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…now you don’t. Wallpaper, that is.

We bought our home knowing that it needed some fixing up – essentially “as is.” That phrase describes a great deal of life, yes? I always liked it. It assumes a certain amount of acceptance of life’s quirks and a willingness to work with them. It applies to people as well as homes. Mr. K. certainly got me as is.

People change and grow, however, while homes don’t adapt by themselves. Ours is a very slow work in progress. We’ve worked on the living and dining and sleeping spaces; it’s time for the back hallway and kitchen. The kitchen, well, there’s a discrepancy between the kitchen I want and the kitchen I can accomplish….although I will be pulling it apart sooner rather than later. The hallway has been lingering because I have been daunted by the sheer square footage of wallpaper that needs to be stripped. The hallway is 26 feet long.

So, here goes:

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I did it. I ripped off the first inaugural section, so I had to keep going or live with a hallway that looks like it belongs in an abandoned boarding house. Five layers of wallpaper under the paint. Did I mention that the amount of wallpaper to be stripped is daunting? Our home is more than 100 years old and I don’t believe anyone ever removed the old wallpaper before putting up new stuff. Sometimes I think when I pull the paper off the horsehair plaster takes a deep breath and says “Ah……”

After about 30 minutes, the largest wall looked like this:

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The paper came off in huge strips, just begging to be removed. It turns out that wall was a bit of a tease, though. The paint and top layer of paper came off the remaining walls easily but the deeper layers of paper are stuck quite nicely. Apparently 100 years ago someone did a great job of papering this space. After another four hours (and a thorough sweeping), I had this:

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The good news is that I know by experience this old wallpaper will come off with a liberal application of hot water. The bad news is that it will be at least another four hours to clear these walls. And then – oh, I have plans! Updates to come….

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