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Monday, July 4, 2011

The Great Kitchen Facelift–Weekend #2

So last weekend we did some simple, but very effective changes. We swapped out the dated light fixtures and drawer pulls.  What does weekend #2 bring?

This weekend was a great adventure in wallpaper removal.  Yay?  It has been one of the most drastic changes we’ve tackled, yet was also one of the more annoying tasks.  We were lucky, really lucky.  This lovely wallpaper:


has been up in this kitchen at least since 1983, we think it could even be 10-20 years beyond that.  Based on the family historians recollection and the order that additions and extra cabinets were added .. it’s pretty old. It was actually very charming wallpaper and we thought about keeping it up, but since it was so … vintage … it had rips on the corners and stains from some decorations that had been hanging there for years.  It also had about 30 years of kitchen grease and grime built up.  I knew it was dirty, but until I held a piece in my hand I  don’t think I had realized just how disgusting and grimy it was.  It needed to go.

But, since it was put up back during a time where things weren’t so flimsy and cheap it was high quality wall paper and was pretty easy to take down. The Mr. scored it around all the doors and molding and I just started peeling.


Easy as that.  No water, no scraping … it just came down in sheets.  Lovely!  We soon discovered that there was lovely mint green paint behind the wallpaper.  It shouldn’t have surprised us.  It must have been on sale at one point as it also happens to be the inside color of the cabinets, and the color of the basement stairwell. 

Then we got to the fun part – removing the glue!  Ugh.  I’m glad this was so easy, but I’m really dreading the other two rooms in the house that are covered in wallpaper.  We might just consider painting over that wallpaper like we did in the guest room.  So having never done this before we did a little research and found that the glue can come off with a 50/50 mixture of hot water and downy.  I armed myself with my sprayer and scraper and away I went!


I sprayed and scraped, and scraped and sprayed.  The floor was slick with Downy (although it did smell fresh and clean!  Behold the fruits of my labor:


We really weren’t getting anywhere.  No matter how much I scraped it still seemed like there was glue everywhere. Sigh.  We went back to the drawing board and came up with a new plan!  We happened to have a wallpaper steamer that we borrowed from a friend.  It was definitely a very wet, 2 man job but it worked so much better!  The glue just melted off and we hardly had to put any effort into scraping!  Yahoo!

After we managed to get all of the glue down, we definitely had some repair to do.  The Mr.’s grandma loved hanging things on the walls, so we had quite a few holes to patch up.  A little bit of spackle, some sanding and a bit of cleaning and the kitchen was back to it’s original useful state, green walls and all.


So that was weekend number 2.  It did take us a fair amount of nap and post bedtime hours to get it all done, but the walls are ready to be painted and primed.  The best part of the weekend?  We spent absolutely nothing on the project.  Zero dollars required.  That’s the kind of weekend project I like!

Have you ever tackled wallpaper?  Any tips for those that want to try?

Until next time …
The girl behind the lama

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