Under the Tuscan Drywall

We tried to pack as much family time into the first half of Saturday as we could, before the kids left (again). We got up early and hit the farmer’s market, we came back home and had pancakes (and bacon! for when you love someone enough to feed them PIG FAT!), and then after we’d finished tidying up and making sure the kids were packed, we were sort of just hanging around.

The way our house is set up, the dining room is between the kitchen and the staircase/family room. That is to say, we walk through it about a billion times a day. At some point on Saturday, I grabbed a corner of the wallpaper in there and gave it a tug. You know, just to see how hard it would be to pull it off. It peeled back pretty easily, so I called to Otto, “Hey, I just figured out what we can do while the kids are gone! We can finally redo the walls in here!”

Otto came into the dining room to discuss this plan with me, and then things get a little fuzzy in my memory, but the next thing I knew, Otto and I were ripping paper off the wall while Monkey stomped it all down in a trash bag.

Some might say this was not an ideal bonding activity before seeing the children off, but those people have never seen an eight-year-old fashion a lightsaber out of a roll of wallpaper. Just sayin’.

Let me just explain something to you about our dining room. We knew, when we moved in, that we’d want to take down that wallpaper. Maybe next year, we told each other, because we’d had to do so many other things right when we’d moved in, and we just weren’t up to it. Well, it’s now next year and I’ve had nearly an entire year to nurture and grow my hatred of what was perpetrated on those walls.

Imagine a room with a chair rail, where the top part of the wall is a textured brown and the bottom party is burgundy. The paint on the bottom is slopped all over the trim, but it’s the top—oh, the humanity!—that’s really the crime. It’s ugly wallpaper, covered by OTHER ugly wallpaper which is starting to curl, covered by PAINT. Further imagine that the paint sports several stains of dubious origin. Wonder how the stains got there, but then STOP WONDERING because you probably don’t want to know. Aaaaaaaaaand you’ve just imagined our dining room! ISN’T IT GREAT?

Well, we knew the painted brown wallpaper was on top of another layer of wallpaper. And because that first layer came off so easily—we pulled it all down it about half an hour—we knew the hard part would be the second layer. Why, I got a corner of it and pulled and it actually ripped up a huge swath of the wallboard, at which point I completely FREAKED OUT and started saying things like “We’re going to texture this wall, anyway, right? Right?? Say it’s okay!”

Anyway, we cleaned up and later the kids left and then Otto and I were sitting around wondering what to do with ourselves. And then because we’re red-blooded Americans we did the only logical thing to do when we found ourselves suddenly childless and with a whole day to ourselves in a big empty house: We went to Lowe’s.

(Before we left, Otto said “Hey, they sent me this coupon for $10 off of $50. Do you think we’ll spend that much?” And that should’ve been my first clue that we were deluded about this project, because I’m fairly certain we have NEVER gotten out of Lowe’s for less than $100.)

So here’s the thing: A while back, Otto and I went to eat at a restaurant where the walls have a heavily-textured Venetian plaster finish. “THIS is what we should do in the dining room!” I’d said to him. The texture was interesting and the color was actually very close to what I was envisioning, anyway—sort of a mottled earthy orange clay kind of thing, which I figured would tonally tie into the next room’s copper wall, too. At the time, when I suggested it to Otto, he agreed that would be great. And part of the reason we both agreed it would be great was specifically because we knew the condition of the walls in the dining room might be less than stellar after we peeled all the paper.

On the drive over to Lowe’s we started talking about texturing, and it soon became clear that I wanted to texture the hell out of the walls, and Otto had rethought things and decided we should go with a faux finish because that room is high-traffic and ACTUAL texture can be broken off by, say, small careening children. I had to admit that he had a point, but it meant that I needed to stop ripping down chunks of of the wall board. Well, fine, I could manage that. And anyway, we were going to look at paint colors.

We were more or less agreed: Something terra cotta-y for the top, and something like a navy blue for the bottom. And then we walked up to the Great Big Wall Of Paint Chips and my brain started to ooze out my ears.

