July 26, 2013

I Hate Wallpaper

Now we've done it.  For the record- I blame the Hubs.  My plan was to enjoy the rest of the summer in our new, little cabin Up North.  I definitely recall recommending that we do a little work outside (more on that soon...), but enjoy the short Minnesota summer out on the lake and deal with the inside of this cabin later in the year.  And then this happened:

We were getting the boys ready for bed late one evening when the Hubs tugged at a bit of the loose wall paper in the room.  To our surprise, it practically fell off.

And then it was on.  Before we knew it we were haphazardly tearing wall paper from every room in the house, just to see how easily it came down.  The front bedroom was cleared in less than 15 minutes. 

 The Woodland Creatures didn't come off quite as smoothly, but we made a pretty quick dent in the project.

But it was the Living Room- our largest and most used space that we couldn't wait to tackle. 

The green walls are actually painted over wall paper, that is all cracked, bumpy and pealing.  Or was...

In some places the paper came off completely clear, exposing the wood paneling below.  In others the paper backing held on for dear life.

The top of the wall to the right of this room is actually the only drywall in the joint.  Luckily the wallpaper on the paneling below it tore off pretty easily.

So after a free for all of wall paper removal late on a Friday night, we congratulated each other on our awesomeness, and went to bed.  When we woke up the next morning, we looked at the total mess that lie around us and thought- Oh Shit.

It was a beautiful summer day, and instead of spending it outside on the water, we knew we were going to have to spend most of it inside, cleaning up our mess.  We prioritized, took turns with the boys outside so they could get their swimming and play time in, but we both took turns with our new friend the wall paper steamer.

The back, ugly wall of the Living Room was apparently applied with super glue, so began the scraping.  I took one pass with the steamer to pull the top, patterned layer of the paper off.  The second, paper backing layer came with the second pass. 

The third round was the worst.  We tried everything on the internet, but the glue that remained on the paneling didn't seem to want to budge.

We added a bunch of white vinegar to the steamer at this point, which seemed to help a bit.  At least it helped take the stink off these old, dirty panels.  

Then, sort of by accident I discovered that if I literally pushed the steamer along the wall with my scraper, the glue would finally scrape off.  It took awhile, and I admit I was totally pouting, but eventually we had this:

But we weren't done yet.  Next we scrubbed all the walls one more time with a vinegar & water solution to remove the last of the glue.  Then, once it dried we went back with fine grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough patches from glue or scraping.  Then we had to wipe down all the walls with tack cloth to remove the dust.  It was a long day, but after we tucked the kiddos into bed, I decided that as long as we had already blown the day, we might as well step it up and get the first coat of primer up.  I mean, I'd rather be inside priming late at night than during a beautiful summer afternoon.  Finally, just before midnight we had this:

The primer on the drywall is white, but yellowed pretty quickly on this old paneling.  We're definitely going to need another coat of stain and odor blocking primer before we paint.  Awesomesauce.

So that's the story of how within 2 weeks of owning the place, we accidentally took the Living Room from this:

(Where's Waldo Baby)

To this.

Even though it is in the middle of an overhaul- doesn't it already look better?  So much bigger!  Hopefully one more coat of primer and a coat or two of paint will make this room unrecognizable from the first photos.  More on that soon!

July 19, 2013

Our New Project

Hi Friends- let me introduce you to our new project.

No, we're not moving, although we might be spending most of our time here.  This little guy is our new family cabin that my parents recently purchased.  In Minnesota, the locals all go "Up Nord'" for the weekends in the summer to enjoy our beautiful lakes.  This sweet little lake home was a long time dream of my parents, a place where our whole family can spend time together, the kids can learn to swim, catch fireflies and grow up together.

And it's a dream for the Hubs and I too, because it's a heap of projects. Let me give you a little tour.  Here's a shot back at the front door.  Or at least where the front door is right now... (more on that later.)

