ™‚

  • heather - it’s SO lovely!!! fresh and happy. šŸ™‚

  • karen - looks incredible!! Love the bright, fresh look- you need to hire yourself out- I would totally put you to work in our house as I love the way your home feels so inviting and airy!!

  • Sophie~Bug's Mom - Ashley:
    First off… have not commented to say congratulations on the referral of your baby girl! Can’t wait to follow your journey to bringing her home! I am an AP too… and cannot imagine my life without my Sophie~Bug in it!

    The stairs look great! Can’t wait to see what you do for the Star Wars room! This is not Star Wars, but DIY No Sew Star Drapes that you may want to look at for the boys room…

    Good luck!

  • Gina f. - Beautiful!!! I love the wood and white stairs and maps are always my favorite!

  • annie Page - we just removed the carpeting from our stairs (along with a wall) and we replaced the treads and risers – ours were particle board and in terrible condition. We painted our treads black and did white risers as well. I am more than thrilled with the outcome and yours is an amazing transformation. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the map of Oklahoma and what a phenomenal spot for it! Amen for no stairs with carpeting!!!

  • Carla - it looks SO GOOD. Worth the time I’m betting.

    (funny thing I just finished an upholstery project almost 2 years in the making! hallelujah for finished projects!)

  • Lindsey - The transformation looks great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hannah B - What a transformation! It looks great. And Iā€™m totally jealous of your map. I have a weird fetish for topography and would love to have an old schoolhouse map like that in my house!

  • Bethany - Very nice! I’m not a fan of carpet either and I love your results. I’m frequently letting the little ones be a part of our major projects too. They learn so much and I love working together as a family!

  • Rebecca - Very cool, love how the landing turned out.

  • Amy Wilson - Have you seen this for a Star Wars themed room? I am a Star Wars geek,and I love it.

  • Leslie - Ashley it looks AMAZING! What a great makeover. The stairs are BEAUTIFUL. I love the simple and clean white. That map is a treasure!

  • Sarah - It looks GREAT!!!!!!!

  • Anna Joy - It looks so great! i love it!!!

  • RachelSD - Looks fantastic! Envious of all the white!

  • Lauren Wells - Im in love with that map. Seriously, IN LOVE. Sooner born and Sooner bred, but living in Pennsylvania since high school (so 18 years now) with our dear friend Angie W., but anytime I can get ahold of Okie stuff, I grab it up quick. LOVE THAT MAP. And, the stairs really look fantastic, too!

  • Trista - I’m having a son in June, and we’re using this room as inspiration for his nursery.

  • Jenny B. - Awesome! It does look so much brighter now, and the wood looks great. For Star Wars rooms, I really like the ones in Pottery Barn Kids. They’re themed, but also cool and somewhat sophisticated. Of course, you could always do a full wall mural of the Millenium Falcon. And/or use colored flourescent (sp?) tube bulbs as DIY light saber wall (or ceiling) art. That would be cool too. šŸ™‚

  • darcy - the map was made for that space!! i love how it all came together! so cute!!

  • kelly - y’all did an amazing job. and that map…oh that MAP!

  • Elaine - Wow! It looks fantastic! And I love that map. I’ve been looking for one of the USA like that. Jealous. šŸ™‚

  • Sheree - Definitely love the new stairs compared to the old! And your little helpers looked like they put in their share of work! šŸ˜‰ Thanks for the visit to my little blog by the way! šŸ™‚

  • Vanessa - I stumbled upon a link to your page on Pintrest, and SO GLAD I DID!!! We are about to start on our stair remodel(ours will also involve striping and painting the original metal banisters) and LOVED seeing a post on diy the way I know it- with kids underfoot šŸ™‚

  • Celeste - I saw this Star Wars wallpaper on Pinterest a while back … it is very toile-ish, actually. It does not scream “Star Wars” — maybe a little nook could be papered in it? Or frame a large piece? (as it is not cheap)

  • Jessica - I came across this book in a bibliography for children’s books. It’s titled The Day We Met You by Phoebe Koehler (1997). It’s a book about a couple adopting a child. Thought you and your family would be interested.

  • Tamara Dick - When my son was little I stenciled the quote “long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away” around the top of the walls of his room- also painted the ceiling deep, deep blue and glued (yes, glued) those glow in the dark stars you used to be able to buy, in the constellations of the northern and southern hemispheres up there… and of course, decorated w/ all his starwars ships (lego, and others) and collectibles (he had MANY) on shelves etc. Also framed blueprints of all the empire and rebel ships (you might be able to find these online- they weren’t expensive) in plexi frames and put those on the wall… maybe a bit of overkill, but you might be able to combine one or two of the ideas…He is 23 now, and no longer lives at home, but this lasted up through middle school, and was not little-kiddish or cartoonish, but looked very tasteful and pretty grown up for the time… šŸ™‚ ps. Your blog is one of my favorites- I always look forward to reading and seeing what your little family is up to- you are an inspiration! God bless!

