Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Removing Wallpaper = Fun???

No, I haven't completely lost my mind. But believe it or not, over the last week I've had fun stripping wallpaper off the wall in our front stairway. It's kind of a long story...

When Alyson was here, we were talking about how I was going to change the house - what my ideas and plans were for decorating. We were in the living room talking about colors and somehow Britney brought up that he thought the stairway was paint over wallpaper. So, I went up the stairs, found a small rip and pulled :) Sure enough, there was at least one layer of paint over some wallpaper. But, the real find was underneath that first wallpaper layer. It appears that I uncovered the original wallpaper of the house or some that was installed in the early 1900s at some point. It's a mural of what appears to be antebellum homes with horses, carriages, etc. It reminds me of the movie North and South.

Anyway, I did some research online about historic wallpapers and mostly found opinions of people who think it's horrible if you rip down a part of history. Then I found other sites with instructions on how to safely remove historic wallpaper and ideas on preserving it. So, armed with Ivory soap, a squirt bottle and a razor blade, I set off tonight on the task of removing the mural wallpaper. It actually came off quite easily but I still have a long way to go...

It seems that the mural is painted on the wallpaper because when I first started and sprayed the paper, I was using a sponge and wiping the residual glue from the other wallpaper off before I tried to ease the mural paper off the wall. As I did that, the colors smeared and the lines became less crisp. At least that proved that it was in fact an old paper and my thinking that it was probably the original was correct. The things you can find on the internet are amazing!

I wondered what I might find underneath the wallpaper, but it looks like it's just the original plaster with lots of cleaning to be done. I've decided that since I was able to get at least two large sheets of the mural off, I'll have them framed and they'll hang in our guest room as artwork. I have our Charleston pictures of Rainbow Row in there right now, so the mural houses will go too.

The wallpaper is just one of the many finds I've made since we moved here. Maybe I'll save the others for another day. I have to keep you coming back somehow :)

3 comments:

marla said...

What an awesome story about your continuing adventures in Minnesota! I wish I could come and help with all the work to be done--somehow, that kind of "work" sounds more like fun. I know you've had the "work" gloves on outside, too. Did Ashlyn get to climb her tree yesterday? She was very intent on changing into her tree-climbing clothes when I talked to her because it has "all these low branches that I can just step on..." Well, have fun--I can't wait to read the next installment!
We continue to pray for closure on the Suwanee house.
Love to you all,
Mom

Alea said...

That's funny, we are doing the same thing as you. Don't remember how torn apart you saw our house before you moved, but now that we finished the bathroom, I had to get rid of that awful country wallpaper in the hallway. So, my hallway/foyer looks bad right now. I have got the first coat of white trim paint on all of the trim which looks amazingly better! (Thanks for the trim paint you left. I stole it from mom since she didn't need it right away. It has been a huge help!) Luckily, our hall wallpaper came off in sheets. That's the ONLY way I am done ripping wallpaper already. Not to make you jealous, but it took 30 minutes and the ripping was done. What a blessing! But, nothing exciting under mine as it was just wallboard with lots of patched areas:) Well, have fun. So glad to hear your house sold! FINALLY!

Love you all,
Alea

Anonymous said...

That is really a treasure. I am so glad you could manage to preserve some of the mural. Makes you wonder about many things...who used to live there, what were they like...if only walls could talk! :)
Thanks for the great updates!
Love, Lisa R