There is no Navy Blue in Valspar paint, in case you were wondering. There is South Marine Blue and Twilight On The North Sea and The Admiral’s Underpants and Long Night of Despair and Baritone Ennui and other things like that, but nothing called Navy. And they are ALL DIFFERENT, and after you look at a few of them you can start to see that yes, this one has a greenish tint, and this one is more purple, and this one just has such a stupid name no self-respecting person would ever purchase it. Otto kept grabbing the chips for things that were really BLUE, and I mean like ROYAL blue rather than navy, and I kept going for things that were more gray. After carrying around two chips for a while, I talked him into the one we ended up buying, which is called (this is the real name, by the way) Fairmont Penthouse Mosaic Blue, because we are FANCY. (Also, I had to look it up online to get the color name right, and some website has it listed amongst its TEALS and I just died. It’s NAVY BLUE.)

Then we went over to the Big Wall Of Faux Finishes to try to figure out what to use, because there’s something called Venetian Plaster that involves making lots an lots of X-shapes with your paintbrush until you die of carpal tunnel, and several other things, and finally we decided on something that’s actually some sort of Faux Stone Somethingorother, which is fine, but then we had to choose COLORS, only now we needed colored GLAZE instead of colored PAINT, and by this time I had a fistful of orangey colors and was whimpering audibly as we tried to select.

Otto was all about the copper-toned colors, like La Porsche Copper and Ye Olde Mexican Hovel, whereas I was more drawn to things like Cheap Clay Planter and Earthy Hippy Dippy, and we couldn’t agree. So we decided to skip the paint for a while, because we have plenty of work to do before we get to that, anyway.

So we moved on and bought a wallpaper scoring tool and a gigantic drum of wallpaper paste remover and some wallpaper scraping thingies and some other things we needed, and $200 later we were back home again.

Sunday after church we decided to really get to work. So I set about scoring and spraying and the real fun began. Oh, hey. GUESS WHAT! Remember how we’d already taken down a (painted) layer of paper and we were now working to remove the paper underneath? Guess what’s underneath THAT layer! If you guessed ANOTHER LAYER OF PAINTED WALLPAPER, you win a prize! Your prize is that you get to come over here to the house and SHOOT ME IN THE HEAD, because honestly, will I NEVER learn??

After about three hours of scoring, spraying, scraping, and swearing (the four essential Ss in wallpaper removal!), Otto suggested we simply tear out the walls and install all new drywall. And he wasn’t kidding. I’m afraid I had to slice his jugular with my scraper, and I will miss him, but the good news is that the blood all over the floor made me more convinced that the walls need to have some red/pink tone to them….

My dreams of a Tuscan dining room are fast fading. Now I am merely hoping for a room that still has walls when we’re done. Of course, if that happens, then I have to pick a paint color for them. Do you think I should go with Roasted Pumpkin Innards or Arizona Roadkill? I can’t decide.

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70 Responses to “Under the Tuscan Drywall”

  1. 1
    Beachgal June 9, 2008 at 8:40 am #

    Stories like this are why I hate home improvement.

  2. 2
    Megan June 9, 2008 at 8:50 am #

    Let’s see. It’s been about five years since I watched any of those home-remodelly type shows (except for This Old House and that doesn’t count unless you live on the coast and have a bajillion dollars and a bearded god in flannel) but I’m pretty sure that at this point you’re either supposed to staple moss all over one wall and call it “earthy,” or put layers of brown paper bag everywhere and it’s “rustic.” Then I think you dip lots of vegetables in plaster of paris and hang ‘em from your chandelier.

  3. 3
    Kim June 9, 2008 at 8:56 am #

    The Admiral’s Underpants! You made me snort out loud at work!
    Kim (who’s kitchen renovation has been going on for 1 1/2 years and finally picked a paint color: Heaven’s Dream. How’s that for ironic?)

  4. 4
    suburbancorrespondent June 9, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    Um…Otto’s right. Tear down the drywall and put in new. Or were you just mad because he hadn’t suggested that 3 hours earlier? I would have been.

  5. 5
    suburbancorrespondent June 9, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    I like the Tuscany theme, though. Pretty. If you ever get there…

  6. 6
    Deva June 9, 2008 at 9:09 am #

    We’re painting an apartment. When both of us work full-time and one has business trips EVERY WEEK until move-in.

