Wallpaper is an abomination. It’s ugly. It’s repetitive. It’s hard to get off. It’s ugly.
Most rooms in at the Bar B had some sort of wallpaper – it was all very, very old and hideous. Southwest prints with pastel pinks and blues in the master bedroom, duck wallpaper with maroon and green background in the small, non-conforming bedroom, a nondescript print in the second bedroom, two layers of foil wallpaper in one section of the kitchen and two layers in the bathroom. One layer is ugly beige with dots and the under layer is foil.
I’ve been horribly frustrated by the wallpaper here. The duck stuff came off easy enough as well as the nondescript reams. The foil paper was a different story. The second layer, 1970s gold foil took 20 hours to remove and brought me to tears.
Some of the some of the stuff in the bathroom is still there. I’ve scraped and scoured and it’s still there. It’s like the last 10 loyal pounds when you’re trying to diet.
There aren’t many chemicals out there that can remove wallpaper and it has to come off by watering it down and scraping it off. It doesn’t come off in long sheets that can be easily rolled up and carried away. It comes off in fingernail-sized pieces and will take some of your fingernails with it.
At least the wall in the kitchen was smooth; the wall in the bathroom is textured and flat and the wallpaper adheres to the wall like fillings in teeth. Chipping away is slow and frustrating.
I borrowed a friend’s wallpaper remover, a machine that heats water and can be applied to the paper in the hopes of loosening the paper and the paper just gives up. A lot of water ended up on the floor, walls, sink, towels, whatever you’re wearing and anything else left in the bathroom. Most of the paper is gone off the walls but some yahoo decided that the bathroom needed to be a tidy inside-out box and papered the ceiling as well. That paper was placed over a textured, flat-painted surface and most of it is still there. Wallpaper is a double devil that wears two coats and just because the top layer comes off doesn’t mean the bottom “sticky” layer won’t put up a fight. I work on it when I want to hate my life.
Lots of people have advice about dealing with the stuff on the ceiling: Rip out the drywall, sand it down, paint over it, spray fabric softener on it, use heat and water, use toxic chemicals and win! Just get in there and scrape it off.
To me, the wallpaper has been a symbol of the frustration of dealing with this house. A finished home is so close yet so far away. So for now, I continue to scrape away at the dream.