DIY Home Repairs Home Improvement Remodeling Projects

Reeling from Wallpaper

While April’s new year resolutions include organizing her house, my new year’s resolutions include finishing some overdue house projects.  One such project is my front living room / dining room.

Welcome to the bungalow:

Side 1: Living room

Side 2: Dining room

A week or so after moving into the bungalow (5+ years ago) I found myself annoyed by a bubble in the painted-over-textured wallpaper.  Whoever put the paper up hadn’t done a very good job and the seams were pulling back.  To fix the problem someone else had painted over the paper, which in turn put moisture behind the paper causing bubbles elsewhere.  Staring at the bubble something in me snapped.  I thought, “go ahead, just rip off that small piece, it will be an improvement.”

So I did.  I pulled off that piece.  And with it came a huge chunk of wallpaper.  And once I started I couldn’t very well stop, so I kept going. I pulled off wall paper until I was left with this:

Some of the backing paper was left on the wall, some places I got down to plaster.  I kept pulling paper off the walls until I had removed all the textured wall paper: three walls of paper.  And in the process I discovered a lovely array of paper previous to the textured stuff.

Pink paper:

And flower paper:

And green / gray paper:

I also found that the paper was hiding a multitude of sins like poor plaster jobs on cracks and chips.

And then over the course of the past several years I added to the problem with my own unfinished plaster job.

But once the paper was down my itch was gone and in the 5+ year since living here, other than pulling down wall paper and putting in a new door, I’ve mostly just ignored the living room.  Rachael, my roommate, likes to joke that we started to renovate at the back of the house first because we want to the front to fit into the neighborhood.  I think the real crux of the matter is that there have just been other priorities.  The living room, while looking atrocious, is still functional.  And other things, like the bathroom, seem to be a necessity.

BUT NO MORE!  This Christmas we are giving the bungalow some much needed love and we are going to paint this living room / dining room so that it looks, at least, a bit more presentable.

Here’s the plan: The old, tired, blue Berber carpet will stay, but everything above that is getting primed, patched, filled, fixed and painted.  The trim is going white.  The wood is going white.  The windows on the ends, the only windows left to be replaced, will be replaced, and the walls are getting a neutral coat of color to give them a little something-something.

And before there are objections let’s just consider the plan for a minute.  I know that a lot of people are opposed to painting wood.  I would be one of those people…except I think that paint will improve this wood.  I think this room needs some love are updates and while the wood is lovely, it’s looking worn.  So I’m hoping a fresh coat of paint brings some life back to the trim.

As an act of good faith we moved the furniture last night.

AND we took down the mirror…dun, dun, dun….

to find dust, spider webs, old felt, and more green / gray wallpaper.

So it’s official, we’re in the trenches and I’m resolved to get this project done.  Can’t wait to show you the after shots, wish me luck!