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3.27.2014

Wallpaper Removal Tool Arsenal

Hello!

After reading your comments on my master bathroom wallpaper removal project, I think the general consensus is that this task is one of the most hated DIY jobs out there.  I also believe there is BIG money to be made out there for the genius that comes up with a wallpaper removal product that makes wallpaper magically fall off the walls.  Wouldn't that be amazing?

So, until that happens, I'm going to offer my tools of the trade, since I consider myself a bit of a veteran.  There are some products out there that can make it a bit easier.


First, score your walls with the wallpaper scorer, so that there is a way for the removal solution to get behind the wallpaper and start to work its magic.  As for a good removal solution, I know there are a lot of different wallpaper removal sprays to help ease the pain, but honestly, I've found that hot water combined with Downy or vinegar usually does the trick.  The vinegar is good for especially difficult wallpaper.  I gave a friend a surprise bathroom makeover years ago, and got her stubborn 70's wallpaper backing off with the aid of vinegar.  It doesn't smell as lovely as Downy, but it gets the job done.

Before:

After:

The worst part of the process is when your wallpaper just doesn't want to come off the walls.  Anyone who has removed it, is familiar with scenes like this:
Isn't this the worst?  Little teeny tiny pieces of wallpaper coming off the walls instead of nice big sheets of wallpaper, coming down with the greatest of ease.

That's where the Piranha razor scraper comes in handy - it scrapes away all of those little pieces of wallpaper backing that are left behind in the removal process.  It is a must have tool, I tell you.

Another must-have tool that I have found tremendously useful is the Piranha Wallpaper Sponge.  (FYI - I'm not getting paid by Piranha, I just have had great luck with their tools).

The sponge is fantastic for removing the residual glue and small pieces of wallpaper backing that will inevitably remain on your walls, in spite of your valiant efforts to remove them.  This two sided sponge works overtime.  One side is the regular sponge, to wet the wall, and the other side is a scrubber, helping to get rid of all of that gunk so that you're left with a clean surface.

Once you've gotten all of the wallpaper off the walls, you will inevitably have some wall patching to do.  (If you don't, I want to know HOW.)  The product you need to use to repair the walls, depends on how damaged they are.  If it's just a surface level gouge, you can use the Drydex Spackle.
However, if you have torn down into the cardboard looking layer of the drywall, you need to bring in drywall compound.  
If you try to use the spackle, it will just get the cardboard layer wet, which ends up bubbling and is not a good situation (I'm speaking from experience here).  The drywall compound will repair the damage without bubbling, so you'll be able to sand it smooth.  This process is time consuming, but important, since you want your walls to look as smooth as possible before priming and painting them (unless you're daring enough to put up more wallpaper after surviving this ordeal).

Speaking of priming, this is a MUST.  The primer acts as a sealer to any glue or backer paper that remains on the wall, and gives you a solid foundation for painting.  I'm taking my cue from Kris at Driven by Decor, and suggesting the Zinsser Allprime primer for dealing will previously wallpapered walls.
I didn't include this in my collage o'products, but when you finally get to holy grail point of this process - where you get to paint - I highly recommend using Benjamin Moore's Aura line of paints, in a matte finish.  

Yes, I said matte finish.  It hides any remaining imperfections in the walls, plus the Aura paint is scrub-able, and allows for seamless touch ups.  Seriously, you can touch up this paint, and it just melts right in - you don't even notice it.  It's what I used in my husband's office after a nightmarish wallpaper removal project.

Now, I know I've left out the mother of all wallpaper removal tools - the steamer.  
Steamer - Home Depot - $49.95

Honestly, I've never used one.  Maybe I should have, given all of the wallpaper I've had to deal with in this house, but it's been manageable (albeit not enjoyable) with the arsenal of tools that I've listed here.  Although if I had layers of wallpaper to remove, I might think twice.  And heck, this one is only $49.95 - who knew?

Did I miss any tools that you have found helpful in this arduous process that is the bane of my existence?  Do share!

3.24.2014

Instant Gallery Wall

Hello!

I hope you had a fabulous weekend and are ready to face a new week.  Ours was great, and the highlight for me was seeing The University of Dayton (my alma mater) go to the Sweet 16.  And here is a shot of the celebration on campus that night (affectionately named "The Ghetto"):


Reminds me of when I was there and we advanced in the NCAA tournament.  Good times.

Back to reality here.  You may remember over the holidays that I created a(nother) chalkboard wall in my basement.  I made use of a nook that was just sitting there, waiting to be filled.

Ok, I thought I had a photo of this nook over the holidays, but evidently not.  So maybe I never even told you about this project.  Old age is terrible, isn't it?

Well, here it is as part of a montage of the niches throughout my home - it's the niche in the top left photo.  The long skinny one that resides in my basement.

Over the holidays, I had created the word JOY, with a wreath as the "O".  Something along these lines, except my wreath was a green one - but you get the idea.

So, I finally took that down, and decided to fill the space with some family photos, gallery wall style.

See, you can even see the "Y" from my "JOY" project.

It's fun because you can change out the pictures on a whim, and update them with new ones.  This week we're celebrating the birthday of my second son - he's turning 13, which means I'll have not one, but two teens in the house.

He's still sweet right now, and hasn't hit his teen stride yet.  His voice is still that of a young boy - I'm waiting for his Peter-Brady-Time-to-Change phase to strike.  I'm not ready for it yet!

