Wallpaper Sweatshop!

Our house is vintage 1950s. It has great hardwood floors and large rooms for having a relatively small floor plan. When we moved in each room had a wallpapered accent wall. We attacked the “pink” room first. It became an office and then later Sofia’s room. Next was the bathroom; yes, it was wallpapered too. The living room was painted next and then the guest room/office. I am saving the fun rose wallpaper in the kitchen for when we remodel the whole room – there’s no point in jumping into that project until we tear the cabinets and everything else out too.

So, the master bedroom has been my latest wallpaper project. I started removing the paper in June of 2007 when I was awaiting the arrival of Sofia. My theory was: if I started tearing down the wallpaper the baby gods would expedite Sofia’s arrival just so that I would have a have torn-down wall of wallpaper (the goal being to speed up labor). What actually happened is that I was so worn-out after pulling one strip that I didn’t get any farther and it was still two weeks before Sofia was born. Then I was too busy/tired/otherwise occupied to finish the job. This left the wall partially wallpaper free for a year and three months.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I set Sofia up with her little table in our bedroom and got to work removing the two layers of wallpaper. If you’re not familiar with wallpaper removal (you’re lucky!) it doesn’t generally come off in one sheet. It’s been my experience that the newer wallpaper (maybe ‘80s and newer) pattern part comes off and leaves the paper backing. Each of my rooms had at least two, and sometimes three, layers of paper. So, I pulled the top layer then got the paper-backing layer wet and it came off very easily. Then, with the older layer it had to be scored then drenched with water or steamed and scraped off.

Sofia thought this whole process was kind of cool. Here was paper that she could peel and shred and it was okay. I thus had a wallpaper removal helper…sort of a wallpaper removal sweatshop! How often can you draft your 15 month old child for a home improvement project? I doubt I am going to have such an easy time when I paint the room!



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