A Tiny Moment with Big Impact
Drive-By Update

Unraveling . . . a Dining Room

No time for knitting.  No time for stitching.  But plenty of unraveling going on!

When we moved into our house back in 2003, there was late-80s wallpaper in every room.  Heavily patterned.  Lots of mauves and teals.  Everywhere.  I'm sure it was really awesome and trendy back in the day.  But by 2003 it was dated and awful.  

It took a while for Tom and I to be able to look past the wallpaper to see the promise of the layout of the house.  And it took a generous "re-decorating" offer from the former owners to sweeten the pot.  Most of the wallpaper was removed (and carpet replaced) before we even moved in.  But there were three rooms that would have to wait until later -- the master bathroom (described here), the main bathroom upstairs, and . . . the dining room.

But removing wallpaper is such a pain in the . . . neck.  And it's so expensive to have it done professionally.  So we put it off.  And off and off and off.

It's time now, though.  To just power through and git'r'dun!

Here is the dining room just before the wallpaper removal project started last Saturday. . . 


Just a little busy, non?

The wall below the chair rail is painted; the wallpaper and the border above some really lovely crown moulding ON THE CEILING need to be removed, though. (Tom also removed the chair rail yesterday.  No more two-tone dining room.)

I found this product online, thanks to a lead from the guys who did our bathroom renovation project a couple of years ago.  (They used a professional grade product that was very much like this one.)


It really does work as promoted.  It's far less drippy than either soaking the wallpaper down with a sprayer, or using a steamer.  (I've used both methods in past houses.)

You just lightly score the wallpaper (lightly, I learned in my first test area . . . so that you don't damage the drywall underneath), then soak the sheets and stick them to the walls for a while (in my case, it takes about 15 minutes per application).


The wallpaper really does peel off pretty easily . . . most of the time.

Don't get me wrong -- this is still a tedious and frustrating job.  It's a lot of up-and-down on the ladder, and a lot of work.  But the results are coming much easier than my past experiences with wallpaper removal.


And it is so satisfying to rip that paper off the walls!

Even that ceiling border is coming off with less hassle than I expected.  (Although what a pain to work upside down.)  (So much respect to Michelangelo, y'know?)


This morning, I'm faced with the last of it.


One good session this morning, and the wallpaper will be gone.

Just in time for . . . wall prep and priming.  

How about you?  What are you unraveling this week?



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Wow. Cool system! Removal from drywall can be tricky. We have mostly all lathe-and-plaster walls and I bought a steamer for removal -- always felt like I was washing the walls at the same time! It sure was messy. That's going to be quite the transformation (and it'll feel so CALM in there).


That is the job of ALL JOBS!! I can't even imagine the time and effort of getting it done! You are going to LOVE the end result and the end will certainly be worth all the hassle.

Cheryl S.

I *SWEAR* I had a comforter set in the '80s with that exact wallpaper pattern on it.


As bad as wallpaper removal sounds, I'm glad you found a project that makes it easier and you've certainly made lots of progress. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you prepare for my most-hated jobs - wall prep, priming, and painting.


You are so brilliant! I am unraveling my Russian Spy novel... and loving every single word. It is just riveting!


Oh wow! Yes, just a tad on the busy side for sure - lol. That room is going to be so beautiful when you are finished...and a calm place to dine!


Certainly NOT wallpaper!
I really admire your a) living with the wallpaper all these years! Oh, you are a saint! and b) doing the work. I have vivid memories of my parents stripping decades of wall paper from a duplex we lived in when I was 11 , years ago - in the last century! And the smell of wet paper and glue still permeates my memory!
So looking forward to your new dining room! Carry on!


Nice work Kym! Looking forward to seeing where you go from here!


I still crack up every time I remember that we had the same wallpaper in our dining room. And I can't even blame the previous owners because I chose it myself! I can't wait to see your room when it's all finished, here's hoping you can power through and just get it done.


Now that is mega unraveling! You must feel like you are rehanging paper just to remove paper at time. Looking forward to the paint job!


Oh my. We wallpapered back in the day and have removed it all. We did hire the last bit done as it was in a staircase. I decided it was just too precarious to do ourselves. Congratulations on all that hard work. I am sure the finished rooms will be lovely.


Oh, what a job it is to remove and prep those walls. We built a house in 1988 and had some wallpaper installed. Years later when I removed it we had to have the walls re-plastered before we could paint. UGH! You will love your new rooms when it's done.


I still remember staying up all night with my parents shortly after we moved into our NJ home with a rented steamer to strip the wallpaper off the dining room walls (thank goodness there wasn't any on the ceiling!) It was early 1977 - I was 14 - yep, traumatic! Looks like the removal process has improved ... and now I can't wait to see what you're going to do with those space! It looks so bright in that last photo - I'm sure you're loving it already!!


I loved the Michelangelo reference!

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