Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Wallpaper Stripping and Painting

We had tested a few strips of wallpaper in the kitchen; they came off pretty easily. This was a good thing, because the most recent layer of paper was a kind of salmon-pink with a smudgy, feathery pattern in vague, faint green and maybe some half-hearted blue. It was every bit as bad as that sounds, and the accents of a strip around the room at waist height - dark green in a sort of paisley pattern - didn't help. That came off easily, as we thought. But under it was a far more tenacious stuff; white with little blue flower-things in an offset geometric pattern. In larger patches, it gave me odd visual effects - I don't want to imagine what it looked like over the whole room. It had to go, but having been pasted directly onto the plasterboard, it was well stuck.

Eventually, we hired a steamer. Man, those things are genius. They're basically a big kettle with a hose attached, and on the end of the hose is a device that shoots out some steam and traps it against the wall. The wallpaper just peels right off, or at least can be scraped with relative ease - but you have to do it immediately, while it's still warm. So it's pretty much a one-man job, which was especially fun up above the kitchen cupboards, where the escaping steam gathered, and made my hair curl so much it got crunchy. That's a strange feeling. When we re-do the kitchen, we're putting in cupboards right to the ceiling there - the gap at the top is a waste of space, and I reckon it makes the ceiling seem lower, too. And we won't have to scramble up after that to paint the wall there, either.

So after all the paper was down, the room looked pretty awful. We promptly put on two coats of paint in a colour called 'Antique White', and things were vastly improved. Having done some rearranging of furniture, and pinned some game maps back to the wall, things looked considerably better in the same corner:

The real change, however, is in the light levels in the room. Even on a dull day, I now forget to put on the light, whereas before, it was necessary on a sunny day. 

The guy in the shop where we hired the steamer reckons we could get a second-hand one for about €120, so we'll be taking him up on that when we next go to remove wallpaper. We'll then have it for the other four or five rooms that need doing here, and can sell it on, or keep it to lend to people, and have it work out a lot better than renting at €25 a day - not that that's a bad rate.

We've still to do the painting on the woodwork there, and the old dresser you can partially see in the top photo is going to be painted as well. We're looking for a kind of eggshell blue for that - just on the blue side of light grey, I think. Pictures of the process will be posted!

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