Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I hate wallpaper.

I refuse to hang wallpaper and would rather be hanged myself.  A long time ago, I attempted it - in order to make progress with a woman I was pursuing.  I covered her walls with wrinkles and bumps and air pockets and she never talked to me again. 

So I was trying to slip backwards out of the kitchen when Karen suggested we remove the wallpaper in the kitchen. 

I conceded that it was ugly.  Several potential buyers of our house have come through and commented through the realtors that one of the things they did not like was the wallpaper.  But I'd happily drop the price so they could get it changed. 

"But we bought the house with that ugly wallpaper," I said.

"No," Karen reminded me.  "We had to pay someone to hang it after we moved in because you refused to do it."

I started to tell her about my earlier experience but caught myself in time.  I've learned enough not to bring up other women even if it was 25 years before I even met her.  Instead, I said, "You mean that we actually picked that eye-straining monstrosity?"

"Why don't you see if you can get it down.  It might go easy and just peel off."

So the next day, with blind faith that it would just come off the wall in one smooth piece, I moved the furniture out of the way, took a corner and pulled on a corner.  I pulled off a piece that needed a magnifying glass to see.   I began muttering and headed to Lowes for scrapers, sponges, remover solution...

Lowes (and Home Depot) are always filled primarily with men.  I am convinced that each and every one of them is married.

Back in the kitchen, I began muttering more frequently.  After endless hours of work...

...I had almost finished the first of 4 sheets. 

At first, it seemed to go easier on the equally ugly decorative border at the top of the wall until I realized that the border was on top of the wallpaper so it was actually going to be twice as hard.

By now I was muttering nonstop.   I was talking to the wallpaper, trying to make deals.  Then I was threatening the wallpaper. Then I was making comments about the wallpaper's mama.

The various "How to remove wallpaper" sites on the Internet all made it seem like a fool could do it.  Although I quickly concluded that only a fool would attempt it in the first place.  The sites also politely suggested patience and being careful with the scraper so you don't damage the wall. 

After days of work, I no longer cared.  By then I was muttering about the "How to remove wallpaper" sites' mamas. 

So when the paper was finally off, I stepped back, looked up and saw that I had mutilated the wall. 

This is just one small section - gouges were everywhere

The fact that by then I felt that the $#&$ing wall deserved everything it got, did not change the fact that I would have to repair it.  Sort of like how we spend billions of dollars shooting up some country we go to war with only to spend billions more to help repair the infrastructure afterwards.

Back to Lowes for painter's putty, putty knives, spackle, etc.   I'm not muttering anymore.  I've grown to hoarse to mutter.

But I have to admit the result does seem to make a difference.

By the time we finish preparing the house to sell, we won't want to move out of it.


  1. Ugh. I hate wallpaper. Well, not so much wallpaper as removing wallpaper, for exactly the reason you've demonstrated. I've taken a vow never to put any more up in our house. Paint is SO much easier.

    The result of your labor is definitely worth the effort!

  2. In the 1980s, we redecorated the rented terraced house my family (mum, dad, sis and I) lived in. Underneath the 1970s wallpaper in my sister's room we found an almost completely intact, very stylish 1950s wallpaper... we did not look further, but to this day, I am convinced there was a 1940s and 1930s one underneath. The 1950s one stayed. It was the envy of all our friends.

    Love the curtains! There aren't any in my whole flat, but I like nice ones in other people's homes.

  3. I have to admit, the plain walls do look better.

    The next time you do a project, please have your wife video tape it. I'm sure it would get a LOT of hits on youtube!

  4. You are repeating yourself...that last statement. I have both hung and removed wallpaper. Old wallpaper is a nightmare but most wallpaper in the last 15 years or so is strip-able, so your project wasn't fair. I must do a post on my dining room wallpaper experience. I really need to find a photo, which I do not have to add to it.

  5. Agreed that wallpaper is horrible. I stick to paint only now.

  6. I quite like wallpaper. But then I never had to neither pull it down nor put it up! I prefer rather neutral wall colours though. It is so much easier to change the atmosphere of a room by just changing textiles like curtains and tablecloths. I hope you get a good price for your house so that you feel it was worth your while to put so much work into it before selling!

  7. I removed wallpaper once and it was an absolute nightmare! I admit it does look much better though.

  8. hate to tell you now but if this was the only layer of paper and not vinyl, ( cause has a felt like backing) you could have put a sealer on it (paint) and painted it, looks like that would have taken 4 hours or so.... sometimes the best way is the easiest one.

  9. just a note, looks A LOT BETTER - by the time you all finish fixing to sell maybe you'll like the house enough to stay there.

  10. Hahaha I was just thinking by the time you finish all the improvements it will seem like a new house you want to stay in anyway and you wrote that at the bottom!

  11. Very entertaining read! Our house was covered with wall paper with bubbles and wrinkles and mismatched seams when we moved it. It is all removed now, but I remember the pain! And the gouges in the wall. Glad your project can be enjoyed now!

  12. I learned some time ago the pain level of removing wallpaper is just barely behind stabbing yourself through the hand with a screwdriver

    Good job!

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