(courtesy of Wendy Scofield)When they bought their first house in historic Williamstown, Massachusetts, Lonny Art Director Wendy Scofield and her husband James Tracey knew it would need major renovations in order to be livable and comfortable for their growing family. The major selling points? Five bedrooms, a gracious wraparound porch, and a spacious second-floor sitting room. Beyond that, virtually every space would need to be majorly made over, and the shelter magazine-alum Wendy and talented handyman James were just the duo for the job.
(The stairs post-makover. Courtesy of Wendy Scofield)To dramatically remake the center hall, Wendy and James first had to strip four layers of wallpaper down to the original lath and plaster, and then patch the cracks and smooth the surface. "We had to move out of the house for six weeks while we stripped the varnish off of all the molding, window sills, and the stairway from the front hall up to the third floor," Wendy says. "Even though we were using one of the least toxic products on the market, James and I wore respirators and kept the windows open and fans blowing all day and night."
(The stairs pre-makeover. Courtesy of Wendy Scofield)After the varnish was removed, the couple sanded down the surfaces of all of the woodwork, from the banisters to the spindles and treads. They quickly discovered that over the years, most of the elements were replaced with various types of wood; rather than replace them all, Wendy and James chose to make them uniform by staining the treads, the railings, and the newel posts a deep brown, painting the risers and spindles a crisp, high-gloss white.
(The stairs pre-makeover. Courtesy of Wendy Scofield)After applying three coats of stain and two coats of clear varnish to seal it, Wendy and James finally decided on a light gray for the walls. "Because we were painting an area that spanned three floors and got light from all angles, we needed to take into consideration the various light sources that would affect the paint," Wendy says. "We narrowed it down to six different shades and painted one-foot by one-foot patches of each next to each other on the wall." From there, they let the sun make their decision for them. "I love the way the second-floor landing turned out," Wendy says. "It's such a light, airy place to sit and read or just look out the window."
(The stairs, post-makeover. Courtesy of Wendy Scofield)