Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Painted Wallpaper Disaster: Our Little Girl's Bedroom

When you are blinded by possibility, sometimes you fail to notice the little things that will make all the difference in your house renovations. Such appears to be my story with the wallpaper in our house. I will get to the wallpaper in the master bedroom, which was actually finished first, later. Today I will discuss the painted wallpaper disaster.

The first time we walked through our house we had our eyes on the big things, such as the disaster of the kitchen, three bathrooms, the future family room, the basement, you get the picture. And as I get caught up on writing about the improvements made on the house in the last two years, and the improvements that we continue to make, this picture will become even clearer. What we didn't pay attention to were the "little" things. Like the fact that the master bedroom and living room had wallpaper and that someone had painted over the wallpaper in the bedroom that would become our daughter's. As offers and negotiations were made we started taking a closer look at the house that we were fighting so hard to get. During one of these walkthroughs, quite late in the game, I discovered that what we originally believed were simply ugly, orange colored walls were much more than that. Underneath the ugly, dirty, orange paint sat wallpaper. This wallpaper had not been primed or prepped in any way for painting. Instead, the previous resident of the room had painted one coat of paint, leaving many places where the tiny late 80s, early 90s flowers poked through. Suddenly, painting our daughter's room did not appear to be as easy as we thought it would be.

The carpet remnant came out of the room with the rest of the carpet in the house, revealing the plywood floor you see in the next picture.

For the record, I HATE wallpaper. Our first home had wallpaper in the kitchen and bathroom, and after spending time on wallpaper removal when we first moved into the house, I swore I would never put wallpaper on walls. And I never have. I have used a border, but I firmly believe that is not the same thing. Of course, I have also not removed the border I have used and will have to cross that bridge when it is time to once again redo our son's bedroom, but until that time I will reserve judgement for wallpaper borders. So I found the discovery of wallpaper in two large rooms and painted wallpaper in a third room a little daunting, terrifying even. The decision I made (and I am still questioning to this day) was the use of texture paint over the painted wallpaper and then painting over that. This would allow the walls to be an even texture, take away the lines that so clearly showed through the current paint, and hopefully give us a bedroom paint job that we could be happy with. With the guest room complete and carpet ordered for the master bedroom and our daughter's bedroom I got started on the texture paint. I really wanted to have the room complete before the carpet was installed. After all, then I wouldn't have to worry about covering the floor. Two hours into my work I had one wall painted. Another two hours of work and I had a second wall painted. My parents and little sister were visiting that weekend so there were many projects going on at the same time. With tired arms and a racing mind trying to figure out how to get the next two walls to go more smoothly, I quit. And the walls sat there, and sat there. Carpet was installed, furniture put into place, blinds placed in the windows, and the room continued to just sit.

Then I found out I was pregnant. More on that funny story later. Suddenly we were in a time crunch. Yes, we needed complete bedrooms that would make our house feel more like home. Yes, our little girl deserved a room that was hers and not just a room that her mom had started working on but never finished. But I had gotten distracted. I do that. After all, right now I'm writing a blog while the kids nap instead of lesson planning or sealing the grout in the nearly finished bathroom. It's an unfortunate family trait that I have inherited from my father's side. We moved, pushed hard right away, and then I started grad classes two days after we moved in. And then fall classes started and I was trying to figure out how to work part time, go to school, and still enjoy the two days a week I stayed at home with my daughter. All excuses I know, but with a baby room to complete now, it was actually a good thing we had procrastinated. Now our daughter's room was going to be a big girl room, the birthday present for the new big sister. Carpet was covered, I finished the texture paint and then moved on to the purple paint. Yes, I chose purple, mostly because I have an aversion to pink after years of having pink in my own rooms. I want my little girl to maintain her girliness, but there is only so much girly I can take.

It did not go smoothly. My pregnant body lost balance on a night when I was so close to finishing the walls and I twisted my ankle falling off of a step ladder. Jeff banned me from the room for the rest of the night. So even though I was motivated, there was still plenty of stop and go on the work I did in the room, but finally the paint was done, the big girl bed (Jeff's old bed, which is actually his father's old bunk bed) was put together and ready for sleep, the curtains installed, and our daughter's room was done. As with all kid's rooms, it will continue to evolve as she gets older, but for now it works for our little princess. And we're happy with that.

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