Sunday, March 15, 2009

Living Room Makeover - Wallpaper Removal

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A corner of the room showing the wallpaper.We've finally decided that now is the time to re-do the living room. We've been wanting to work on it for some time now, but have been dreading the wallpaper removal.

When we bought this house 5 years ago, it was covered with wallpaper and pink things - pink kitchen counter, pink carpeting, pink paint, pink bathroom fixtures. We quickly got rid of most of the pink, but the wallpaper has been a longer process.

First to go was the black, pink and white striped paper in the kitchen and hallway, with floral borders. Then we tackled the peach, black, and aqua flowers and fans in the dining room. Next we dealt with the pink, blue and cream stripes and flowers in the upstairs bath. And, now we've come to the formal stripe in the living room - which someone has VARNISHED!
Our temporary living room, in the dining room.
Many people tell us that they like this paper and don't understand why we want to get rid of it. I think it is pretty, but it just isn't the quiet serene style we're looking for.

Here are the changes we plan to make, in addition to re-doing the walls:

  • We are going to have a WHITE ceiling. For some reason, throughout this house, previous owners painted all of the ceilings the same grayish beige as most of the upper walls...not attractive.
  • We've already removed the fussy large (8' x 10') area rug that was in the room - we posted it on Craigslist for a while but didn't get any serious takers, so I gavAssembling our supplies.e it to my niece who was thrilled. We'll probably replace it with sisal or bamboo.
  • We're also going to get rid of the sofa - just too big, heavy, and clunky - and opt for two loveseats instead. Sadly, this will mean no more hide-a-bed sleepovers in the living room for my daughter and her friends.
  • We want to trade the glass and brass coffee table for two square Pottery Barn style cherry tables, with lower storage shelves; they're easily re-arranged and can double as seating during large parties.
  • We'll trade in our random occassional tables for more square-ish side tables, and trade in the embellished lamps for simpler, sleeker ones.
  • The BIG entertainment center will move to a different wall and I think we'll flank it with two bookshelves pulled from another room.The wall before.
  • No more drapes! We'll try Roman shades or wooden blinds (or maybe even shutters?).

So, today was Begin Removing Paper day. Our past wallpaper removal experiences have been pretty straightforward:

  1. Put down plastic tarps and absorbent towels/sheets around perimeter.
  2. Use the paper tiger to score the wallpaper. (My daughter thinks it's called that because of the growling sound it makes as it's rotated across the paper; I think it's called that because of the "claw marks" it makes in the paper.)
  3. Dampen the paper with a mix of warm water and wallpaper remover ("Chomp").
  4. Peel off the decorative top layer.One wall down, three more to go!
  5. Re-wet the remaining inner layer.
  6. Pull off inner layer and rinse glue off walls.

Well, today didn't quite go this way. The varnish really threw a wrench in the works. We followed the same steps, but found that the top layer just didn't want to come off. Instead, it was painstaking hours of nudging strips off with a putty knife, re-wetting the paper, scraping, etc.

Tonight, two walls are done, and two to go. We'll keep you posted!
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3 comments:

Blair said...

Uuuuggg, wall paper removal. I once was helping a friend redecorate her room, and she wanted some extra-girly pink walls. Only one wall was covered in wallpaper, but it was such a nightmare to get off that we eventually just covered the wall completely in fabric!

Obviously, I hope your removal goes better than ours. Can't wait to see the finished living room!

Loveanewidea said...

Blair-
Up to this point, we've had fairly good removal experiences...time consuming but manageable. This time, though, it looks like our lucky streak has come to an end. This time it's definitely not fun. And, to add insult to injury, I accidentally deleted most of my before shots! I have a few left, plus the ones that are part of this post, but deleted the others. Aaaaaaggghhhh.

Loveanewidea said...

Blair-
Up to this point, we've had fairly good removal experiences...time consuming but manageable. This time, though, it looks like our lucky streak has come to an end. This time it's definitely not fun. And, to add insult to injury, I accidentally deleted most of my before shots! I have a few left, plus the ones that are part of this post, but deleted the others. Aaaaaaggghhhh.

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