Saturday, December 29, 2012

We Bought a Fixer Part 3 -Wallpaper

Hi! Happy Holidays my friends. I've missed you!

After a week away, Matt and I are back home and getting back to work at the new house. Jack is down with us for about 10 days as well.
We are trying to get him to help us out, but he's not very interested in manual labor. What kid is really?

So, lets talk wallpaper.

You might have noticed that wallpaper is making a comeback in the design world......This scares me terribly. Now don't get me wrong, I love bold color and pattern, but WALLPAPER IS NOT THE ANSWER!

Our fixer had wallpaper in just about every room. (See stunning montage above.)  Pretty huh? Now the sliver in the bottom right corner isn't wallpaper. It's an awesome peacock sculpture the previous owner had in the house. That's one thing we wish they'd left for us!

The very first day we took possession of the house, we started ripping out the wallpaper. The first layer came off easily in pretty much every room.  With very little effort, we were getting fully intact paper pieces off the wall. We couldn't believe how quickly it was coming down!

The problems started when we uncovered 3 more layers of paper underneath the first. Yes, 3! Aaaah! 

The last 3 shots illustrate the papers we unearthed in just one room!  
Yep, that's Holly Hobby!

Unfortunately, we also found some mold. 
Luckily it was old and dead and easy to take care of.

Welcome to our entryway. 
We spent an entire weekend right here removing this stuff.
This original layer of wallpaper was adhered right to unprimed drywall.
Not cool 1960's owners!

It took an industrial steamer for us to make any headway on the stuff. 

We scored the walls, then Matt would hold the steamer up to the wall for a few minutes.
I came through with a putty knife and scraped off the loosened paper. 
It was exciting when it would come off like butter! 

An artful carnage shot.

After an entire day, we managed to scrape the entire wall.
Unfortunately, the drywall is in rough shape, so it's going to have to be skim-coated prior to painting. 

The next day we managed to finish off the dining room as well. 
By day 2 we were pros, so these walls are not going to have to be skim-coated. Yes! 

As soon as I finish up this blog we are going to head over to the house and tackle "Holly Hobby Hell." 
Wish us luck! 

This picture pretty much sums up today's wallpaper removal session.
We put up a valiant fight against Holly Hobby and her striped accent paper, but I am sad to admit that she won. 
We've called in the professionals to rip out the drywall in much of this room and have it redone. 
We're feeling a little defeated, but are glad to spend the money to have someone else "make it right."

Let this be a cautionary tale to you fellow homeowners. 
Think before you paper! 

So my friends, tell me about your wallpaper experiences. 
Have you hung it? Removed it? Would you consider hanging it in your house? Do tell! 

I leave you with a delightful montage of some of the other lovely papers we have uncovered. 
Happy New Year friends! Ta-ta.

(To see our our house in its pre-reno state click here.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We Bought a Fixer Part 2 - Taming the Ivy

Hi there. How are you? 
Are you ready for the holidays?
I'm feeling a little crazy.....Still much to do before we get back in the car on Friday and head up to Rockford! 

In Part 1 of our home reno series,  you saw the house in its "natural" state. Nature, namely ivy was indeed taking over!

Ivy was choking our large tree. Top left is a close-up of the beast wrapped around the tree trunk. 
It was thick and deeply entrenched! Ivy had even grown into the shutters and window screens on the house. Ahhh! 

Ivy wasn't the only beast that needed to be tamed. We had dozens of weed trees that had been growing for three years.

The actual landscaping was severely overgrown.
 The front room was a dark hole as light was totally blocked out by the shrubbery. 
We had a lot of work ahead of us! 

Enter our secret weapons.....
Grandma Vick and Grandpa Steve! 
(Matt hates that I call his parents grandma and grandpa....But I just can't help it!)
Steve and Vicki came down to Carbondale the first weekend we took possession of the house. Unlike Matt, his dad really likes yard work and is darn good at it too. While Steve, Matt and Jack went to town on the yard, Vicki pulled wallpaper stripping duty. I had an art show the entire weekend, so I had no part in the work. Darn!

In one day, all of the offending weed trees and overgrown shrubs were removed, the gutters were cleaned, ivy was cut away from the house and the leaves were raked!

This picture has nothing to do with yard work. I took this pic of Jack when we were in Budapest this summer. I just love this shot and wanted to include a pic of Jack in this post. Isn't he cute?

During the clean-up they uncovered a gravel patio and walkway that we didn't even know we had! 
We are so grateful for all the work Steve, Vicki and Jack put in at the house and are so grateful that our house exterior is no longer the disgrace of the neighborhood! 

Next week, we'll discuss wallpaper removal. Fun stuff! 

Happy Holidays friends! Ta-ta.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We bought a fixer - Part 1

 Hi There! How are you? 
Can you believe there are just 12 days until Christmas Eve? Insanity! 
So, the day we got back from New Orleans, we closed on our new house.
 And the work began.... You see, this house is a fixer!

The previous owner had not done any yard work in the last 3 years. 
Though you can't see it in these images I grabbed from Google Maps street view, ivy has taken over! 

Everything was overgrown! Weed trees galore. 
Ivy was growing all over the house and had even grown into the window screens and shutters.
 There were burning bushes that were totally obscuring the picture window. 

The house is huge and has good "bones", but it is totally outdated and covered in smelly carpet.
We've got big plans for this front room. Stay tuned.

The guest bath is one of the worst rooms in the house.  Carpet, ancient brown lowboy toilet, and a pink tub. Eww! 
This room is getting an almost total gut job. After first seeing this bathroom I vowed I would never live in this house!
 Matt had to do a lot of convincing for me to agree to put in an offer on this one.

The kitchen is huge and really is in quite good shape. It's just not our style at all!

This room, as it appears here, is already a thing of the past! 
Our roofer removed the entire kitchen and will be reinstalling it in another house. 
(Felt good that it got recycled!) Work on our brand new gourmet kitchen begins in January. Can't wait!

That's all for now. Come back next week for some early reno/demo pics. Ta-Ta!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Weekly iPhoneography - New Orleans Edition!

Hi there. How are you?

I apologize for the tardiness of this post....It's been a little crazy around here. 

In the past week: 
  • We bought a house (yes!)
  • Hosted Matt's parents and son for a visit
  • I had an art fair
Very exciting stuff! The house we bought is a fixer and Matt and I plan to blog regularly about our renovations. Please stay tuned! 

Now back to our regularly scheduled post.... NEW ORLEANS! 

Matt and I took the Amtrak right from Downtown Carbondale into New Orleans. 
Though it was a long trip (14 hours!) it was quite relaxing and scenic. 


 We got a great view of Lake Pontchartrain in the last hour of the trip. 

We stayed right in the French Quarter. It feels so European there....Love it! 


We did our fair share of exquisite eating and drinking!

We also did plenty of shopping and sight seeing! 

Great trip with great friends! Can't wait to go back!