So we purchased a 1950’s, 4 bedroom, 1.5 bath, modified cape here in the great little state of MA. It is a beautiful little house with strong bones, said our inspector, and he is not wrong. It has some wonderful things like a new roof, refinished floors, and a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of the house. The last time the house was sold before now was in the 1980’s. It is a keeper of a house.
The problem is, that whoever owned it before did not keep up on cleaning in their last few years and had an abnormal obsession with wallpaper, horrible wallpaper, and generally the nice things, like the exterior paint and the floors look to have been done quickly to up the sale value of the house.
See the two colors of wallpaper in the kitchen? This is not the worst of it. Actually I think this might be the best of it. The blue wallpaper in the kitchen is a halfway decent color of wallpaper. It is filthy, but ripping it all down with help with that. See the little bit of red flower paper down where the stove will go? That is a pattern I have learned to hate. I suspect it was the original pattern.
This, this one is the worst of the original wallpapers, perhaps discounting the wallpaper in the bathroom. The bathroom will be a later post of its own. This wallpaper is not only ugly, but dirty and stained. This room is currently the bane of my existence.
So we closed on the house on a Friday, and had a long weekend ahead of us. We got to the house at noon, and changed into clothing to do work right away. We were thrilled, high on life and totally and completely under the spell of the house. We had been warned by friends, colleagues and professionals, paint over the wallpaper. Do not attempt to remove the wallpaper. We thought we knew better. It is peeling, it will look trashy, we want it gone. These are all excuses we gave ourselves as to why we had to reach out and rip that paper down. We tested a little spot to see if there were layers underneath in each room.
See, everything was going to be okay. We were motivated and prepared! Except, so not, because of the cardinal rule of owning a house:
The house will trick you.
That is right ladies and gents, the house will trick you. There you see an archival study of seven layers of wallpaper and one layer of paint in the same room as the above picture. Look below the chair rail – nice clean wallboard, above a 35 hour project. Remember rule one. The house will trick you.