    Guess who gets to stand on a step-ladder in the TEENY half bath tonight?

    Uh-huh, if you guessed me, ,you’re right!

  7. 7
    Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck June 9, 2008 at 9:11 am #

    Ok, I did this VERY thing in my dining room. And we did a faux finish instead of texturing for the very reason Otto stated. Here is what we used: Behr paint called Pumpkin Toast for the paint color, and then a glaze (Possibly also Behr, but possibly not) called Burnt Sienna for the faux finish. It took NO TIME to do the Xs for the faux finish–literally the whole room took 45 minutes (although it was a fairly small room). And it came out awesome. I loved it and got comments on it all the time. Then we moved a year later and I have to start all over on the new house. But anyway, that color combo looks really nice and Tuscan-y (totally a word), just so you know!

  8. 8
    Kris June 9, 2008 at 9:12 am #

    I vote for Roasted Pumpkin Innards! Of course we’re a wee bit twisted over here.

    And just think – after removing all those layers of wallpaper, which will likely equal about 6″ on each wall at the rate you’re going, and you can fit in that new buffet table you’ve been wanting after all.

  9. 9
    Daisy June 9, 2008 at 9:14 am #

    Our home improvement projects always take on this tone. Our home was built in 1890, so nothing is ever square, and the two-by-fours are actually 2 inches by 4 inches. Add to that the idea that the studs are all in weird place because of previous projects by previous owners…. anyway, I feel your pain.

  10. 10
    dad June 9, 2008 at 9:16 am #

    Have you ever considered becoming VP for Color Appellatiions for a paint company. With names like these sales would sore (I did that on purpose) and poetry would be introduced into home decorating.
    My favorite was the Admiral’s Underpants too.

    You might make big bucks!

  11. 11
    Em June 9, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    I am still having nightmares about wallpaper removal from 3 years ago. I will offer you this: my son’s room had wallpaper on top of panelling on top of wallpaper on top of painted wallpaper. It was never ending. The wall should have been about 9 inches thick. I feel your pain is what I am saying.

    My husband, when it came time for him to do a room, did drywall over the mess, which actually DID make the walls extra thick. He “fixed” it by adding crown mouldings so you couldn’t see the gap at the ceiling. Somehow it seemed like less work to be building onto something than scraping away years worth of someone else’s idea of decorating.

    Good luck with the faux finish!

  12. 12
    Deputy's Wife June 9, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    Mir, thank you for this post. Now I know I am not the only one that starts a home improvement project and ends up with a major renovation.

    I curse the people who paint over wallpaper, along with the people who use concrete block as a retaining wall. (I had to throw in my own curse in there too, ya know.)

    You know it’s bad for us when we walk into our local hardware store and the clerk starts laughing.

  13. 13
    Teresa June 9, 2008 at 9:31 am #

    Rent a steamer from your local hardware store. IT WILL MAKE WALL PAPER REMOVAL 100% easier! I PROMISE! We suffered through rooms and rooms of wallpaper. My father said, why don’t you rent a steamer. We did! OH MY WORD! I cried! I was done with a room of horrible wall paper in two hours!

  14. 14
    Sharon June 9, 2008 at 9:36 am #

    I knew where this was going from the beginning because we remodeled our old house from top to bottom and found “surprises” in every room. Home remodeling is like childbirth ~ by the time the next project rolls around you’ve forgotten all the pain and just remember the wonderful end product.

  15. 15
    Jamie AZ June 9, 2008 at 9:53 am #

    Ugh, our first house had nasty wallpaper that was so hard to remove, too. Five rooms of it… You’ll be pleased in the end, even if it doesn’t seem like it!

  16. 16
    Tammy June 9, 2008 at 9:55 am #

    I agree with Teresa…rent a steamer. I realize that this might not be the most fun you’ve had during a GA summer, but it’s worth it. Trust me.

