Peeling Back

 my bathroom wall 
Over the long weekend I started to repaint the upstairs bathroom. It is tiny, just enough room for a small tub, a sink, and a toilet. Put down a reasonably sized bathmat and it is like having wall to wall carpeting….

Hence, it was to be an easy weekend project that I could pour all of my on-call angst and nervous energy into. I am happier if I have a project that distracts me. 

Before I could paint, I had to scrape the wallpaper border off along the ceiling line. 

Easy!

Come to find out, whoever hung that wallpaper up there had stuck it directly onto the sheet rock about half the time. Also, apparently, they had used Gorilla Glue in challenging places, like corners and around the hexagonal window.

Grrrrrr….

Of note, my house was built in the mid 1940’s. It was originally a single story. Sometime in the 1990’s, well before my time here, a second floor was added. It was squeezed in under the eaves, which gives it a certain charm with lovely angles, but also makes it damn near impossible to get a queen sized mattress into any of the bedrooms up there. Anyway…

Downstairs the corners are all sharp. Perfect. Even with a shifting house, those corners stay plumb. 

Upstairs is completely different. As I worked up close and personal with those walls, it is easy to see how poorly everything was thrown together. Even the wood of the doorframe was never sanded properly before getting painted. 

It struck me how often people nowadays do not take pride in their work. Or? Was it like this back in the 1940’s, too? Except the crappy construction just didn’t last so it only appears to us newbies to be a distinctly modern phenomenon? 

Regardless, if I ever meet the S.O.B. who built my second floor I intend to kick him hard in the balls and give him a piece of my mind. I finally finished the painting yesterday in lieu of trimming back the bushes in my yard. At least it did a good job of distracting me from being on call, even if it did take longer than expected. The wall color looks GREAT and now I know what I will be doing next weekend!

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109 thoughts on “Peeling Back

  1. I have great appreciation for anyone who does their own remodel work. My parents are always making changes to their house. It’s not uncommon to see a wall taken down, because of a whim. I hope to get elbow deep in house projects someday, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a do-it-yourselfer and that usually means, not “cutting corners,” but making things fit “good enough.” Now I feel bad for the folks who followed behind me and found out the wall isn’t exactly perpendicular :-). Good for you for sticking with it, being happy with the results, and considering the next project!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There isn’t a house that we’ve lived in that we haven’t remodelled or re-decorated. I think the builders did take more pride in their workmanship in the 1940’s. The faster those houses go up the less care is taken. I’ve lived in both nicely finished and the “thrown up”. Much prefer the nicely finished, if you can find any these days. (It is a challenge)
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It looks lovely — what is that color called? It is the color I tried to paint one of my bathrooms — only it came out very different.

    As for quality, it’s gone in everything these days. Everything is built to be replaced soon. It is disheartening. Makes me want to live in Mayberry.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. No. People do take pride in their work. Don’t you?

    But, people, ie homeowners, don’t want to pay skilled craftspeople a decent rate for the job. And actually, half the homeowners don’t care two hoots so long as the work is cheap. Loads can’t tell the difference.

    Still, the desire to pay tradespeople peanuts is annoying.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Try scraping off with a Stanley blade scraper that you would use for glass. Clean the rest off with acetone. Use the same blade to get rid of the paint around the window.

        Fill the pinhole gaps in the dado height timber with brummer stopper and restain πŸ™‚

        I guess that’s the last thing you want to hear πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! Yes, the whole thing needs a ton of work. It was easier to ignore when I was not elbow deep in it, but now it will drive me crazy until it is done right. It is way above my expertise level, though. I am good for wall paper and paint and changing out light fixtures but beyond that, I will have to locate a reputable contractor (and pay them well!). πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Scientifically, you’d want to see how many new houses are built to a good spec, built to last. I never could understand American houses though, with those walls of wood-board. Houses in India are built with bricks through and through. And earlier, the walls would be two bricks thick, all of them. The house built by my great-grandfather’s grandfather still stands and my relatives still live in it. Modern housing might last a generation maybe, definitely not a century and a half.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ugh… You had your work cut out for you. I once bought a house.. they were surprised that I made an offer so quickly and so close to the asking price. The one stipulation I made was that they remove the wall paper in the kitchen/dinning room. Don’t put up anything else or even paint, just take down the wallpaper, or no deal. πŸ˜€ Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is totally what I will do next time! I have removed wallpaper from the downstairs bathroom (it was painted over with orange and black from crazy reason), the dining room, and two bedrooms. If I develop carpal tunnel and tennis elbows, this will be why! πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My husband spent nearly two years (off and on) trying to scrape the wallpaper off our bathroom walls so we could repaint. Finally, we gave up and had the drywall/painting contractor do it when he came in to repair the walls downstairs. He scraped off what he could and then simply drywalled over what was left, so it would be smooth.

