Saturday, July 31, 2010

Upstairs Hallway Project: Week One

More than two years ago, my friend Sharkbutt urged encouraged me to get started on fixing the upstairs hallway.  The stairwell and the hallway were papered in old wallpaper; nothing dreadful (which is why it had lasted so long) but the corners had been tattered by certain cats of my acquaintance.  The Shark knew that drove me crazy.

The project was much more difficult and messy than I expected and I quickly lost my will to finish the job.  In my defense, it wasn't exactly as if I was sitting around eating bon bons while the hallway was resplendent in its shabbiness.  And the unsightly hall was upstairs, so anyone who saw it either lived in the house or was invited upstairs, meaning they were expected to love us enough to overlook our disfigured hallway.  As the photos demonstrate, that was a tall order.

The task is on my Life List (#16) and as the rest of the house has started to look better and better, it was time for me to take on the hallway and mean it.  A wallpaper expert taught me that the removal would be easier if it was accomplished in two stages.  Stage one was to strip off the wallpaper; stage two was to then remove the adhesive underneath, using a wet rag and wielding a putty knife, to scrape it away.  It makes for an easier job, though it still requires patience and perseverance.  I could certainly set aside a couple of days to power through it, but I decided to instead take it slow and easy, devoting 60 minutes a day to the work with the hope that I could finish the project before school starts at the end of August.

One reason to complete the project in chunks is the sheer mess of the job.  Even if I had set aside a few days to just get it done, I'd still have to stop every hour or so and sweep away the mess.  For one thing, the detritus makes the stairs slippery.  For another, the wet wallpaper adhesive remains sticky and will easily adhere itself to the floors.  A drop sheet would help, though a slippery sheet of anything on the stairs seems like a very bad idea.

 This past week, while JT was away, I took on the job in a slow and steady fashion.  The first step is to remove the wallpaper and adhesive.  When that is done, I will patch and sand the plaster walls.  Then I will paint the hallway trim and then the walls.  Finally, I will hang some art up at the stairway landing and add an etsy wall decal in the upstairs hallway.  Laid out like this, the chores begin to look rather daunting.  So I'm just going to stick my head in the sand and methodically repeat "slow and steady wins the race."  Eventually, that will get the job done.  The week's progress is pretty good; I'm more than half way through the wallpaper removal job at this point.

Look for weekly updates as the rest of the summer unfolds.  And if you're in town, be careful before you come over.  You could be drafted to help out.

1 comment:

Shark Butt said...

Urged? That might be a little strong.