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!


  1. Oh my! I'm impressed (or scared) by your stamina. All of that in 24 hours!! It does look a lot better already :)

  2. Ahhhh! Anytime I think I’m going to jump on the trendy wallpaper wagon I read a post like yours and think no, no, NO thank you; I’ll just stick to paint in my house, thankyouverymuch! Haha! Sorry it was such a beast but it looks WORLDS better!