The Busy Bee in Me

I’ve been trying to keep up with not only my writing, but this very blog. Sometimes I belt words out, sometimes I flail like a fish on the docks. In November 2012, I came into possession of an old house built in 1948. The eras hadn’t ruined the beautiful hardwood floors or the sturdy construction. What had happened is through the course if this house’s history many hideous choices–though very much with the times–were made. behold the wall paper in the dining room:

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I knew all of this going into the house but the charm of it won me over. I’m a sucker for an old house. The construction is solid, the characteristics are quaint, and honestly I loathe the modern look. What I detest over the overly metallic or sterile appearance of a modern dwelling is wall paper. Yuck … just YUCK! Maybe I’m a sucker for hand-painted accents. So, once I had money, I decided to become Lowes’ whore and buy a shit ton of paint. I had the colors picked out for a few of the rooms before I even purchased the numerous gallons. Knowing what color to go with is a more lengthy process than painting for me.

First, though, the yuck needed to come down. My son took down the wall paper in his room. It came down like a charm because of the textured walls. Yes, all this wall paper hid the many cracks and imperfection that comes with plaster walls. My dining room, however, wasn’t going without a fight.

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If you notice in this picture, I had already painted the lower half since it was white. Fall Meadow is the color.

Not only did the wall paper not come off clean, the top part came off without effort leaving the sticky part intact and—NOOOOOO!!!–a fugly powder blue color underneath that. I had to use a combination of a steamer and vinegar water when the steam needed to heat up to remove the brown part. My arms got a workout for sure. It took me two days to do this estimated 20×20 room. I actually tore all the outer shell off on the first day to make it easier and patched the cracks in the plaster.

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Now the artist in me paused when studying my remaining work. In my mind’s eye I saw old writing paper and wondered what it would look like to write something in indian ink like an ancient manuscript. Alas, this wasn’t my writing room. This was the dining room that would host family and friends when they came over. Back to my laborious task I went. I finished and began to paint the upper half. The color of choice being Soft Duckling. I love contrast and the wood chair railing made an excellent divider. Because of the barftastic blue underneath, I ended up having to buy another gallon. Finished and subtle in contract.

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The curtains came with the house and I haven’t decided on whether to switch them with something else. I did give them a good wash before putting them back up. The curtain rods were replaced because the old ones were literally being held together with gum adhesive. I also purchased new wall plates as well to match the dark curtain rods. I didn’t take a picture but it makes a nice contrast.

Remember the boat in the beginning picture? While the color matched the old wall, it didn’t look spectacular against the new splash of bling. So I painted it with the Soft Duckling and did a wash of the Fall Meadow over it. The contrast wasn’t as drastic as I’d hoped but the colors are similar. Still, I think it works. I plan on painting flowers on it at a later date.

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Coveted alcohol and coffee stash.

Yes those are cat toys. I thought about moving them out of the way but hey, why should I? I’m a crazy cat lady after all.

So what to do you think? This is a project of many as I have wall paper everywhere except the living room and first floor bathroom. Once the summer ends, I’ll start again. While I love the hot water baseboard heating, I don’t have air condition. No way am I firing up a steamer in the heat of Pennsylvania summer.