  • Monique - You know about all the star wars themed stuff on , right?

  • Sarah Wolfe - I’m so impressed. Really. I gave up home projects when I had my second baby. It looks really great!

  • jeannette - Beautiful!

  • zina zraikat - I have an idea for the ladder….if you want one? Perhaps you could have it leaning against the wall on the stairs landing? (it looks high enough) You could either attach some wood to the rungs to create ‘shelves’ or screw in little hooks to the bottom of each run and hang pictures off them? We have a similar ladder, but it has 2 very long pieces. I plan to have one hanging across my back verahdah with little baby-food jars filled with candles hanging from it. The other will either be hung in the ceiling of my kitchen for lights or pots and pans to hang from, or leaned against a wall with shelves added to it…..not sure yet.
    Love everything you do!

  • chantelle - LOVE IT! We are Star Wars crazy here-we are always on the hunt for planets (balls to hang from ceiling with fishing line) šŸ™‚

  • Kathie McAuliffe - Very pretty!! I love how bright and airy it all is now! Great way to display that map too! šŸ˜€

  • twirling betty - Gorgeous end result – clean and bright and fresh. But I love the fact you couldn’t resist hanging a gorgeous garland over your map of Oklahoma even more!

  • Juliette - Wow, looks fab!

    Any way you could take that ladder outside and use it as some kind of trellis? Might be something…

  • amber peters - wow it looks awesome! i really love your decorative creativity.

  • Shannon - I love it! I want to do my stairs like that. And I love the map!! I have been looking for a nice pull down map like that! I think I have some star wars themed rooms on my pinterest. Also, I know pottery barn kids has some stuff right now.

  • Sara - The stairs turned out awesome! I love your house and that is all šŸ™‚

  • Christina - The stairs look fantastic! Makes me wish I had stairs… We are in the midsts of decorating my sons room. It will be Star Wars themed…but haven’t exactly decided how to take it yet. I know for sure we will have a big black canvas with a white (maybe silver?) AT-AT painted on it. That’s it so far. I’m kind of a slooowww decorator.

  • Katie - This looks amazing! That’s always my favourite stair combination: painted and wood. So classy/classic, but fun and bright at the same time. The map is a great addition, too. Nice!

  • amber - What an awesome place for an oversized map! I love it! Reminds me of memorizing all the OK counties and their seats in seventh grade Civics class. šŸ™‚

  • Melanie - Love this! I’ve been dreaming about tearing out the carpet on my stairs ever since we moved in (9 months ago). I even priced out new treads and found it too pricey! But after this post, I peeked under our carpet and it looks like we have the same treads you do and they look great! Of course I’ve got a few other projects to finish up first, but I’m excited to know there are possibilities for gorgeous stairs like yours. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lori - Oooohhhh. Love it. Extremely great job on the planks. looks perfect! Really. Love the map. Use the ladder in your someday dream art studio. lay it on the side and use the squares as “frames” for pics – that’s one idea. :0)

  • Big D & Me - My boys have a Star Wars room and love it – hers a link to their room and the projects

    May the Force Be With You when decorating the room šŸ™‚

  • Lexi - absolutely LOVE the stairs! My boys have two of these reto-ish Star Wars posters in their room with simple Ikea frames. It was a design momma could go for šŸ˜‰

  • elizabeth - WOW! this is AMAZING!! so much light fills your stairwell. GREAT, GREAT job!

  • Manda - just love, LOVE your stairwell. so bright…and that map is so great! wondering about using white paint on the stairs and walls and having little kids in the house. have you had problems with the back of the stairs being scuffed up or handprints on the walls? i desperately want to use white paint in my house and my husband always says i will regret it because we have 3 little boys in our house. has this ever been an issue for you?

  • ellen patton - Looks great! I love the map. I live in a converted school and have been looking for an old school map. Maybe of California (where I’m from) or the U.S.

  • jennifer - WOW! a ton of work totally worth it. Looks great!

  • Elizabeth Nelson - Hello Ashley,

    I am a long time reader of your blog (which is my favorite of all out there) and wanted to ask for a bit of your advice. My husband, a school teacher, just brought home a map that has the same type of bracket that is on the back of yours. While trying to figure out how to hang the heavy thing (the map must be 10+ lbs) I remembered this post of yours – although you didn’t mention how you hung yours. Any advice?

    Thanks in advance (and happy easter)!


  • Michele Roundtree - Hi, Love your finished product!!! Can you tell me where you got the planks for your landing?

  • Teresa Leonard - I just bought two vintage maps like yours. How did you attach them to the wall? Please provide details!

  • AshleyAnn - Teresa – we located studs in the wall. Next we drilled holes in the metal bracket of the map to match the location of the studs. Then we screwed through the holes in the metal to the wood studs.

  • Cobie Hoek - Beautiful.
    But how and what did you do with the bullnose of the landing. I imagine if you put planks on top of the plywood, you will see the side of them at the bullnose.
    I am working on the same problem so enlighten me please!