What is this, my third or fourth attempt at maintaining a blog? I smell a New Year’s Resolution…

So! We recently made the decision to, how can I put this, reinterpret our home’s floor plan. For the past two years we’ve been living in only half of our house, while the other half sat untouched and mostly unused. Tony has never been a fan of the formal living room and formal dining room, because, let’s face it, we’re not exactly the formal entertaining type right now. I have never been a fan of the formal living and dining room because they are astonishingly ugly… mint green trim and this really heinous, ancient yellow-green striped wall paper. We have no idea how old the wallpaper is, the people we bought the house from claimed it was there when they bought it in 1981-ish. Early investigations showed that there was a solid blue paper, even more ancient and heinous, underneath that.

Early in November we decided we would switch everything all around, eliminating the formal rooms and taking advantage of the space we have in a way that would suit our lifestyle better. We decided we’d make the old formal dining room into our TV room (even though I’ve always thought that seeing a TV first thing when you walk in the front door is sort of tacky). Adjacent to that on the other side of the front hall is the old formal living room, which we are turning into… the informal no-TV living room. We don’t know what to call this room, the den maybe? Anyhow, it’ll be the room for books, puzzles, quiet toys, art projects and general kid things. And we’ll take all our dining room furniture and put it into what is currently the TV room. Since our kitchen has counter seating (ugh) instead of room for a table and chairs, we really miss having family meals at a table, so this room will serve that purpose.

Well, when we came to this decision, we were so excited and inspired, we wanted to start right away. Which we did, starting with the formal living room. And that is why our house looks like a construction site for Christmas this year. If only we had had this Big Idea a few weeks earlier, we might have had one totally awesome fully remodeled room done by now. Ha! Not so much.

So, this is what we did. First thing, we had to strip all the wallpaper. It came off one layer at a time. The stripey stuff came down super easy. All I had to do was flick up a seam with my fingernail and one whole strip would pull off intact, right up to the ceiling. So satisfying. Next was the blue paper, which was weird. Not much like wallpaper at all, as we know it. It was very thick and brown and pulpy, just like a heavy brown paper bag. I guess that’s what wallpaper was like at the turn of the century, I really don’t know. So it didn’t peel off, really. You could kind of flake off bigger pieces, but to get it all off we had to soak it with boiling hot water (DIF = scam) and then scrape it off with a scraper. Once that was all off, we had to scrub the bare plaster to get off all the old glue and teeny paper bits left behind. Very time consuming, but also satisfying. We weren’t sure that the plaster would be in nice enough shape to paint, but it actually looked pretty good. After the scrubbing, Tony went around the room and patched all the holes and cracks and skim coated some yucky parts.

This whole process took about five weeks, with some unfortunate down time while the entire family caught some truly horrendous cold virus. Today the painters are starting to prime and paint, yay! After this room is done, we’ll move on to the center hall, and then the old dining room, and then maybe do something new to the floor in the TV room before we switch it into the new dining room. We are so excited, we’ve promised each other to stay on top of it until it’s finished, and I’ll blog the progress the whole way. WHEEE! Now for the good part… the pictures. Click to enlarge.

Here is the center hall the way it looked when we moved in. The door to the left is the formal living room, to the right is the dining room.

Here is the front window of the formal living room. I ask you, have you ever seen a more sickly shade of green?

This is the fireplace in the formal living room, although it’s only ornamental. There is nothing behind that brass plate. We lurrrrve the white tile.

Here are the walls being stripped. There is still some blue paper in the top left, over the door. Rosie is “cleaning.”

Here you can see where we’ve started scrubbing off the old glue and ick. We also discovered this writing under the blue paper, up near the ceiling.In these shots you can also see that we discovered the outline of the old picture rail that used to be on the walls, about a foot or 18 inches from the ceiling. We are replacing that.

Our ladders were not quite tall enough for me to get to the very top of the wall, and my parents nicely loaned us their scaffolding thingy. While I died from a cold, Tony climbed up and finished the last of the glue-scrubbing.

The other night my dad brought over some of his awesome tools and cut the picture molding, while Tony and my brother attached it to the wall with this air gun thingy, yet another awesome tool of Dad’s. (thanks Billy!)