Pre-blog Maria was very different than current blog Maria.
One thing about home design that I have learned over the years is that style is a lot like a muscle. Like sports, some people just are naturally good at home design, while others need to practice and develop that “muscle” consistently before they find their design voice. I definitely fall into the latter category. I am, after all, an accountant which is a more analytical (read: not creative) path. When I first started making decisions for this house, I pretty much only followed Young House Love on the interwebs and wanted to essentially duplicate all the best parts (IMO) of their 3 houses in my own home.
I did not have a design voice. I did not know much about design. And on top of all that, I was (am?) stubborn to boot. I did not care if something was wayyyyyy impractical for our house/lifestyle, if it was in a YHL house, I wanted it. Let me be clear: there is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other homes, in fact, I encourage it! However, I have definitely learned that just because something works for someone else, it doesn’t necessarily mean I need to copy it exactly to get the same effect in my own home. There’s a difference between inspiration and replication, which is where I think I did not have confidence in my home a few years ago.
Enter the Birmingham Black runner by Dash & Albert.
I first fell in love with this look when John and Sherry of YHL added this runner to the staircase in their 3rd house. They have a dog and a kid (now two!) and they said that despite the lighter color, it was holding up fine with basic preventative maintenance (taking off shoes indoors, wiping down pup’s paws, etc.). Even though there was that little nagging voice in the back of my head going, Are you sure this is a good idea with your bruiser of a dog? A 5 pound chihuahua and a 20 pound Jack Westie with ADD are not really comparable energy levels. Will we really be able to commit to wiping down her paws every time she comes in from the house?, I pulled the trigger and ordered 2 8 foot runners of the same pattern.
In the summer of 2015 I spent an afternoon pulling up the old oriental style runner left by the previous homeowners and putting down the Dash & Albert runner. Honestly, this was a pretty easy switch since the hardwoods underneath the runner were recently installed.
The transformation was instant and gorgeous. I had also painted the walls Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray and stained the banister a high gloss ebony just. like. John and Sherry at YHL. At least the paint color ended up being the perfect color in our house and I still do love the black banister.
Truly, the Birmingham Black pattern is more stunning in person and has such character.
I actually do love the pattern in our foyer, however only one year later I am forced to admit that I cannot recommend this pattern/material if you have dogs or cats. We have both, and the runner as taken a beating in only a year.
As well as loose threads near the top of the runner:
The top step is the worst:
This is, I am sure, from out foster kitty Mr. Peabody who would “patty cake” with his claws on that step. Having said that, I’m sure that 2 dogs and additional kitties walking up and down, sitting on the stairs (it’s the best sunning location!) and digging (doxies, man) have contributed to the wear. I just don’t think this runner is designed for anything other than bare human feet as pet claws can easily get caught in the loops.
Another issue, the runner has definitely sagged. Some steps have a lot more “give” than they did when I first put the runner down. This is more annoying than anything else, and I fully plan to keep this runner until it literally disintegrates, but that is something to keep in mind if you have little kids.
From afar, the effect is exactly what I wanted. The stripes are classic and modern at the same time, which works perfectly in our home.
Up close, the wear is evident. This is definitely disappointing, but you live and you learn! The next runner I use on the stairs will be thicker and have a pattern that works with my home.