Wallpaper Archeology

Mr. Cleaver and I have our apartment through the end of January, so we're taking advantage of this time to get some work done in the house before we move in. The goal: to paint the master bedroom and living room.

Our Friday, December 31st, the master bedroom in our new house looked like this:

Master Bedroom

Yesterday, on Friday January 7th, it looked like this:

Master Bedroom- During (Skim Coated)

For the week in between, it looked more like this:

Wallpaper Removal

and this: Wallpaper Removal

and this: Wallpaper Removal

I had been told that whenever you do a remodeling project expect it to take twice as long and cost at least 10% more than you think.

I don't think I was prepared for the "dear God, what have I done!!" feeling that happens in the middle when everything looks terrible and you're too far into the project to turn back, but not near enough to being done that you can see the end yet.

Deciding to remove the early 90's style wallpaper seemed an easy enough decision. And it was easy enough to remove.

It was the other 3-4 generations under it that were more difficult, particularly the charming at first, but stupidly stubborn later, patriotic print that was the bottom layer. We guessed the lowest level of paper was put on in 1962, based on a note written on the underlying wall.  The house was built in 1948, but there had obviously been some patches and repairs done since then.

Bottom Layer

It was interesting to see all the levels and think about the people who lived there before. The eagle print aside, there were a lot of muted florals on greyish-pink pastel backgrounds.

Thanks to some paperwork passed down from owner to owner, we know the names of at least three previous owners who lived in the house during 1982, 1989, and 1997 (at least), and it's interest to guess which paper belong to which owner. It was like wallpaper archeology. In someways, I felt bad pulling out all that history. On the other hand, we made things so much easier for whoever may own the house after us.

All in all it took 3 days and 3 garbage bags worth of wallpaper. Fortunately, there were no big surprises under all that paper, though we're still not sure what all the walls are made of - it seems to be pressboard/paperboard in some places, maybe plaster or plywood in others.

Since the walls weren't in great condition after the wallpaper removal, Mr. Cleaver and I skim coated the walls with joint compound and caulked the seams between the molding and the walls. All new skills we didn't know a week before!! I wouldn't call us experts by any means, but we did a fair enough job - and hopefully by the end of next week, it'll all be painted and ready to move in.

Master Bedroom- During (Skim Coated)

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