    BTW, my bathroom is the same shade of light blue, but my wainscoting is white. Seems like you and I are very much alike in many ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Houses have a unique way of presenting their good side, until you start one small project, then they start some sort of household Morse code, perhaps extra creaks and groans – perhaps the plumbing ticks and bands in a new way- whatever their signals are it all becomes a conspiracy to silent create more work here, a little touch up there…then, you’re trapped πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am very impressed that a busy doctor can take on diy! I am good at laboring tasks such as putting on new toilet seats or grouting the shower. I created our wooden house number sign outside. Such a sense of satisfaction in creating something.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I learned during training that if I poured my angst into creating something, then I could have something beautiful to show for all of the negative. And yes, there is a certain high you get from accomplishing something. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m sorry, but I had to laugh when you said that if you ever met the person who built your second story you intended to kick him hard in the balls. Well deserved, I’m sure…. I just thought, wow, I sure wouldn’t want to aggravate this nice lady. I know of what you speak, I’ve encountered sloppy workmanship many times. I can’t help but give you a virtual “high five” and hope that things improve quickly, for everyone’s sake.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Goodness, can I empathize. Our first house was built in 1907 (we bought it in 1977) and when we decided to take down the wallpaper in the hallway that started at the bottom of the stairs and went up to the roof line, we discovered five or six layers of paper, all tightly bound to the walls. Trying to get it off in mid-August with no A/C was a rough go, then my husband called on the Lord for several weeks while he hung the new paper. Congratulations on your achievement – because that what it is!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love old houses… I mean old. I lived in one pre-civil war with the original kitchen on the lowest floor was a walk in fireplace with oven in the wall. My first house my then husband and I had was a craftsman house from the 20’s and I re-did all the woodwork (6 inch chestnut) and walls, which were stucco. They were painted in the 70’s along with the shag carpet. I finished the last wallpaper the night before the open house and made over 35K on that house in five years. I redid that place top to bottom. The next house was built in the late 70’s and very blah. I redid much but not like the other house, just paint. I hated that house. My current home, (I own it bought before current husband), is as cute as they come. Built the same year I was born and we are both classics. I unfortunately cannot do anymore painting and papering, but have the best handy man ever. To me, a home is nothing until you put your mark on it with color and finishes. I miss not being able to do it myself as there is nothing more satisfying then fresh paint and paper. (well except having someone else do the work) πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My house is 1920 and has been remodeled countless times. Only one wall (outer dining room) of the house is unchanged since 1920 and apparently it’s stuffed with horsehair and whatnot. I kid you not, that room is always the perfect temperature. Some of the workmanship in this house is amazing and other bits are shoddy. I don’t think any of our corners are right. I’d like to paper the powder room, but I’ll have to hire a pro, because I know there are no right angles! I will impress upon the pro not to use glue in the corners, not that I ever plan to leave here.
    But I’ll tell you what — every bit of wood in this house is old-growth wood and I think I could easily store gold bouillon on any of its shelves! Sturdy. So sturdy.
    I love my old house and its crooked corners! (and sloping floors) Mad love ❀ lol

    Liked by 1 person

  15. We have done so many house renovations, I can appreciate that any home improvement project always seems to end up being longer and more expensive than planned. I’ve come to the conclusion there is no such thing as a simple job.

    … but I love the angle of the photo. What an interesting and appealing picture!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey Victo,

    I have to hand it to you Victo, you are a multi-talented lady, and I’m in admiration of your range of skills and your determination to achieve personal satisfaction in all of them. Quite how you maintain that level of focus and multi-task at the same time is a mystery, evermore so when you are on-call and may be required to break from your craft at any time. It’s quite a gift you have brought to the fore and developed.

    I think you have done a splendid job with decorating the bathroom, and I am very much taken with that wonderful colour: it’s an absolutely perfect choice and looks superb. Good luck with adding the polish to your handy-work.

    I’ve moved many, many times in my life, mainly throughout the UK, and lived in both new and old-build properties, which I must add I have never owned but merely rented, and therefore have no idea really what it takes to commit money, time, effort and love into them. My preference however lies with old properties purely because of their wonderful charm and character – the oldest being a 16th century thatched cottage in Northern England, which was delightfully quaint, but totally impractical to live in unless one were under 5.5ft tall, walked easily with a natural slant or stoop in any direction and was not unduly troubled by the total lack of straight lines or edges, or the lack of 90 degree angles anywhere. Further still, it was certainly not uncommon to wake with mice, spiders, woodlice, and other creepy crawlies sharing the living space as they ventured in from the thicket above to share the warmth. And lastly, it sounds wonderful to imagine snuggling down in the warmth of an Inglenook fireplace, but in reality, it is difficult not to forget the very real prospect of a fire taking hold should just one flaming spark breach the chimney and ignite either the thatch roof or the timbers beneath.

