When the Walls Come Tumblin’ Down…

Well, actually the wallpaper. The walls have withstood over 200 years holding up this house so I surmise their demise is still quite distant.

This past week, since Julie had a well-deserved week off of work (she works so hard, damn it, she deserves more!) and the boys were firmly ensconced at their Dad’s house hither, we finally decided to tackle the living room walls.

Old Wallpaper

Old Wallpaper

Here is how the wallpaper appeared before we embarked on this arduous task. There were actually two layers of wallpaper, and the first wallpaper design was actually quite pleasing. Here’s a close-up of it.

The Two Layers

The Two Layers

If the top layer had peeled off easily, we would have been quite pleased to leave the first layer as is. What do you think?

But it was not to be. At times, only mere shreds were held between our hands. It was a bonanza when a few great sheaths sloughed off the walls, long curls that revealed bruised and battered walls.

Wallpaper removed, with spackle.

Wallpaper removed, with spackle.

Wallpaper gone.

Wallpaper gone.

I know. It looks as though we had repaired holes from a fusillade of bullets. I must admit it does appear as a war zone.

In some areas, horsehair was visible. It was not until we had scraped away the last vestige of wallpaper did we deign to peruse the internet to see if there were any health hazards involved when removing decades-old wallpaper attached to plaster and horsehair.

After the fact, we found out that there was a possibility of encountering anthrax spores. What great news! I suppose we should have been wearing masks the whole time. But since a few days have passed, and we’ve primed and first-coated the walls, and the fact that we are still standing, I guess we managed to avoid that hideous disease.

These next pics are of the bare walls, warts and all, and the first coat of primer, and the end result with a nice layer of tan. There are so many pockmarks and gouges and cracks in the walls that we must add another coat.

Craters and crevices...

Craters and crevices…



First coat of paint.

First coat of paint.

First cot again...

First coat again…

But still, despite the unevenness of the surface, it adds a certain old world charm to it, as though these walls have been around for centuries. Well, more than the two centuries they have endured, I should say.

Next in line, the kitchen. Here is how the kitchen appears now, with its mustard color and red wallpaper.



...and here.

…and here.

The paper is coming down, more tan paint will grace the walls, and a nice light green will coat the cupboards. (It is amazing, though, how many people prefer the way it looks now.)

Oh, and here are a couple of photos of the dining room walls. I had to show you these. Now you can understand why we switched the dining and living rooms.

Stenciled Room

Stenciled Room



...and one more.

…and one more.

It seems that when the owner scraped away the wallpaper he found these original hand-painted stencils. Under no circumstances does he want us to paint over it. Our twelve year old refers to this room as the one filled with smiley faces. (I suppose they somewhat look like that; to me, they appear as funerary boats you see on Egyptian hieroglyphs, the kind used to ferry a pharaoh to his final resting place.)

When we do venture into the kitchen for demolition, we’ll be sure to don masks. After all, Julie and I certainly do not want to encounter the effects of that pesky Bacillus anthracis.

That, and a nuclear bomb can ruin your entire day.

Drop me a line. Let me know your thoughts on both rooms.

Should the kitchen stay as it is?

Coming soon: More Dog Daze of…Summer!, and our Trip to Rhode Island. Stay tuned!


©Paul Grignon, 2013, All Rights Reserved.


2 responses to “When the Walls Come Tumblin’ Down…

  1. Dear Paul,

    Did you say, Julie had a week “off” – don’t get me wrong but I reckon she would have had more rest back at work 🙂

    You’re right. The living room looked like someone went over it with a machine pistol. But you guys have done a great job of it.

    Man, sure looks like alot of work – yet to go.

    The possibility of encountering “anthrax spores” – that’s chilling.

    Well, I’m no expert in house re modelling but do take care – keep safe.

    Peace and blessings,

    • Dear Eric,

      Yeah, you’re quite right; Julie WOULD have had more rest at work! 🙂 She worked her tail off on her week off, poor girl. (She is a love.)

      A lot more work ahead, indeed! We just started in on our son’s room, and the wallpaper will NOT come off. It seems the walls are part plaster, part drywall, and neither were primed prior to wallpapering. Ugh.

      I think we’ll just do the one wall and paint over the rest. I’ve got more important things to do than slave over a hideous, unforgiving surface.

      We’ll be sure to watch out for any alien spores lurking in the remainder of the house…

      Thank you, as always, for the nice comment, Eric. I appreciate it. Oh, and kudos to you for all the fine replies to your latest post at Written Words Never Die (or ericalagan.net) a place where readers should go every day.

      Take care, and warm wishes,

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