Time to Banish Glossy Varnish? - How to create a stylish hall, stairs and landing in 5 days

Time to Banish Glossy Varnish? - How to create a stylish hall, stairs and landing in 5 days

Ann Marks is the proprietor of Lily Bloom Interiors, she has stores in Camolin Village and Gorey, County Wexford. Lily Bloom is a stockist of Autentico Paint and a wide range of wall papers, fabrics and home accessories.

This is a blog about the redecorating of her hall, stairs landing and PVC window and front door in five days during December 2017. In this project she used Autentico Omniclean, Autentico Primer, Autentico Velvet paint for the walls and Autentico Superior Eggshell paint for the woodwork. Enjoy reading the blog and photos and if you have any queries please give call Ann M, Anne C or Collette at Lily Bloom Interiors where they are always happy to help you.

When she moved into her newly built home in 2008 there was a hurry to surrender the house she and her family were renting and move to the new build as quickly as possible. Since then she has been trying to erase some of the decorating faux-pas decisions that were made in a hurry back then. Obviously Light Oak gloss varnish was all the rage a decade ago because the house was covered in it, however, she has been steadily working to get rid of this!

Lily Bloom Landing before painting Lily Bloom varnished staird before paint High gloss varnished banister before painting Gloss varnished banister before painting with Autentico from Lily Bloom

The last major project in this quest was the staircase, which she had been putting off because she wanted to redecorate the whole hall, stairs, landing, stairs and all the doors, architrave and skirtings.

She had just opened her second Lily Bloom store in Gorey, and knew that this was one job that needed to be done quickly as it was getting close to Christmas, so she needed to get a professional in for this job. Carlo Duggan, a Gorey based painter and decorator, has already decorated her sitting room with Autentico paint, so she knew he was reliable and his work was to a high standard, he agreed to take on this job and complete it in a five-day window.

Carlo Duggan Painter and Decorator Starting day finally arrived. This is when she told Carlo that she also wanted to paint the inside of the PVC front door and landing window, both of which were black. Starting day is also and is probably the most important part of the project as it is when the preparation is done. While all Autentico products are of superb quality, a certain level of preparation is required, this is to ensure that the paint has the best possible surface to bind to and will deliver the best looking and longest lasting finish, after all there are five people living at home and the stairs is an area that gets a lot of traffic.

The first task was to wash down all surfaces with Autentico OmniClean. OmniClean is diluted in water (10 parts water to 1part OmniClean) and is an amazing de-greasing solution that leaves surfaces perfectly clean to accept the paint. The PVC was also washed down with OmniClean.

After ten years of heavy use, the gloss varnish was still as strong and shiny as ever on the banister. To prepare this for painting Carlo gave it a light sanding with a medium grade sandpaper. In stores when sanding is mentioned, many customers roll their eyes and think of hours of sanding back to bare wood or using an electric sander. This is not required. All that is needed is to rub the varnish with a medium sandpaper, enough to ‘scratch’ it. This scratch is all that is needed to let the sticky stuff in our next awesome product to work its magic. Of course, after the sanding the floors are cleaned down again to remove any dust and then we’re ready to start….

Autentico Primer had been specially developed to work seamlessly with all the Autentico paint products, our water based primer has excellent adhesion properties (remember what was said about scratching the varnish – well the primer beds itself into the scratches in the old varnish and when it dries it leaves a surface that the paint can flow onto evenly – so no lark or light patches - and the paint likes the texture of the primer which helps it stay in place, even on high traffic areas like stairs, kitchens, furniture, etc.).

The magic ingredients to ensure a good start

Autentico Primer from Lily Bloom Autentico Primer from Lily Bloom Intieriors

Two litres of Autentico Primer were used to cover the PVC and all the woodwork throughout the work area. You can see from the photos the when the primer dries it has a streaky finish… this is where many of her customers begin to think ‘oh, what have I done?’ Do not worry, this is perfectly normal!

Pictures after the application of Autentico Primer.

Balcony primed with Autentico Primer from Lily Bloom Interiors Spindles coated with Autentico Primer from Lily Bloom Interors

Goodbye oak varnish.... Newly primed with Autentico Varnish from Lily Bloom Interiors PVC Door primed and ready to paint with Autentico Paint

The primer was allowed dry overnight, which left the perfect surface for painting. Also, the walls were filled and prepared and received their first coat of Autentico paint. For the walls Ann chose Autentico Velvet wall paint in the colour Cocos. The woodwork was finished in Autentico Superior Eggshell in the colour Ice Cream. For a finishing touch, the handrail of the banister was painted in Autentico Superior Eggshell Latte.

