Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some Thoughts About Wallpaper (2nd edition)

I was so excited when we got to set up our new home, some 8 years ago now. It truly is a treat to live in a place where no one else has ever lived. No weird hair in the drains, or between the carpet and baseboards, no one else's toothpaste ever spit down the bathroom sinks: you get the picture.

And truthfully, I had never seen so much bright, bright white. Everything was contractor primer white. And since it was the first home I had ever owned, I needed to put my mark on it. And mark it I did.... I painted, and papered, and papered and painted. There wasn't a room in the house that didn't have some color in it, and at the very least a wallpaper border. A cute clothesline with blue and yellow in the bathroom, baskets and flowers in the kitchen, John Deere tractors in the office, roses in the bedroom. Not sure why I had such a love affair with wallpaper borders, but man did I. Eight years later, I have been doing a rash of redecorating. It started with a remodel of the kitchen. My new counter top and cabinets did not go with the beautiful navy blue I had in the original kitchen. Down came the wallpaper border and away went the ragged blue-jean effect. Then I noticed the wallpaper in the entry way was looking awfully shabby. Between kids and dogs, I'm not sure who caused most of the damage (pretty sure it was the kids). So down came the clothes lines-with-freshly-laundered-country-attire border w/plaid bottom, away went the dark pink paint.

Now, I'm on to the master bedroom/bathroom. You see, my bedspread had gotten all worn out--what do you expect from a $50 Target ensemble? Eight years had had it--rips, cuts, pills. It was time to go. So I found an ensemble (complete with window treatments, sheets, and all manner and shape of pillows) on sale at Macy' And, of course, it doesn't quite go with the rose color-wash that adorns my bedroom walls. You know what's next. The bathroom colors don't really coordinate either, so down came the flowers in the bathroom. Who knew that wallpaper and steamy bathrooms don't get along so well?

This really is my anti-wallpaper manifesto. I putting it here in black and white (okay green and yellow): NO MORE WALLPAPER, EVEN BORDERS, IN MY HOUSE!

I really think that they should put that in first-time home-owners manuals too. I had no idea that it was that hard to take down. You can strip the outer layer usually, no problem. Then it takes all matter of spray gel--I tried Zip (it's blue) and I tried some pink stuff(it was environmentally friendly): I tried diluted bleach; I tried plain old water which actually worked best. Then, once you get the wall paper itself down you have to scrub off all the glue, which when you use the border bond-er, is no small task. Did I mention that under some of the wall paper it was good old flat paint? Now I have to re-prime some of the walls, before I can repaint. I had no idea it was that messy either! Water on the floor, glue dripping on the floor, wall paper that comes off in pieces the size of dimes. I had no idea that the border paste you can buy is extra durable so it will bond with the actual wallpaper; it's not designed to be put on the wall itself! I think if you are extremely wealthy, and can afford hired help to do all your decorating, knock yourself out, because usually the professional decorator also has professional un-installers as well as installers.
But if you are one of those DIY junkies (which I pretty much am), be smart. Wallpaper is NOT your friend.


The Farmer's Wife said...

Wallpaper is kinda like a tattoo, I think. Seemed like SUCH a good idea at the time! And it sounds about as easy to remove or change, from what I've read.

I took your pledge seriously, and as your friend, am ready to intervene, should you change your mind 10 years down the road...

Pictures of the projects, girl! We're waiting for pictures of the projects!

The Farmer's Wife said...

Thanks for the pics! It greatly enhanced your story! Now, a picture of your tattoo....?