Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Slippery Slope No More

Our pooch, Olive, was initially quite fearful of our stairs (among many other things). She wouldn't walk by them, much less go up or down them. I was hopeful that she'd get over her fear (which she did, quite quickly), but I had a fear of my own: visions of her slip-sliding down the steps.

Who could bear to see this sweet little girl get hurt?

I decided the best solution was to install a stair runner, but I had a hard time finding one that was attractive, relatively inexpensive, and the right thickness. I left no website unturned, and right before I had given up, I found the magical solution:

 Not only did I like the colors, pattern, and price tag, but it looked thin enough to be able to staple onto the stairs (using a full on wool rug would have been impossible because of how thick they are). For our stairs, it took two of the 10' runners.

Since Sweet Olive was not only afraid of stairs, but also loud noises, my goal was to install the runner during a time she was at her foster family's house before we officially adopted her so she wouldn't have to hear me stapling for hours and hours. The thing was, we were in Hawaii when the runner arrived, and we adopted her right after we got back. The day I was supposed to pick her up, I found myself scrambling to get the job done.

After texting Olive's foster mom to see if I could come a little late, I went fast fast fast. First, I cut a rug pad that I got from Target to add some cushion and to protect the stairs from being rubbed by the rough backing. 

Before I got too far in, I read up on John & Sherry's experience installing a runner which suggested marking where the edge of the runner should be to keep things centered. I just used some blue tape and it worked perfectly.

At the top of the stairs, I folded the runner over on itself (below you're looking at the back) so it would look nice and clean.

One thing that struck me from John & Sherry's post was how many staples they used. It seemed like total overkill, but as I got going I understood why. To keep things smooth and secure, you just need tons and tons of staples. I would staple the top of the riser, then the bottom, then the back of the step, the front of the step, repeat.

It took about 12 staples per stair (and more like 24 on the top one because it was twice as thick), which had me longing for an electric staple gun pretty quickly.

When I got about half way, I switched to the second runner.

I just cut off the bottom of the first runner and then attached the second runner the same way I attached the top of the first one, making sure to line the pattern up. It's not totally hidden, but it was the best way to do it. It's most noticeable from this angle, but when you look up at the stairs from the bottom or are walking down them, you don't really see it.

See? Not too obvious.

At the end I did the same thing--cut off the excess and folded the bottom under.

Whew. "Scrambling" is not typically a word I would use to describe how I do things, but it was necessary in this case. Since the loud part was over, I went and picked up Sweet Olive. As it turns out, being a little late just gave her foster mom a little extra time to say goodbye. Things worked out just fine :)

Next up was hiding those staples. I used a royal blue sharpie and filled a few in hoping it would camouflage them well enough that I wouldn't have to run out and buy a navy one. Turns out it did the job! The colored staple you see below is way more obvious in the picture than it is in person--I had a hard time photographing it so you could tell where it was. You have to catch the light just right to be able to see them, otherwise they blend in really well since they're sunken down a good bit.

See? Not a staple to be seen.

Now our little dog has a good grip on each step and won't be using the stairs as a slide! Side note: I think Sweet Olive probably thinks her name is "Little Dog" because I call her that the majority of the time, and so does John. And yes, we know she's not all that little. She's medium, but "Medium Dog" doesn't roll of the tongue the same, and "little" is more of a term of endearment :)

I also like that it compliments the rug in the living room without matching it perfectly.

And, in case you're wondering, I opted to not put a runner on the three steps that lead from the entryway down to the living room for a couple of reasons. First, I was worried the runner would look too busy/clashy if it was that close to the living room rug (kind of how the runner is looking clashy with the yellow chevron one we have in the entryway... solution for that is TBD). Second, I thought it might look silly to have a runner covering so few steps. Third, little dog has no trouble getting down that handful of stairs safely.

It's funny because I always wished that we had a runner, but for some reason I felt like I couldn't install one since we have laminate rather than hardwood. I was wrong-o. This is the perfect solution to a slippery problem, and it also covers up the laminate flooring that isn't my favorite. Win-win.

Have you ever avoided a project because you didn't think it could be done, just to realize you weren't even minutely correct? Apparently I didn't think this through very well the first time around!

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