Besides being the name of a short story in volume II of the collected works of Edgar Allan Poe that I read over vacation between Christmas and New Year's, Descent into the Maelstrom,
is an appropriate description of painting the basement stairway, which I also did between Christmas and New Year's. The number of "untouched" spaces at Foxcroft keeps dwindling, and this was a good one to get out of the way.
For all the time Bess took in planning so much of Foxcroft before it was built, I cannot for the life of me understand why she did not have an entrance from outdoors straight into the basement. Cellar doors or anything would have been crucial in my mind, but apparently not in her's. So any time you had to go from outdoors to the basement you had to go through the kitchen. Lots of very dirty hands went down the stairway over the years, lots! To make matters worse, I'm pretty sure that the stairway was wearing its original 1928 paint until this project.
Here is the way down. I removed the door before starting (Stuccohouse will be so happy to see I did that)
And here is the other side. I took off the light switch covers and taped over the light switches to prevent paint splatters. I also removed the hand railings, which had been added at some later time, as the original handrails don't start until descending below the plaster:
As you can see from this pic and the two above, I primed the corners with a brush before rolling the rest:
We had a lot of "Hubbard Squash" left over from the living room, so that is what I used:
The light switch plate was pretty grungy, Here it is before clean up:
And after boiling in water and baking soda plus some 0000 steel wool:
And here it is back on the wall:
Don't ask about the second switch, it is a long story...