A Wallpaper Nightmare & A Winner

Cheryl W. is our Eco Store Winner.  Congrats Cheryl!  You may choose two items from the Eco Store.  Please email me your choices and mailing address.


We closed on our house Thursday and as I sat in the living room on a folding chair looking around at the paneling and drop ceilings, I experienced a moment of regret.  Not regret for buying the house, because I believe the house has good bones and will become everything we want and need from a house.  My regret was over my knowledge.  You see, ignorance really is bliss.  I knew this house would require work of me.  I’m great with the house requiring work of FringeMan, but I could already feel the blisters starting to bubble on my fingers as I gazed at the walls and wondered what possesses a person to install a drop ceiling in their living room.

Living Room

Living Room

My house, the real skeleton of a house, peered at me through years of cheap decorating mishaps.  For a moment I felt like a child peaking around a slightly cracked door that led to the basement – the place that danced with dark shadows, wrapped trespassers in cobweb blankets, and scurried with live creatures.  I was scared to peel back the layers of time.

FringeMan Begins Living Room Demolition

FringeMan Begins Living Room Demolition

Unlike when you peel an orange to reveal the juicy flesh of the fruit, you just don’t know what to expect when you peel back paneling.  Realtors and homeowners alike frown at prospective buyers doing any demolition work prior to signing in blood on the dotted line.  They are so covert!

walls minus drop ceiling, but clinging to the panelling

walls minus drop ceiling, but clinging to the panelling

They are really just afraid that if you knew there were 5 layers of wallpaper on the walls, you wouldn’t buy the house.  As long as there were walls behind the paper, I’d be happy; however, I had my doubts.  I never realized wallpaper was ever used on  ceilings.  Naively I always thought it was for walls, but these pictures are proof that the ceiling had been papered at least 3 times.

a mess

a mess

I guess I can now say that I’ve walked on the ceiling.  After many hours, blisters, and thoughts in need of repentance, I hit plaster.

living room after panelling and paper

living room after panelling and paper

A modern day girl has never been so happy to see an old world wall.

100_4038Oddly enough I am so much happier with this room now.  I feel as though the cosmetics have been washed away and I am seeing who she really is for the first time.

living room stripped

living room stripped

Don’t hold your breath for after pictures.  Good things take time, patience, and work.  They’ll come eventually.  For now I’m rejoicing in the fact the wallpaper is gone and there are hardwood floors hiding underneath the green carpet.

This is my inspiration.  Seriously I love everything about these designs.  I know I said I didn’t want white, but I warned you I’d change my mind.

Enjoy your day!


29 thoughts on “A Wallpaper Nightmare & A Winner

  1. Erin

    You are brave.

    That is like going back in time to me, when we moved in here. YOu’re doing it right though, ripping it bare to begin with. We did patch and repair and that got us nowhere.

    Love those two windows together like that. I see the potential too. It will be beautiful!

  2. Kristen

    I just find you so cool! I had the privilege of reading your interview for Exemplify already and instantly fell in love with your personality!

    I must wonder what possessed the previous owners to wallpaper the ceiling…never heard of such a thing!

  3. Dani Joy

    My heart got all racing and my palms started to sweat when I saw all that work and all that wall paper.

    I pray it will be worth it all!

  4. Mindy

    I am with Debbie. Seal the plaster walls. Actually, I might stain them first…you can use a white stain…it would be a wash kind of look. Way cool. And I love that inspirational designer. You are going to have so much fun! ~Mindy

  5. Janet

    Congratulations on your new home!

    We had a similar experience moving from California, (where, “wallpaper” may as well be a foreign word) to North Carolina. Were it not for the property that came with the house, we would never have considered buying it. The realtor actually said, “If you can get past the wallpaper I know you’ll see this house and property has everything on your long list of wants” in her pitch to get us to see it.

    Weeks and weeks it took to peel the layers of wallpaper from every single room in the house. I couldn’t believe it! All that work, in August of all months, ON TOP of temps in the 100’s and humidity and mosquitoes – three things not found in Monterey, CA either. Honestly, there were moments I wanted to REPACK the moving van!

    Despite it all, we wouldn’t trade the house now. Today, without her, “make up” as you so well put it, we are delighted by every square inch.

    Keep moving forward… You already know the wonderful rewards that lie ahead for you and your family.

    PS – I can’t wait for your, “after” pictures!

  6. diana/sunshine

    i HATE wallpaper. i’ve had my fair share of taking the nasty stuff down. i don’t envy you at all =)

    i think it’s kinda exciting to start a project such as this. it will be a lot of work but probably worth it in the end. good luck.

  7. Debbie York

    I can see why you chose him as your “inspirational designer”. Your new old house screams for rooms just like that. I can see it all perfectly. I’d be so tempted to seal the walls in just one room for an old villa look. I love peeling plaster, but then I am a little throwed off!
    Another adventure to add to my summer reading list!
    P.S. According to a nut company a filbert and a hazlenut are cousins. Still don’t know what the heck a filbert is and I wish they would quit sticking them in my mixed nuts can!!!

  8. Amber

    Ahhhhhhh how much fun you two will have. 🙂 You’ll look back on these renovating years and miss them. ok, maybe not but you just might. 🙂 I can’t wait to go on the virtual journey with you!

  9. jenn

    Oh. MY! Wow, you guys are really taking on a lot. We’re doing much the same out here – building an addition and pretty much gutting and remodelling the existing house. Equal parts exciting and terrifying, no?

  10. Greenery

    Very nice inspiration! And we ALL know how you are with white paint and a brush! 😉

    Need any walls knocked down? =)

  11. Hat Chick

    Working the wallpaper in Action’s bathroom now. Love that you have the vision to see what the old gal can be. Can’t wait to see what she looks like after her “facelift”.

  12. angie

    Now that you’ve scraped away the layers of old nasty make up, the old gal will shine under your expert hands!!

    We gutted and renovated our old house for 15 years, so I feel for ya…and it was only 50 years old. 🙂

  13. sbplus3

    What a visionary you are. Kudos to you as you proceed on this journey to get the living room you want. The previous owners of our house put wallpaper IN our shower!! IN our shower!! I took it off and under it was the wonderful 60’s lament called mylar ( not really sure how to spell it) We just recently got bath fitter and LOVE it! As you saw on the blog. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  14. Janna Qualman

    Congrats on your new home! I see its potential, too! Our house was much the same, with major gutting required at the get-go, and major overhauling since. We’re almost done! (I won’t tell you how long it’s been. 😉

    And FG, I know I’m not seeing this room in person, but I sort of LOVE those “old world” walls. 😀

  15. robinaltman

    You’re so great at seeing past the superficial coverings, down to the real possibilities. I wish I had that skill! That took a lot of hard work!


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