This place was built in the sixties, and from the looks of it it's been frozen in time since the seventies.  We bought the place furnished, which means we have a whole lot of seventies love to embrace (or give the boot to.)  The good news is that it's a great open concept.  Just off the Dining Room is the Kitchen.

The cabinets are in great shape and hold a bunch of storage.  They just need a little dose of 2013.


The Kitchen opens right up to the Living Room.

Wow.  What do I even say about this look at this crazy patterned nightmare. 

 Has there ever been a couch as bad as this guy we inherited?  Seriously- my couch will challenge your couch to an ugly duel.

 Look at all that nice open space.  (Just try to ignore the crazy.)

If we didn't have enough wallpaper in the Living Room, the bedrooms are about to give us a run for our money.

This room came complete with a strange little medicine cabinet-esk built in nook.  We'll try to make it work.

Here's hoping that poorly installed wallpaper makes it come off easier.

Alright my friends, so far this tour has been pretty mild-mannered, but prepare to overt your eyes.  Here's the bathroom.

Wall paper and curtains and lighting... oh my!

We've got swag.

Frightened yet?  Let's head down the hallway to the other bedroom.

Get the steamer- we have more wallpaper.

It's a woodland creatures explosion!

Lucky for me, my favorite room is wallpaperless.  This great little screened in porch off the kitchen.

I'm imagining some type of couch that doubles as a bed out here (daybed, futon, pull-out?) so we can relax out here during the day and enjoy the cool breeze at night.

We've got a lot of fun projects ahead, which you'll see mixed in now into our regularly scheduled home improvements.  I can't wait to get started!

Congratulations Mom and Dad!

July 10, 2013

The Family Room Reveal- Sort Of

Here's the thing- I owe you guys a Family Room reveal. I've let this thing go on longer than a Peter Jackson trilogy.  I didn't mean to wait so long, I just really wanted to finish up the accessories in this room before I gave you the big reveal, you know, so everything could be all blog beautiful and staged.  The reality is though, that there are a lot of little items I'd like to acquire overtime to make this room feel comfy.  I just don't want to force these decisions and make it feel typical or bland.  So I'm going to continue my search for the ultimate accessories, and in the mean time, I'll show you how she looks so far.  Deal?

Here's my beautiful new baby:

Remember when it looked like this?

I still can't believe that we built in that brand new, beautiful fireplace from scratch.  Sayonara big, ugly fire beast.

Hello sexy fire maker.

 We went with a simple, oil rubbed bronze cabinet hardware on the built in cabinets. 

I installed using our worth-every-penny (bought it 6 projects ago) hardware template.  

The kiddo played toddler papparazzi again. 

We balanced the big TV we hung on the left with some decorative shelving on the right.

Unfortunately the other side of the room isn't as finished.  I'm still looking for a few large scale art pieces to fit on this wall.  At least the board and batten we installed helps fill the space and ground the furniture.

I'm thinking maybe some big, natural black and white photographs.  Or maybe some abstract canvases with a pop of color?  Any ideas?

We are still absolutely loving the new couch and chair.  The ottoman may be temporary, I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.  

The end table is too small for the space, the the lamp is probably a little too small of a scale as well.  It works for now though.  Remember- it's a work in progress, no judging friends. 

And on that far side of the room, we have our new and improved bar area.

Remember when it was an ugly corner with a cat door?

Here's another peak at the beautiful new wine bar.

Instead of a Why's-There-A-Hutch-in-Your-Family-Room Built In?

And here's the formerly empty corner that is now our built in wet bar and beer tap.

On the wall I framed a super flattering photo of the Hubs for beer drinking inspiration.  Then I created a fun way for us let people know what the beer du jour is, just by using a dry erase marker.

So there she blows.  What do you guys think so far?  Any suggestions for my big span of wall with nothing on it?  I've been scouring Etsy and HomeGoods, but I just haven't found the perfect thing yet.  If you've seen something that would work- send it my way.  Pretty please!