We started stripping the wallpaper in our master bedroom yesterday. We’ve never cared for the grass-cloth wallpaper, it was on the walls when we moved in. Like most people, every house we’ve ever lived in has been a “fixer upper”. As time and budget allowed, we gradually improved each place, turning them into nicer homes.
Our old home of 20 years had wallpaper in nearly every room when we bought it. From a foil print velvet floral flocked wallpaper in the bathroom, to a brown vinyl textured in the living room and kitchen (which coordinated so nicely 😉 with the brown tile countertop with an impressed grassy plant design) to the burgundy vinyl “accent wall” and plush gray, carpet-like wallpaper in the master bedroom. It took me months to strip all the old wallpaper off, scrub down the walls to remove the glue residue, and prime and paint all the walls. But gradually, working on it on nights and weekends, I got it done, and really improved the look of our home.
When we first moved to Florida and stayed at my Mom’s old house for three months while we house-hunted, we started fixing it up for her. We replaced hardware and faucets, and installed a storm door on the back door. The rotten, shredding curtains were replaced with mini-blinds. And I stripped wallpaper. The ditsy patterned wallpaper in the kitchen was the first to go.
Then I moved on to the dining room and family room. The textured wallpaper was very thoroughly stuck, and bits of drywall came off when I peeled it off bit by bit. Which meant I had to do a lot of patching after spending days scrubbing all of the glue residue off.
Eventually I was able to prime and paint, and ended up with a cute dining area in which to eat and sew. Don’t judge- I’m sure I’m not the only one who works at their dining table! Speaking of sewing, my Grandmother made the seaside picture on the right of the photo using trapunto, a form of quilting popular back in the ’90s. It’s currently hung in our guestroom, and reminds me of the long line of sewists in our family.
When we moved to our new home, as soon as I finished cleaning, I started painting. I covered up the school bus yellow kitchen walls, and painted the sunroom, living room and office poo brown ceilings white. I scraped and scrubbed the elephant wallpaper border off the walls of Dan’s office, and painted over the deep red walls. Eventually I moved on to the main bathroom. The metallic copper colored walls and gold ceiling had to go. Along with the horrible wallpaper, which, one of my friends commented, looked like mold. 🙂
They must have used super strength glue, and obviously did not properly prep the walls before installing the wallpaper, because it came off in tiny little bits. Hundreds if not thousands, of tiny little bits.
Needless to say, after that time-consuming process, I didn’t even feel like tackling the grass-cloth in the master bedroom. So here we are, a year and a half later, finally ready to face the task of removing wallpaper once again. But this time I had help! Dan helped me peel and scrape off the grass-cloth. I started scrubbing off the residue, but it was getting late and I was tired. So I’m maybe a quarter of the way through scrubbing, and then I can move on to priming and painting. Yay! And phew!
All of this talk about working on the walls got me thinking about the walls in our lives. What kind of walls do we put up to hide, to avoid, to protect? Protective walls can be good. We all need shelter from the storms. But are we putting up walls to avoid people because we’re scared? Scared to talk to them? Scared to reach out in friendship, or deal with a relationship? Do we put up a wall to “block out” God? Are we scared to have faith? To consider depending upon someone other than ourselves? Are we afraid of what that faith, and relationship with God, with Jesus, might require of us?
Are you thinking of knocking down some of those walls? Of opening your heart and your mind to new relationships and possibilities? It’s easier than you think. Take one small step forward, crack open the door, throw open the window, and invite life in. Pray. It can be nothing more than a simple conversation, talking to God. But it can mean so much more. It can be the start, or the continuation, of an everlasting relationship. Are you ready to knock down some walls?