Monday, September 22, 2014

Remodeler's Remorse: Episode 1

It seemed like such a good idea in the early 90s.
With the first day of fall comes a burst of Boomer Girl energy. Enough energy to tackle that guest bath remodeling project I was talking about back in February. (Don't ask me why I postponed back then. I must have had a good reason.) So, I dragged out the clothes steamer and began to strip the old sheet music from the walls. Sheet music I applied myself over 20 years ago in not one, but two or three layers. You know, because I wanted the "layered look" of sheet music. So popular then. I can't tell you how many hours it took to get those walls papered because I've blocked it from memory thanks, in large part, to electroshock therapy.
Picture rich, creamy paint on the walls and antique books on the shelves instead of magazines.
My (new) goal is to create an elegant and witty "reading room." One with provocative books on the shelves instead of Fine Homebuilding magazines and fine art on the walls, instead of sheet music in the so-five-minutes-ago layered look.  I'm looking for paint the color of antique paper. Or, maybe buttermilk or linen. Subtle but with enough contrast to set off the white trim. I have a very specific dream, people. In the meantime, there's a little matter of manual labor.
Omigod, what have I started? And will I have the attention span and the upper arm strength to finish?!? One wall down and three more to go. But these aren't just any walls. These are the uneven, funky plaster walls one finds in a converted closet under the stairs of a 1952 home.
   At least, I have a place to sit while I work. 


Nebraskim said...

Not sure what type of adhesive you used, but if it was wallpaper paste, there is a product called Fast that is aces for removing wallpaper. Best wallpaper stripper product out there; it's more expensive but worth it. You need to score the paper with a rotary tool, then drench the paper with the Fast (be sure to have good ventilation), let it sit for a few minutes. Paper will literally peel off via gravity. The key is the drench (like super soaked and soppy) and waiting. You can then steam off the really stubborn bits. Can you tell I've removed a lot of wallpaper?

Cathy Hamilton said...

Ha! I sure can, Kim. I'm not sure what kind of adhesive I used either. Would I have to score it since it's individual sheets of music? Ventilation may be an issue. There's an exhaust fan but the bathroom is under the stairs. No window. Still, if it'll work fast, I'm willing to risk a few brain cells. Thanks!

Carol Starr Schneider said...

Wowza, I am in total awe. Over here in Sherman Oaks, we hire folks to do this sort of manual labor. Or we wait till I go out of town to visit you and hubby installs the sink. Either way, better you than me, and I say that with love.

Nebraskim said...

I think if you leave the door open, it will be fine. Just don't sit in the room with the stuff on the walls. It's not like fatally toxic, but it does have a pungent aroma that is not pleasant. Good luck. We've wasted time and money on other products but always go back to the Fast. We've always scored the paper because we have the tools, but I don't think it's totally necessary. Because you papered over plaster, the job is easier. Paper over drywall=removal job from hell.

Cathy Hamilton said...

Kim, in the end, I decided to stick with steam because of the 'drench' factor. The floors in there are wood and the space so tiny, I wanted to do it with as little water as possible. Completely agree with you on the plaster, tho. If it were drywall, I'd be ripping it out!

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