Evil Wallpaper and the Bathroom of Shame

Wallpaper.  Just the word makes me cringe.  Why anyone would pick the ugliest pattern in existence, have it printed on vinyl and then glue it to a perfectly good wall is beyond me.  I’m also still trying to figure out why I coerced myself into purchasing a home that had even a single wall covered in the stuff.  I’m even more confused as to how I ended up with a home that had 2 bathrooms, the master bed room and the dining room all wallpapered.  The dining room had 2 layers, just for good measure.  Yippy.

That being said, the wall paper, while ugly, was not in bad condition.  While I always planned on removing it in each of the aforementioned rooms, I had no plans to do it as soon as we moved into the house.  DH had a different idea.  Have you ever heard the saying “Silence is golden, unless you have children a husband, and then silence is suspicious?”  Yep.  It is true.  He disappeared while I was in the kitchen one day.  It took me a minute to notice I had been abandoned, but it must have been urgent because he doesn’t trust me being alone in the kitchen often (cuts, burns, broken glass, I’m a klutz).

Just sayin....
Just sayin….

I’m standing in the kitchen being wary of the lack of sound when, out of the silence, I hear a loud tear, almost a ripping sound (not a bodily function kind), coming from the bathroom.  I panic.  I know that sound, even though I have never heard it before, my deductive senses tell me it can only be one thing…my DH ripping off a sheet of wallpaper.  He must have been really bored sitting there. I can only imagine he saw one small edge where 2 sheets of wallpaper met and, with giddy energy, decided to destroy that hideous wall covering in one fell swoop.

He failed to inspect the wallpaper prior to fervent unplanned removal and he started a war in our house.  A war between me and the wallpaper.  A war I was not ready to fight.  A war I almost lost on numerous occasions.

When he emerged from the bathroom, he was laughing.  He knew what was going to happen.  I could not stand to see the wall with one sheet of wallpaper removed, a glaring hole in the pattern of the wallpaper, a massive inconsistency causing my epic need for all things to be correct, organized and clean to come forward with the force of a derecho.  The rest of the wallpaper now had to be removed.  As in, right now.  It was a battle from the start.  I did not really do much research, and I remember very little about the actual wallpaper removal from that bathroom, only that it was horrible and time consuming.  I can only compare it to how women describe child birth.  It is painful, but your body learns to forget the pain.  I do remember that I tried chemical removers (didn’t work), hot water and fabric softener in a spray bottle (Didn’t work) and when all else failed, sandpaper.

The wallpapered powder room.  And those beautiful curtains!
The wallpapered powder room. And those beautiful curtains!

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No more wallpaper.....but TONS of glue
No more wallpaper…..but TONS of glue

I just want to be clear, it is not the actual wallpaper that was the issue.  If you look at the picture above, you can see a piece of the wallpaper hanging off the wall behind the toilet.  This “wallpaper” was actually extremely heavy vinyl sheeting that was glued to the walls. It was very easy to pull down because it didn’t tear.  The problem with this type of wallpaper is that it requires a different type of glue than paper wallpaper and that glue is like cement.  When I mentioned chemical removers and fabric softener with water, I was trying to re hydrate the glue so it could be scraped off.  I don’t know what chemist created this glue, but I have some choice words I would like to say to them.

In the end, I could not get all the glue off.  Oh, and I couldn’t get the wallpaper out from behind the toilet, so while DH was at work one day, I taught myself how to disassemble a toilet tank and removed it, giving me access to remove the paper.  That area of the wall was particularly saturated with glue.

I struggled with the glue and gouged the wall in quite a few places.  Drywall compound became my best friend, and that 3″ scraper was the BEST $4 I spent, hands down.  So after I got *most* of the glue off, I spackled, sanded and then it was time to paint!  Somehow I convinced DH to do the cut in on the paint.  I probably got away with that because I reminded him that he was the reason we were doing this.  Either way, it worked.  wpid-20140418_200628.jpg

It felt so rewarding to see the paint going up on the walls, but remember what I said about the glue behind the toilet?  Yeah, it was a pain, and since I was sooooo impatient to get paint on the walls, I broke the cardinal rule of painting, and painted what I could, and then went back and finished painting behind the toilet after I tackled the glue a bit more.

Stupid glue.
Stupid glue.

Would you believe me when I said that, despite the headache of doing this, it made me want to remove ALL the wallpaper in the house sooner rather than later as originally planned?  It is weird how things work out that way.  This was the beginning of one of my biggest mistakes in home renovation – starting multiple projects and not completing them.

Once we finished painting the bathroom, DH and I agreed that the builders grade vanity was just not working for us, so we decided to purchase a new vanity and sink for the powder room as well.  We didn’t take into account when we bought the new vanity that the water lines would come out of the wall on the right side of the sink…where the drawers were. Thus began the long and arduous process of removing the guts of the vanity and rebuilding it so it would work.  “Why not just take it back and shop for a new one?” you ask?  Because we only had 18″ from wall to door frame for the depth of the vanity, and I will save you a google search – they are not easy to find.

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It was painful, but here is the semi finished product.  I am planning on building a pipe shelf to put over the toilet which will hold the hand towel, and adding crown moulding (don’t get me started on that), but for the time being, my antique star and our funky octopus will be just fine.

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