    However, if the rental stores in GA don’t carry wallpaper steamer (because why would anyone want to add even more humidity to the air), let me know. I’ll ship you one from MN. ;)

  17. 17
    Sara June 9, 2008 at 9:59 am #

    Admiral’s Underpants was hilarious, but my favorite was Baritone Ennui. I vote for Cheap Clay Pot because I am cheap. The only thing that would cap it for me would be tinkering with the spelling, like Cheape Klay Potte. Beacause that annoys the sh** outta me.
    I feel your pain. I hate wallpaper. I hate removing wallpaper. Wallpaper will be a deal-breaker in purchasing our next home. Da** wallpaper.

  18. 18
    Jenn June 9, 2008 at 10:00 am #

    I think we should start a new paint company with better names. You’ve clearly got a gift for it. What color IS Arizona Roadkill?

    I’ve learned that all home projects involve 1 extra trip to the hardware store, one return (not necessarily in that trip) and learning one new thing about your house. Oh, and many, many bad words.

  19. 19
    jennielynn June 9, 2008 at 10:23 am #

    You’re right. Swearing is an essential part of removing wall paper. Imagine a hugely pregnant 34 year old, removing an entire room’s worth of wood grain wall paper (WTF?) and finding a map patterned paper underneath. That was apparently put on using vast tubs of superglue. Holy F’ing Sh*& Bombs thrown by furry flying angels.

  20. 20
    All Adither June 9, 2008 at 10:26 am #

    Ha Ha. Navy Blue. You simpletons. (And I mean that in the nicest possible way because I think I love you and your family) (And I mean that in the least stalkerish way possible because I’m quite normal)

  21. 21
    Rachel June 9, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    I had to google the color you chose and maybe it’s just my screen- but it is definitely a beautiful shade of dark teal. But I love it no matter what it is- it’s gonna look awesome!!

  22. 22
    Aimee June 9, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    Roasted Pumpkin Innards, clearly. Arizona Roadkill is not a dining room color, Silly!

  23. 23
    Amy-Go June 9, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    That sounds ALMOST as much fun as what I did this weekend…which was sealing umpteen leaking cracks in my basement with silicon, cleaning gutters two stories up in 50 mph wind gusts, installing 800 pounds of fill around the foundation outside the basement window, and whimpering loudly during the torrential downpour that followed. All in the name of a dry playroom. Did I mention that we STILL don’t have a buyer for the house? I wonder why…

  24. 24
    Steve June 9, 2008 at 11:00 am #

    How about putting beadboard OVER the drywall/ wallpaper/ paint. Then you could stain or paint. I know Otto would like a new nail gun and air compressor…

    Don’t worry, if Otto can get drywall onto my warped walls, a house built with normal 2x4s will be a breeze.

  25. 25
    Tara June 9, 2008 at 11:01 am #

    Oh Lordy!!! I am considering painting this summer, and the thought of making color choices causes seizures and uncontrollable emotional outbursts. Not good in the middle of Lowe’s paint section. Let’s just say I feel your pain! And yes, you should definitely start your own collection of colors… I love the thought of Arizona Roadkill!

  26. 26
    Lylah June 9, 2008 at 11:01 am #

    “…Something terra cotta-y for the top, and something like a navy blue for the bottom…”

    Are you going for Alma Mater colors on purpose? :)

  27. 27
    Lisa June 9, 2008 at 11:06 am #

    Go with the roadkill!!

  28. 28
    Dani June 9, 2008 at 11:10 am #

    Are you SURE you aren’t living in my house? Because I distinctly recall having that identical meltdown in EVERY SINGLE EFFING ROOM in this house. When we moved in the first room we did was our bedroom. After 4 layers of wallpaper (two of them painted over multiple times) we encountered ARMY GREEN wallpaper that would not come off. No matter what we did. It was permanently adhered to the walls. Being piss poor broke and not able to afford a drywall job, we did the logical thing. We spackled and sanded the seams and holes, then painted it like it was a sheet rocked wall!

    As for the rest of the Evil Wallpapered Rooms, they’ve all been totally ripped out one by one as we’ve redone them. Sigh.

    I agree about the texture being chipped off. We’ve been discussing that for our hallway for years. You know, the hallway with the wheat grass wallpaper.

