On April 15, 2008 we closed on a 1955 Mid-Century Modern home in Merriam, KS that was custom designed by the late Donald R. Hollis of Hollis + Miller Architects. We will be sharing our journey as we update the house to make it our own, while trying to stay as close to the original design as possible.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wallpaper removal was a nightmare!

If you have ever removed wallpaper then you will probably understand my pain.  If you have never removed wallpaper, then pray that you never have to.  

When we first purchased the house we knew that wallpaper removal would be one of our first projects.  The master bedroom was blessed with birch bark wallpaper, and the hallway had some really groovy Aztec pattern design.  The tiny bathroom downstairs had some of that old-fashioned newspaper wallpaper that used to line the walls of Wendy's (at least where I grew up).  We did not think it would be too bad given that the areas were not so big.  We did have some crackling paint in the two other bedrooms and the living room, but we did not know how we were going to address that.  Well we were wrong! 

Wallpaper removal in the master bedroom and the hallway went relatively smooth.  The paper came of quite easy.  It wasn't until I spoke with my sister (she is part of the wallpaper removal sisterhood) that I found out that the wallpaper paste also had to be removed.  I thought it would be something that you could just cover up with primer prior to painting.  Well my sister set me straight.  Thus, the beginning of our nightmare began.  I can't tell you how many brands of wallpaper removal products we went through before finally finding out that fabric softner works best (50/50 ratio of water and fabric softener).  

Our nightmare did not end there.  Well, we discovered why there was crackled paint in the living room and the two other bedrooms.  Because there were several layers of paint on top of wallpaper!  The wallpaper in one of the bedrooms did not want to come down, and when it finally decided to do so, it came down with parts of the drywall paper.  That room looked like such a mess that we considered tearing down all the drywall and starting from scratch.  But given that we were on a budget we decided against that.  I figured that some spackle would take care of it.  LD felt that the job was too much for me and wanted to hire a professional to do it but I was too stubborn.  I allowed her to get some bids but I felt that they were asking too much.  I will not go into the nasty details of what I had to go through to get the walls looking decent.  However, LD was right.  Believe me if I had to do it all over again I would have certainly paid somebody else to do it.  I can't remember how much time we spent on wallpaper removal (or maybe my mind is blocking it) but it was way too much.

Here's a somewhat little positive about removing the wallpaper.  It was the original 1955 wallpaper, which made it easy to peel off in the master bedroom and hallway.  

Crackling paint is never a good sign.
Birch pattern wallpaper in master bedroom, Aztec in the hallway.
Wallpaper in master bedroom.
Wendy's newspaper wallpaper in bathroom

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