    Reading through the comments above, you mention a dream scenario to live in a castle, and whilst this may not (or may not) be a valid prospect, I wonder if you have ever contemplated the idea of staying in one? There are many castles throughout Europe and particularly Scotland that have been ‘converted’ into hotels without loss of their grandeur and Queenly status. And each I am certain would be a magnificent place to stay for a short while, and maybe go a little way to satisfying something of your dream. Perhaps when the birds have flown the nest you might consider it a possibility and experience your reverie.

    Sorry to ramble on a bit. Hoping all is well. Thanks for another enjoyable post.

    Namaste

    DN – 15/09/2015

    P.S: On the lowest roof timber in the main living area of the cottage was fixed a sign that read ‘Duck or Grouse’. I recall doing an awful lot of both lol πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that sign!!!! Made me laugh. πŸ™‚ I have stayed in a castle in Ireland and visited a fair number of them in Scotland and England. The whole thing appeals to every romantic notion I have ever had. You just don’t know old until you have spent time in Europe! I visited an old thatched farmhouse in Ireland that was exactly how you describe, leaning and ducking and all. Here in the US, my 1940s house feels old…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Victo,

        The sign is rather amusing isn’t it, so pleased you appreciate the humour therein πŸ™‚

        Upon your mention, I do recall your earlier Blog featuring St. Andrew’s, so sorry to have had it slip my mind. So you have stayed in both a thatched cottage and more importantly a castle (!) that’s just perfect, and judging by your comment the enchantment of both have never left you, brilliant! Such memories are treasures all of their very own.

        Indeed, Europe is steeped in the mists of time with so much still remaining and freely accessible…perhaps one day you’ll travel again and enjoy it further…there’s always time.

        I love the perspective of a 1940’s built house being regarded as old, that in itself has a curious charm associated with it πŸ™‚

        Thanks for the reply. Have a wonderful new day ahead…and don’t forget the lipstick lol πŸ™‚

        Take care. Namaste

        DN – 15/09/2015

        Liked by 1 person

  17. You’re brave, indeed! I understand wanting something to take your mind off things. My house is from the late 1930s, solidly built, for sure, but I think previous owners have made some changes to the house and they look less than “professional”. Strangely enough, over the time I’ve lived there, I’ve become attuned to the idiosyncrasies of the place and decided it gives it “character”. I’d never go as far as to call it charm, but… Have a great week, and excellent job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have removed wallpaper before, sir! Several rooms downstairs. It is a tough job to be sure but this was over the top awful! And yes, sometimes I drum up business like that. Or by taking my sick kids to the grocery store… πŸ˜‰

      Like

  18. Job well done, Victo! Well worth the effort. I also agree with you about how no one these days seems to care about quality, or who takes pride in their work. We had windows replaced last year and the job overall is not quality. I have what is known as the floating sill due to not being installed properly and moves up and down when you lean on it. This company was so awful to deal with, we would rather have the floating sill then call this company back. Anyways … GOOD for you for doing a job most would not tackle! I know all about wallpaper. And walls that are not plum! πŸ˜‰ Have a great week!!! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Too funny (at lrast as a reader, though I can imagine it was nerve-wracking on your already frazzled nerves)

    I can identify with always needing a project, and with home improvement frustrations as my last house was built in 1928, and had lots of crappy, I mean charming, aspects.

    Fondly,
    Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

  20. the wife took the carpet off the stars with the intention of laying wood down. She had thought of tile but I told her that on a wood surface, eventually the tile would crack because wood has a give to it that cement doesn’t.

    After she took up all the carpet, she noticed that nothing on the staircase was at right angles so she had to measure a lot of angles by hand and do a lot of precise cutting.

    The window in the kitchen wasn’t put into the frame correctly which resulted in water leaking in when it rained hard which, during the summer, can happen quite a bit.

    We still have a leak when it rains hard so we’re thinking that it’s something to do with the upstairs windows in the game room.

    The contractor who did our windows said “if you knew what kinds of profits these builders make, you’d want to take them out in the street and shoot them in the head”

    Actually, I’d shoot each hand, then each knee, then the feet, then each shoulder, and finally a round to the skull to put the subject out of his misery. These sons-of-bitches hire the cheapest labor they can get, and, here in Texas, they build with the intention of failing the first house inspection. And the inspectors, they’re just as dimwitted as the profit mongering builders who hire cheap inexact labor and they miss obvious problems.

    Liked by 1 person

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