  29. 29
    Lisa June 9, 2008 at 11:18 am #

    A wallpaper steamer is definitely the way to go. We got one at Home Depot for $50 and it was worth every penny even if there was only one small bedroom in our old condo that had wallpaper. We first tried the spray on stuff and had been working at it all day. After using up the whole bottle on half a wall with no luck we decided to go back and splurge on the steamer. The rest of the room was done in about 30 minutes. We had primer on the walls that night and paint done that next morning. It was glorious.

  30. 30
    AmyM June 9, 2008 at 11:47 am #

    Oh no! This makes me rethink the house we want to buy. It’s going to need some work and hearing this makes me just want to rent forever.

  31. 31
    carolyn June 9, 2008 at 11:50 am #

    I have nothing to add to this conversation. 4 years ago, I began a “weekend” project to tear down wall paper in my hall bath and paint the walls underneath. 4 years later, some of the wallpaper is down. That is all I’ll say at this time. I may go rent a wall paper steamer…..

  32. 32
    Mom24 June 9, 2008 at 12:08 pm #

    I am empathizing. We redid our house last year, and the wallpaper removal was definitely one of the worst parts. And, we had put the wallpaper up, so it was done “right”, sized, etc., so I knew it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Good luck. We used cheap fabric softener mixed with super hot water in a spray bottle. It did make it much easier.

    BTW, we venitianed the kitchen, and it does not have as much phycial texture as I thought it would. Definitely nothing that could be broken off or anything. It does have a lot of physical texture though, and I love it! FYI, the painter swears by the BEHR venitian at Home Depot. She used Benjamin Moore top of the line paint for everything else, but will only use the BEHR venetian.

  33. 33
    Velma June 9, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    See? Now you understand why people just paint over the wallpaper, right?

    I got one room like this done in our old house (scored, steamed, ripped, only to find some previous owner had damaged the wallboard underneath with an exacto knife trying no doubt to remove wallpaper) and then – YES I DID – I painted over the wallpaper in the living room. It turned out great, actually.

  34. 34
    Karly June 9, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    We had similar issues in our dining room, only ours was the ceiling. You know those (really horribly ugly) ceiling tiles? We decided to take those down and, because drywalling is EVIL AND BAD, put up these gorgeous whitewashed board looking things that sound weird for a ceiling, but are GORGEOUS. Anyway, my husband was trying to take the old tiles down and after BEATING at them with a hammer and a chisel and who knows what else for over an hour decided to just GLUE the new ceiling on to the old ceiling because the old ceiling just WOULD NOT COME DOWN NO MATTER WHAT. Seriously. It was like tile coated in clear cement or something. So, yes, I feel your pain. Anyway, maybe try GLUING something to your walls? Worked for our celing. ;)

  35. 35
    Diane June 9, 2008 at 12:17 pm #

    Ugh – wallpaper removal. There is nothing worse.

    I’m surprised Lowe’s wanted to sell you a tinted glaze – the wall treatments I’ve done used a separate, untinted glaze you mixed with paint and water. My living room is rag-rolled – ironically enough, inspired by the bedroom walls in the movie Under the Tuscan sun.

    Ragging covers a lot of flaws (I have 80 year old plaster walls) but cannot be broken off by small children.

    Although, all things considered, Otto may be right about starting over.

  36. 36
    Vanda June 9, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    We just stripped the wallpaper in our living room. I LOVE stripping wallpaper. And we’re going to put up more and then paint it. OMG paint colours drive me mad. We have to have light colours because our living room is only 10 x 13. I’m going to go blind looking at paint chips and paint cans to find a colour I like and living deep in the country our choice of DIY shops is limited unless we drive for an hour or so. Our gas is just over $10.00 a gallon we’re not doing that anytime soon.

    Arizona roadkill is so last year:-)

  37. 37
    LiteralDan June 9, 2008 at 12:40 pm #

    I say at this point, just tear it all down and rebuild the house the way you like– you’re halfway there, so it’s not much more work. Right?