The next couple of days of the project were spent painting the walls and woodwork, there are 53 turned spindles on the banister, these are the parts that take the time, even using our Autentico 35mm Round Paint Brush, which is great for painting difficult areas, painting the spindles properly is very time consuming. Doors and skirting were very straight forward to paint using an Autentico two-inch flat brush. Likewise, a standard 10inch roller and tray set with a good quality roller had the walls completed in no time at all.

All Autentico Paints products are water based which means that they are touch dry within a matter of hours. Though it should be pointed out, for the best results the Versante Matt and Superior Eggshell products should be allowed to dry for 12 – 18 hours before receiving its next coat, and that after the final coat, the paint is allowed cure fully for approximately five days. So, for these five days outdoor shoes were banned off the stairs to allow the paint to form its tough surface. After this curing period the paint is as tough, if not tougher than its competitors that you would typically find at the hardware store.

As the eggshell paint dries with a tough finish a wax or varnish is not required.

Here's a few pictures taken between the first and second coat

Autentico Paint from Lily Bloom Banister post after first coat of Autentico Paint

Stairs after first coat of Autentico Paint PVC Door Primed and coated once with Autentico Paint from Lily Bloom

Another fantastic advantage of using Autentico paint is that it is EN71-3 compliant, meaning it is safe for use on nursery furniture, however, more importantly in Ann’s case the low VOC formula does not release any smell, meaning that two of Ann’s three children who are prone to allergies did not notice any affects while the painting was being undertaken.

In addition to the high quality Autentico Paint, Lily Bloom supplies a beautiful wall papers from €49.95 per roll.

To add the wow factor, Ann decided to wallpaper the full height of the staircase wall from the ceiling of the landing to the skirting of the hall. The first and longest drop was over six metres in length. According to Carlo Duggan this was the most challenging part of this project, though watching him fit the paper he made it look so simple. For a feature in the hallway, Ann decided to hang glitter effect wall paper on the wall facing the newly painted front door, and that leads into the kitchen.

Carlo Duggan - Wallpaper Master! Landing banister and wall finished Ann's stairs totally transformed from varnished light oak to Ice Cream colour from Autentico Close up of PVC door painted from Black to Ice Cream colour from Autentico Paint at Lily Bloom Interiors PVC Door, window sills, skirting and wall painted with Autentico Paint from Lily Bloom Interiors I love this finish - no more varnish! Autentico Paint from Lily Bloom

In the space of a five days the hall, stairs and landing has been transformed, goodbye to varnished light oak (ugh) and hello to a bright, stylish and welcoming entrance to this busy home.

To accessorise the space Ann has added a two-drawer console table from the Country Collection range, a chic table lamp from the Coach House collection and small lantern, all of which are available from Lily Bloom.

“This was a massive project to undertake because the house is so busy all of the time, I am delighted with the result, I just adore the stairs and banister, and I am really pleased that we were able to get it done in such a short space of time” Ann said.

If you are inspired by this blog, or are planning your own decorating project call to Lily Bloom Interiors at 13 Esmonde Street, Gorey or in the heart of Camolin village in County Wexford where you can see the products that were used, and Ann’s team of stylists are only to happy to answer your questions.

Products used in this project inlcude:

Autentico OmniClean €10.50 for 250ml bottle
Autentico Primer €29.95 per litre
Autentico Eggshell Ice Cream €40 per litre or €90 per 2.5litre
Autentico Eggshell Latte €40 per litre or €90 per 2.5litre
Autentico Velvet (wall paint) in Cocos €65 per 2.5litre
Autentico 35mm round brush €24 each
Autentico 2inch Brush €14.95 each

Please call to the store to view the wallpaper sample books and to see the range of furniture and accessories

Banister painted with Autentico Eggshell IceCream & Latte from Lily Bloom Interiors IceCream spindles and Latte Banister against Wallpaper from Lily Bloom Interiors Accessories from Lily Bloom Interiors Luxury wallpaper from Lily Bloom Interiors

Stairs painted in Autentico Superior Eggshell from Lily Bloom


Decorating contractor: Carlo Duggan 086 269 3864
Blog written by Dorian Marks.

High resolution images and un watermarked images are available on request




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