I had to check my Twitter timeline to see how long it took and it turns out I spent about four straight hours yesterday removing the wallpaper from my bedroom walls.
Here's what it looked like before I started, and please note that this photo somehow fails to show any of the many terrible wallpaper hanging flaws that were very evident throughout the room.
Of course, what this photo does show is one of a pair of cool (antique?) cobra-shaped wall sconces I have. I don't think they'll fit into the new decor scheme, but I need to find a place for them somewhere in the house because I love them.
So anyway, I started by peeling off the green part of the wallpaper. Naturally all of the backing remained.
You may be able to tell from the photos that this is a very small room. We had two bedroom options when we moved in and we chose this one for sleeping and eventually turned the somewhat larger one into a TV room. We have a queen-sized bed, a dresser, two small nightstands and a clothes hamper, and that's about all you can cram into the room and still be able to walk around without bumping your shins.
I didn't want to take all the furniture out for the de-wallpapering, so I settled for moving the nightstands out and pushing the dresser and bed into the middle of the room.
It turned out that the dresser and my husband's nightstand had both suffered the same fate over time: the nails that held on their thin wooden backer boards had worked their way almost completely out. I hammered them all back in so maybe we'll have gained another few years from our cheap Scandinavian bedroom set.
I filled the steamer and just as it was heated all the way up and starting to steam, I realized I couldn't find the scraper I'd been using. I looked and looked and looked and finally found it in my trash sack with the discarded wallpaper. Sheesh.
The steaming and scraping took more than three hours but I did it all without stopping because my rented wallpaper steamer had such a high capacity that it never ran out of water that entire time.
When I was finished, the room was restored to a plaster-patched robin's egg blue, which was the last color that had been painted on the walls before the former owners began wallpapering and then painting over the wallpaper. I'd already steamed off those many layers of paint and wallpaper back in 1995 when we moved in.
From the chips in the paint, it was evident that the room had also been painted a coral color in the past. As far as I can tell, every room in my house had once been coral and robin's egg blue in turn.
Did I mention that removing wallpaper is messy?
When I finished with the steamer I discovered that they'd found their Nulo treats on top of the fridge and savaged the bag in the living room. (I don't know why my hand is magenta in the photo. I'm sure it was a little red from hours of holding a scraper, but still...)
By the time I was done, I was exhausted and covered in wallpaper paste and paper fragments, so I was happy to hold off on the cleanup until after I'd had a lovely Mexican dinner and split a pitcher of margaritas with A Librarian.
Once I got home, I finished shoveling the detritus of my project into a trash bag, put the furniture back where it belonged, changed the sheets, showered and promptly fell asleep.
Now I just need to figure out what exactly I'm going to do with the room and when. I need to have someone else give the ceiling a new texture and caulk all the way around where the walls meet the ceiling. I also need to hire someone to refinish the hardwood floors because that is not the kind of project I'm willing to tackle.
However, I'm fine with refining my earlier plaster fixes on the walls and making any other repairs that are needed. I love to paint and I may recruit my sister to help me add a faux finish to help hide the bad parts of the walls. Once I've gotten the hired work out of the way, I guess I just need to settle on a decor scheme, choose the colors and jump on in.
But that will be later. For now, I'm just glad to have gotten this far.