  38. 38
    BethR June 9, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    We had similar issues in our kitchen – wallpaper stuck directly to our drywall that I could not scrape, peel, or steam off. What we wound up doing was getting a guy in to put a fresh coat of drywall mud right over the old wallpaper. He put on one coat, let it sit overnight, then came back and flattened any bubbles, sanded, second coat of mud, repeat one more time – and it came out great, like a fresh clean new wall. We then painted over it and it’s been two years and it still looks wonderful, we’ve had no problems with new bubbles. Best money we ever spent, but someone who was confident enough with drywall mud could do this himself.

  39. 39
    Heather June 9, 2008 at 1:28 pm #

    Ummm…I really hate to tell you this but I could have saved you ohhh about $195.00. My father-in-law is a professional wallpaper hanger and painter and he says that the spray is ok BUT Windex (YES WINDEX) works better especially in your case where there are layers upon layers. Sorry…..

  40. 40
    Jenny June 9, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    The steamer saved our lives (and possibly our marriage) but even it couldn’t quite tame the horrible old vinyl (?) wallpaper (?) that had been glued directly to the drywall without primer. It made it easier, sure, but only marginally so. So we used tons of drywall mud to fill in the giant rips and tears and rough spots and after about 224 layers of that (with sanding in between — the HORROR) it looks like new drywall! And then I made my husband swear a blood oath that we would NEVER have wallpaper in ANY house of ours, EVER. Because I am NEVER doing that again. Should have just torn the walls out and started over.

    I am so disappointed that you didn’t go with Admiral’s Underpants.

  41. 41
    Sasha June 9, 2008 at 1:37 pm #

    The people who lived in your house must have lived in mine or had relatives that lived in mine.

    EVERYTIME I work on my house it’s always something. I’ve been ripping up carpet to put in new flooring and even though it’s a job in itself they made it even more delightful by stapling the carpet padding to the subfloor.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if they have stapled corners and sides only but oh no, they had to staple right next to eachother and they couldn’t lay out the whole pad they had to cut it into segments. So I took roughly 200 staples out of a 4×4 patch of padding like 50 times already. Ick!

    I don’t even want to talk about the bathroom project.

    I can safely say I feel your pain.

  42. 42
    marymuses June 9, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    Oh, how I feel your pain. In our bedroom, the previous owners not only painted over wallpaper, but also put a thin layer of plaster texturing over some of it. I think that they were probably thinking that if they put texture over the painted wallpaper, no one would ever be able to tell that there was wallpaper under there. Uh, no. It just means that it’s even MORE obvious when the edges of the wallpaper start to curl up. Ugh.

  43. 43
    Shalee June 9, 2008 at 1:52 pm #

    I’m not listening! I’m not listening! We move into our new house next month and we’re all about painting a few rooms. Mr. Right and I can’t agree on the colors, but I’m hoping that he’ll grow weary of my choice and just give in sooner or later.

    And you did know that you can take the wallpaper off with just water or a water/fabric softener mix right? I’ve done it three times and it saved us moolah galore.

  44. 44
    Mother of Two June 9, 2008 at 1:55 pm #

    I think the wall paper steamer can be a good idea… however, we had a house that had years of wallpaper, paint, wallpaper, paint, wall… you get the idea… when we used the steamer… guess what.. like you, it ripped the drywall…
    So, we went with texturing… I’m still paying for the therapy on that one!

    I love the idea, I am just so happy it is you and not me! One hint I will give you, liquid fabric softener – diluted, in a spray bottle, will bring down wall paper quite easily…

    Mother of Two
    Good Luck!

  45. 45
    Lori June 9, 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    F’in wallpaper. I am from the school of thought that wallpaper is a hanging offense. (Sorry, bad pun not intended.) I got the first layer of wall paper off in the master bath, but the kids’ bathroom defeated me. After living with peeling shapes in there for over a year I broke down and had painters come in remove every stitch of wallpaper in the house, repair the walls & repaint. Yes, I am still paying for that – and likely will be until my kids are in college, but at least I don’t have nightmares of floral wallpaper eating my family anymore. It was that bad.

    But you have fun Mir!

  46. 46
    Anna Marie June 9, 2008 at 2:18 pm #

    I would rather drink bleach than strip wallpaper. I have sworn NEVER to buy another house with any sort of wallpaper on the walls. EVER.

