Thursday, September 9, 2010

Continuing to Catch You Up... First Projects

Our first non-move-in weekend in our first home was a much-welcomed three-day weekend. Happy Labor Day... and Happy Wallpaper Peeling! Actually, the first project was figuring out why we didn't have hot water in the master bathroom sink.

Dave quickly discovered that the hot water was flowing, it just wasn't getting to the faucet. After a little handy work (and multiple trips to various -- maybe five? -- hardware stores), we determined that the old parts in the pipework couldn't even be replaced, so the faucet and it's related parts needed to be replaced. Off to Home Depot. Our first stylistic decision for our home! Dave got to work, and not too terribly long after, our first successful makeover!
(hard at work)
(super handy)
(voila! new faucet!)
A few other quick-fix master bathroom solutions were accomplished as well:
(new shower head)
(new flusher)
(recaulking the toilet)

Next Project: Wallpaper... Because there is so much of it, we knew we needed to be economical. The night after we closed, we came up here just to make sure the keys worked. It all got very real very fast, and the looming tasks were overwhelming. Our approach had to be to figure out what we could do, and what was priority, and then to chip slowly away at the projects, doing as much as we can do ourselves, but remaining honest about what is over our heads, and not letting the totality of the projects freak us out. Easier said than done sometimes, but having spent many hours watching HGTV, I was pretty sure that we could definitely figure out how to do the wallpaper. Even if it takes a long time, we can do it. Pulling at a corner of nearly every different sample, we quickly discovered that in most of the rooms, the paper just came right off in whole sheets. This applies to both bathrooms, and the kitchen. In these cases, though, the lingering issue would be not the wallpaper itself, but the glue residue. In the front hall, the wallpaper was stuck on pretty seriously. This would require a different approach. Thank you, Internet.
(Ace no-rinse option = great!)

I researched for hours over multiple days, and came up with an approach for our two different situations. For the glue residue situation, we needed: a solution called TSP (or a TSP-like solution -- this is a super-cleaner, meant mainly for walls and other such surfaces); hot water; sponges; crazy arm strength. You mix one part solution with four parts hot water, and scrub the wall. It works. My forearms will look like Popeye's when I'm done.

(fabric softener and water = magic)
For the front hall, I found multiple sources that said to skip the scoring you read or have heard about, skip the steamers or the hair dryers. All you need is a simple solution of equal parts liquid fabric softener and warm water; a spray bottle; and time. As long as you can get up even a tiny corner of the top layer of the wallpaper, you don't need to score it. If you have difficulty, a little sandpaper will get you started. Then you simply spray on the mixture, let it settle in for about three seconds, and peel. Thanks to my sister in-law, Lynn, for her volunteered hours of peeling support Saturday night, the whole front hall was done by Sunday.
(industrial-size garbage bag-o-wallpaper scrapings)
This was actually a really cathartic process. Unlike most fix-it projects, which look worse before they start shaping up, this is instant-satisfaction. You are seeing progress immediately, and it automatically looks better (especially in a case like the Museum of Historic Wallpaper Samples). Even though the paint job under the black paisley resembles lime sorbet, it's a huge relief to see this:
(We honestly didn't know that closet was there at first)
Lanie was obviously a huge help all weekend:

1 comment:

Randi said...

Lookin good! You should save a scrap of each wall paper.