January 27, 2009

Farm Update - Wallpaper Removal

As the temperature drips in the Midwest, we migrate inside to continue our rennovation project inside where it is warm.  We start a fire in the fireplace, set up our equipment, tune in a local radio station and begin stripping wallpaper from the walls.

Why a radio station?  The nostalgia, baby!  I love to tune in an old school style radio station to listen to music I literally haven't heard in twenty or thirty years as I work.  Lots of disco, country and western, boogaloo, etc.  You just have to sing along or laugh at the lyrics as you work.  

Something I learned from my parents as a kid.  When you grow up on a farm it is hard work...period.  It is a farm after all.  The trick my parents used with us when we were little was to make the work fun by playing silly music, monkeying around whenever possible, and encouraging us to laugh at and with one another.  No grumbling, whining, or bickering was allowed.  BUT, we could be as silly as we liked as long as we kept moving toward the task at hand.

Every wall surface of the house is covered in wallpaper - even the inside of the closets.  All in various shades of light blue...  the former owners loved wallpaper.
Asian Inspired Wallpaper...
botanical prints...  
 floral patterns...
and stripes and fruit.
Tip #1:  Use a commercial grade wallpaper steamer - it's worth every cent and will cut your removal time in half.  They are straight forward and surprisingly easy to use.  

Tip #2:  Use a drop cloth to protect the floor - the wallpaper glue is messy.  This will save a lot of clean time later.  Keep a bucket of warm water close at hand with a large sponge for handy clean ups.  

We had to stop the wallpaper removal process when the water heater sprung a leak and had to be replaced.  A trip 84 Lumber (25 miles away) and presto we had a new hot water heater installed.  Thank goodness for handy men in the family.  Dan and my Dad had the old water heater removed and replaced within an hour.  So far we have a defunct dishwasher, two refrigerators, and now an hot water heater in the garage.  The broken appliances keep multiplying out there.
Here's my hard working husband, Dan with steamer and scraper in hand working down low.

TIP #3:  Use caution when using the steamer, the hoses are hot.  Keep small children and pets out of the room and away from the steamer and hoses.

The woodwork will be painted ivory white and the walls will be painted in a buff suede tone - a Spring project when we can open the windows for ventilation.  Our goal is to finish the downstairs this year for Winter work and tackle the upstairs wallpaper next Winter.  Being DIYers it will be a two year project.

TIP #5:  Always prep your walls before hanging wallpaper - you will want to change it in the future and it will make the take down process less painful.

For more wallpaper removal tips visit the DIY Network website.

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