  47. 47
    elizabeth June 9, 2008 at 2:29 pm #

    Oh man, and I had enough trouble painting a white wall in our apartment. You’re really talking me out of homeownership.

  48. 48
    Therese June 9, 2008 at 3:37 pm #

    We did the Venetian plaster from Lowes in our living room, and it does look great. Downside, it did take us six hours to do three walls full of Xs and such (and this was only the glaze; the base coat was already done). But I will tell you from experience that it does cover a world of sin. We have had three relatives and one customer mimic our walls’ finish (hubby is a contractor).

  49. 49
    SoMo June 9, 2008 at 3:40 pm #

    I would help you by sending you the colors of our faux finish, but magically they have disappeared from my very organized notebook that we used when we started redoing our house. And when my husband asked me to find the colors, because you know when you ask people to put in new windows they totally screw up the wall surrounding your window, I never found them which resulted in a huge loving argument in front of the owner of the window company and some painters. Then I killed my husband because he wanted to painted the whole room and finally get the texture he has always wanted and continues to complain about whenever we go to an Italian restaurant. Then I killed myself at the thought of more workers in my house and their mess. We held hands in death forever. The End.

  50. 50
    Pictou June 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm #

    Arizona Roadkill? Of course, but you should look closer to home. Alabama specializes in roadkill and has some truly appetizing colors. Instead of Pumpkin innards, think Possum innards.

  51. 51
    Sheila June 9, 2008 at 4:15 pm #

    The fifth essential S in wallpaper removal: Soreness. I bet you’re feeling it today. I remember it well.

  52. 52
    The Other Other Dawn June 9, 2008 at 5:22 pm #

    “The Admiral’s Underpants and Long Night of Despair and Baritone Ennui…”

    LOLZ! ROF LOLZ!

    I, too, have fought the good fight against bad wallpaper. My bedroom currently sports lovely wallpaper only because I could face the 4 S’s no longer, gave up and wallpapered over the heinous paper that was already there.

    The removal of the wallpaper on the stairwell to the basement? A work in progress. With very small values for progress…

    I think the Roasted Pumpkin Innards sounds delightful.

  53. 53
    colleen June 9, 2008 at 5:25 pm #

    Tearing out the walls and redoing the drywall is exactly what we did in two upstairs bedrooms after the wallpaper in one room was in layers, and peeling it off peeled off the top of the drywall; and the other room had wallpaper removed, and then the room was painted and the paint was coming off in chips.

    What fun it is to move into houses where the previous owners loved wallpaper, and lots of it.

  54. 54
    Flea June 9, 2008 at 7:00 pm #

    I’m going through the same thing with my dining room wall. Ripped off the top layer easily before carpet install and moving in. Spent the next two days cursing at the second layer and bits of wallboard which came up with it. When it came up at all. I left much of the second layer and textured it with spackle, then scraped the sharp edges off. And only the top two thirds of the wall. The bottom will be bead board. Seriously considering bead board for the entire freakin’ wall.

  55. 55
    Astrogirl426 June 9, 2008 at 8:02 pm #

    Oh, hon, only you could make removing wallpaper sound fun.

    Well ok, not fun, but definitely pretty entertaining.

    You have actually done me quite a service. Now, when people come over to the Bunker and look around at the unfinished drywall and the cement floors, and ask us how long we’ve been living her (5 years!) and why we haven’t finished it, I can give them a copy of your blog post and they will totally, completely understand. Of course, you will be generously compensated for each copy we distribute – after all, you need to start that legal defense fund for when they find Otto’s mangled body buried under the garden out back…

    Oh and hey, yeh, about the plaster texture thingy? Ummm…..you should definitely look into exactly what-all that entails, because my understanding was that it involves so much work and so many steps that ripping down the drywall and replacing it wholesale might start to look good. Just sayin. ;)

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    Astrogirl426 June 9, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    Oh, and because you’re not homicidal enough right now – I’m playing a new game called What Will It Take To Drive Mir Over The Edge – Home Edition – I have to agree with the reader who noted that the blue you picked is, well, um, TECHnically, not navy blue and is actually in the teal family. BUT (and this is a BIG BUT – hah! I kill me!) it is MUCH MUCH MUCH nicer than the navy blue they have (for reference, it’s called Ultra Premium Homecoming Blue (#4009-9)). And did I mention how lovely you’re looking? Did you do something new with your hair? It’s adorable! And your shoes…!! … please don’t hurt me.

