Wallpaper and Walls

June 11, 2017

This week was a pretty epic week at the Anthony Farmhouse but I've decided to narrow this post down to my favorite project of the week: Endless Wallpaper and Fresh Walls!


There was a section of the original living room that had faux brick paneling.  I thought it was for decorative detail and maybe a throwback to the wood furnace that had once been in that corner (see chimney sticking out in the corner).



But no!  Not just a decorative accent... Turns out it was hiding this fun little gem:



Left: Original 'gem' hidden behind faux brick.

Right: Same wall, Chemical Wallpaper removal of Pink and Green top coats revealed five additional coats underneath.


That's right, there's about 7 layers of wallpaper spanning at least 60 or 70 years, probably more.  Given the thickness and severity, it's not hard to see why the decorative brick was a good option.  Unfortunately, that was not going to work for me.  And the wallpaper remover I first used wasn't making the cut either.


Enter, trusty steamer!


Steps to removing 70 year old, layered wall paper:


- Make sure it's a 90 degree day.  Any cooler and I can not vouch for this success.


- Get the steam Crankin'!!


- Place steamer on wall for a "20 count". Not 20 seconds but that would work too. And I don't mean, hold near the wall but a solid, put that puppy against the paper and hold tight!

The first pass got off the top two toughest layers.  


- Then another "20 count" and your scraping starts to pay off:


- Oh- also make sure you 'score' the edges of the dropped ceiling moulding, otherwise you're fighting flecks of wallpaper forever.  


Recap: score, steam, peel, steam, scrape and you start to see the original shine through!

(Top right of right pic above.)


Here's a less encouraging shot of the same work:




If I had been more creative, I would have figured out a way to hang the steamer for the whole project.  However, this set up was utilized only for picture taking.  The rest of the time I had a scraper in one hand, steamer in another.  And then I'd switch hands and scrape what I had just steamed while my other hand steamed a new area. 


After several hours, and some much appreciated help from my mother-in- law, you get this beautiful sight:




Amazing, right??!  If you disagree, keep it to yourself ;)



Now, at the same time I was working on the living room wallpaper debacle, I also tackled the Future dining room wallpaper.  They are just around the corner from each other and when I got tired of one, I shifted to the other.  Who says multitasking doesn't pay off?!


So Dining Room:


From Left to Right: Before pic, Wall paper detail, Removal with Chemicals

*Please excuse disgusting fingers... removing wallpaper is dirty! 


This was actually the first room I started on, then I moved to the living room, then back again. 


So in the beginning,  I felt great about removing all wallpaper everywhere. I watched a few online videos and bought the right tools and got to work:


- use a "twirley,swirley" to puncture wall paper,

- spray on wall paper remover

- wait 15 minutes

- pull off


And I thought the above progress was awesome... at the time.  Then I was introduced to the wallpaper steamer.  Let me just tell you... never will I ever remove wallpaper without one again!


The steamer had the wallpaper coming off in huge strips!  

 As if that wasn't enough to convince you, check out the difference in residue and glue left behind between the steamer and chemical remover below.  I ended up steaming the chemical wash area of the wall and scraping it clean.  



Needless to say, the steamer pretty much won the day and my heart.  And bonus: Free facial on a 90 degree day. What more could a girl ask for?!


But I wasn't done there:


Special thanks to my girlfriends for being willing to turn our monthly 'girls' night into a painting party!  The dining room has been re-plastered, wall paper removed, floor leveled and here we go: Primed!


Took four of us ladies two hours to prime ceiling, walls, woodwork and floors. And we walked away with this "White Wonder"!


Also known as:


"The whitest room in the world."


"The insane asylum" (and some other Harry Potter reference I don't get...)


"So white it's blue"


And my personal favorite:


"Which came first, the straight jacket or the room?"



So here's the ending to our week and a HUGE thank you and shout out to family, colleagues with steamers (Thank you, Trisha!!) and friends who aren't afraid to get neck cramps, paint on their face or laughed at.  Comedy helps Construction.  Trust me, friends.


Oh boyyyyyy..... and husband just looked over to me and said "I've been meaning to ask you, what do you think about wallpapering the new dining room?"...... stay tuned for details on his upcoming memorial service..... ha! ;)

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