3.20.2014

Real Estate Stalking

Hello!

It's no secret that even though I have no intention of moving, I am still an avid real estate stalker.  Every now and then I find one that just speaks to me, and I thought I'd share one that I stalked spotted this week with all of you.  I think you'll appreciate it as much as I do.

I have to start off with what really caught my eye - this great kitchen!  I'm wondering if the homeowner is a blogger - if not, she should be.  I would be a follower.


I guess I should share the exterior too - lots of curb appeal, and this house sits on just over an acre of land.  Lots of outdoor space, and plenty of room to chill out on the wraparound porch.

Let's get back to the inside, and that gorgeous kitchen!  I love it - open shelving, gorgeous industrial range, and even what appears to be a beadboard backsplash.

Industrial fridge - check.

And hello to that beautiful accent wall!  While I'm not usually one for accent walls, this one was done right and could not be more perfect.

The other room that caught my eye was the laundry/mudroom.  More specifically, that sink!  When I worked at a pizza place for my first job, this is the kind of sink/sprayer that we had, and I think it is perfectly placed in this hard working space.

And check out the mud room area.  Are those IKEA lockers?  So very clever!  I'm starting to think I need to pay this homeowner a visit and insist that she start a blog.

Even if she's not a blogger, I think we could be good friends and hang out in her cool crafting room.  And wrap presents.  I suspect there is gift wrap in that cabinet, don't you?

See, it's all set up for blogging - a computer, and baskets full of paint or fabric swatches, I'll bet.  We're kindred spirits.

Great architectural features in this home as well - love this transom window.

And would you just look at that curved door?  You just don't see those features in homes built today.

A sweet little girl's room too.

Along with a restful master suite.

A spacious master bathroom, with paneled walls and a clawfoot tub.  Interesting placement of the tub - I guess you could go in there, shut the doors, and Calgon could take you away...

And a fantastic bonus room too!

And the icing on the cake - the backyard is vegetable-garden-ready, complete with raised beds and all.

I mean, how great is that?  Plenty of room for vegetables and even a flower garden if you wanted it.  Totally jealous of all of the planting space this yard offers.

This house is being offered for $389,000 - a pretty good deal if you ask me.  It even has a full, unfinished basement, which would add even more space to an already beautiful home.  If you want to see the full listing, click here.

Speaking of stalking - I have discovered that there are two Homearama shows in our area this summer.  The one last year was amazing, so I'm guessing this year's will be equally stunning since it's in the same area.  Plus, there is one that is not far from where I live.  So. excited.

Are you a real estate stalker too? 

3.17.2014

Master Bath Progress, Paint + Ideas

Hello!

I'm happy to share that my bathroom wallpaper removal project has been moving at warp speed!  Believe me, I'm as shocked as you are.  I'm chalking it up to listening to Bob Marley while working. :-)  I still have to finish the toilet area (saving the worst for last), but the larger area is done, for the most part.  There is still the joyful task of wall prep before I paint, but let's focus on the positive, shall we?


I can't believe I took a photo from just about every angle of this bathroom, except when first enter into the bathroom!  I keep going back to my stock "before we moved in" photo.  Totally kicking myself - what was I thinking?  I don't know where I left my brain...

Anyway, here it is now.


You know I have been struggling with the direction to take with the master bathroom, in terms of color.  I couldn't help but notice how well this hand towel that was the inspiration for our powder room, works with the tones in the master bathroom tile.  I don't know if I'll go in this direction or not, but it's one of the first things that has given me any direction in working with this tile, so I'll take it.

Then I started playing around with colors on Benjamin Moore's website.  They have a "paint your own room" tool, which is just fun.

So, I got a little carried away...  These are just a few of my favorites.  

Even though I know that these aren't necessarily a true reflection of the actual paint colors, it's still a good starting point in getting a feel for what I like and what I don't.  I'm definitely digging on the contrast between these colors and the wood tone of the vanity (if we keep it that way).

We're also planning on changing out the mirrors, light fixtures, faucets and cabinet hardware.  Again, I haven't figured out exactly what I want to do yet, but I certainly have a lot of ideas!

Look at this bathroom - the mirror is fantastic, and the sconces are equally beautiful.

These sconces are so elegant I can hardly stand it.  It also makes me think that I need a really large mirror in the master bathroom.  The faucets aren't too shabby either.

Again - loving the large mirror in this bathroom, paired with the classic sconces.  I also love how the light is reflected off of the mirror when the sconce is mounted on it like this vs. on the wall, next to the mirror.


Why not throw this idea into the ring?  A stencil of some sort perhaps?  Depending upon whether I do a large mirror or two smaller ones, of course.  Look how timeless this powder room is - love that vanity!

Is it me, or do many of these photos have the same sconce?

It's really tough to choose between the two looks, isn't it?  Both can be equally beautiful.

I love this style of bathroom mirror though - but I think it's harder to pull off sconces with this look.  Something to think about.

I'm smitten with this faucet.  What's not to like?

Geez, even with a mini-makeover I can't make up my mind.  I don't know how some of you have pulled off a complete renovation!  I'm open to any and all suggestions to smooth out the decision making process.

Come on over to The Creativity Exchange today for the tips and tricks that Cyndy and I pulled together for choosing the perfect shade of white!