    I also like your color names – much more descriptive and indicative of what the actual color is. I’m always having surreal conversations like this: “So what color did you paint the living room?” “Oh, we painted it South Sea Paradise.” “Yeh, but what color?” And then our heads both explode.

    I also vote for Possum Innards. Or, for those with garden pest problems like mine, Woodchuck innards. I’m thinking a lovely pinky-brown.

  57. 57
    Gaslight June 9, 2008 at 10:00 pm #

    Last summer my brother-in-law, the general contracor, moved in while he refurbed our bathroom and kitchen. From March until SEPTEMBER. Sigh.
    With the rock colors of slate and granite, I thought painting the kitchen a dark-purple, eggplant type shade would look all classy. It does- but he name made it a hard sell- Quixotic Plum. I kid you not.

  58. 58
    Zee June 9, 2008 at 10:32 pm #

    Dry-walling isn’t so bad… is it? At least then you’d have a fresh clean slate to start with… (I helped my stepdad put up the walls in our daylight basement one summer – the hardest part was holding the darned stuff up while he put in the screws. Oh, and then the joint compound… forgot about that. And the priming. :-P Okay maybe not… )

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    Chris June 9, 2008 at 11:41 pm #

    All I’m gonna say to that post is that I’ve had a few “shitty” days lately and you rock! I needed me some laughs. You are too funny for words. I’m just sayin’!

  60. 60
    Lady M June 10, 2008 at 1:49 am #

    The reason why I was dead set on leaving work only a short time (read two days) before giving birth: If I spent any more idle time in the house, I would have attacked our wallpaper and left our kitchen/dining room as a big mess. The paper isn’t awful, but isn’t what I’d choose.

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    Cele June 10, 2008 at 2:11 am #

    you are the next Erma Bombeck.

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    mommytherobot June 10, 2008 at 9:47 am #

    god good for you for getting the walls done! we’ve been trying to THREE years ago, and our daughter is doing us the favor by ripping the ugly wallpaper out piece by piece. its almost like a work of art.

  63. 63
    tori June 10, 2008 at 10:40 am #

    I did venetian plaster in two rooms of my house. I thought my arms were going to fall off! But the walls do look very pretty now.

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    Laura June 10, 2008 at 1:33 pm #

    Baritone Ennui may be the best thing ever. I will be laughing about that all day…

  65. 65
    Stephanie June 10, 2008 at 6:02 pm #

    Having renovated a 21,000 sf warehouse, and having lived to tell about it, I can honestly say that I have *never* had to remove wallpaper. You have both my sympathy and my admiration. :-)

    I’m going to send you a pic of the wallpaper in my 1/2 bath. I am thinking of painting over it…are you saying that is a bad idea? lol

  66. 66
    Joanne June 11, 2008 at 7:59 am #

    After taking off at least a half inch of layers on the walls, have you suddenly realized how much bigger your room suddenly has become? Weird, huh?

  67. 67
    shannon June 11, 2008 at 4:09 pm #

    you must post more pictures! you keep linking to the “copper wall” but it isn’t a picture, and i asked you back then to post a pic. i want to see what you’re talking about. i’m not angry, i just have a headache, sorry, but i want to see the copper wall =(

  68. 68
    Jenn June 13, 2008 at 12:05 pm #

    We stripped the wallpaper in our tiny bathroom when we moved into this house and stripped wallpaper in the kitchen and stairwell the next year. I am now convinced that wallpaper is the tool of the devil.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Woulda Coulda Shoulda » Link-a-dink-a-doo - June 14, 2008

    [...] This weekend I’m off to battle the dining room walls again. Pray for me. Posted by Mir @ 11:00 am   [...]

  2. Woulda Coulda Shoulda » There’s a hole in the bucket, Dear Otto - June 18, 2008

    [...] And as you know, that started off really well. [...]

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