Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Home Improvements and Deadlines

"If it weren't for the last minute panic, nothing would ever get done." This was a favorite saying of a very old friend of mine. In one way or another, it's proving true in my world.

We have this guest room. I've been putting off redecorating it. Once a year or so, I'd go in there and take a good look around to consider a remodeling project. I would stare at the painted wallpaper, grumble like Lurch from the Addams Family then walk out of the room firmly shutting the door behind me. Needless to say, more than a decade has passed since we bought the house and the room has remained the same; pink shag carpet, water stains, peeling ceiling paint and wallpapered walls painted white.

Unused rooms have a way of collecting miscellaneous stuff that never makes it to the attic. We have a friend coming to visit in a few weeks. Hence, the deadline. Well, we cleaned out the stuff and took a good look at the room. Mon Dieu! Mama Mia! Oy Vey! Ay Chiwawa! The years haven't been kind to that room we keep shut up most of the time. The peeling ceiling has gotten worse and it's developed an odor.

For two days I stared at that room debating about the painted over wallpaper. I was trying to figure out an easy way around it. Paint the room in stripes to hide the wallpaper seams, decorative ragging, faux blocks of stone.... Maybe if the wallpaper seams were evenly spaced, I could have gotten away with the stripes. Alas, the spacing was varied around the entire room.

The way I see it we have two choices; deal with it or do the Lurch grumble and shut the door again. I've chosen to deal with it. And no, there isn't an easy way.

All the stuff, furniture and curtains is out of there. The pink shag carpet was ripped up yesterday morning and I've started on the walls. I left the carpet pad down to protect what I think is a hardwood floor underneath. With any luck it will be in good shape. If not, I'm gonna have to tackle the floor too.

I thought there was a layer of paint over a layer of paper over a layer of muslin. Well, that was only in one corner. In actuality there are 6 layers of paper topped off with not only paint, but in places there is plaster and wallboard tape. To make matters worse, the lowest layer of hideous green paper was pasted directly to the wall without sizing or paint. Vinegar water and scraping is proving infective.

I'm off to rent a wallpaper steamer.

On the bright side, a last minute panic can be good. When this is all over, our friend will have a nice place to sleep. I can also give up on my Lurch impersonation. It wasn't very good anyway.

Part 2 Home Improvements -- Day 3
Part 3 Home Improvements -- Welcome to Hell
Part 4 Home Improvements -- Hell has Left the Building
Part 5 Home Improvements -- Creative Issues
Part 6 Home Improvements -- Woe is the Floor


NWJR said...

I'll stop by in a month or so to see how it looks!

;-) <---the all-forgiving wink of forgiveness.

Dade said...

Hoo boy, can I relate! I was a bachelor for 10 years between my first and my current marriage. Well, when Maty moved in, she lit a fire under my behind and got me doing all that stuff that I had neglected in my single days. We're 2 and a half years into it and there's still a long way to go.

Good luck!

Mom said...

Well now......Mama went to help. I only lasted about an hour and a half....I think. That old fashioned glue was really good. Why anyone has ever come up with new glues is beyond me. It was as if that first layer of paper bonded with the sheet rock beneath to become one. Eclectic is very kind when she says I did 1/3 of a wall. It was more like 1/9. Whew!