New House Files, Part 2: A New Evil

Wallpaper is the devil.

Over the past month, my husband and I have been working on the interior of the old house in Willamette, Oregon. Nearly every wall in the house has layers of old wallpaper and old paint on top of that. In some places I've counted three layers of wallpaper and 2 layers of paint.

If the walls had not been chipping in some places, I would have been pleased as punch to just paint over. But, as we plan to make this historic family home ours for years to come, taking the approach of doing a throughout and solid job will save us work in the future.

The front door is beautiful! My husband's uncle refinished it a few years ago.
All of the walls in the house, except the small dining room at the back, were built with 1930's plywood. It was a very hardy material but as we've stripped the wallpaper and paint down to the boards, my mind begins to wonder what we are going to do to repair these walls? Texture and paint? Re-wallpaper? Combo?  I hear that wallpaper is coming back in vogue and it would fit the era of the home, but after hand peeling it off the walls for hours and days on end, forgive me if I'm a little reluctant to put it back on. However, I'm open to suggestions :)

View of front room. A little peek a boo window to the kitchen was built by the great grandfather Pete so he and his wife could chit-chat while she was making dinner.

Front room walls with the large front window to the right.  
In the above picture you can see the baseboards and trim that my father-in-law has been working on refinishing. He had the front room floors refinished after pulling up the old carpet and finding the original wood floors.  They are a soft wood, old Douglas Fir, circa mid 1930's. All of the trim and baseboards in the home are of the same wood. When refinished, they are magnificent. A real treasure. Sadly, they all need refinishing because prior tenants painted them several times. But, after some trial and error, my father-in-law found a recipe for refinishing them and we are all delighted with how lovely they are turning out!

So, what will you be doing on this fine Saturday? Well, you know where I'll be! 

Here's a link to part one of this adventure in case you're interested. 
Cheers, Jenni


  1. I loved seeing this little glimpse into the rough diamond of a house that you are working on. And it is a diamond, you can see that, even just in these few pictures. Douglas fir floors! And even the baseboards are lovely. That little window into the kitchen is the best, it gives the home such character. And the front door is gorgeous!

    I truly commend you and your husband for all the hard work you're doing. I'm sorry you're having to do it, but it will be worth it.

  2. I've always been a wallpaper fan. Hopefully you shouldn't have as hard a time stripping wallpaper off as when several layers were pasted on top of one another.

    Failing that what about textured wallpaper - the sort that you leave on and paint over and then maybe a patterned wallpaper on one wall to create a a feature wall.

    The peek a boo window could double as a serving hatch too.

    It's all going to be so satisfying!

  3. I think you are very smart to just do the hard work now, especially before you're all moved in. Love that front door! The baseboards will look great when they're all finished. I have a friend that refurbished an old house and they used wall paper in some rooms and it looks really nice, just not as easy to change if you get tired of it I guess.
    Hope you get lots done today and are closer to being finished.

  4. I'm not much into DIY, but I shall be very interested to see the garden and what you do with it.

  5. You'll be so glad that you did the work now, while the house is empty rather than trying to "redo" it later. It's almost like building a new house!

  6. If you make up some warm washing up water (fairy or something) into a sprayer bottle this disolves the wallpaper paste making it much easier to get off. We always use wallpaper in the UK, it hides the bad walls, especially in my house. Good luck with all the decorating I know how hard it can be. I do all my own as I don't have anyone to help. When I stripped my doors there were 15 layers of paint on them.

  7. I have loved remodelling in the past if we have done it ourselves but we are still reeling from the large remodel we had a "Professional" do nearly 9 years ago, can't believe it has been that long, WOW!!! :)

    There is always a great sense of satisfaction when you know you have done the work yourself and that it is uniquely yourself :)

    Wishing you all well :)

    Cheers, T. :)

    P.S. I sent you an email about plants :)

  8. That's quite a bit of work! I've had a house with similar multi layers of paint and wallpaper. It was tough going to get it all off. Wallpaper is lovely and always seems a bit more permanent whereas paint can be easily changed. I'm sure whatever you decide will look great!

  9. The old house look like it has alot of old charm, it will be awesome when your done!

  10. Looks like a wonderful place! That door is awesome.

  11. A beautiful home to live in for sure and a lovely sized yard too boot.
    I've lived in and painted 2 older homes and what a lot of work it is. One of the homes we put in the wallpaper that could be painted on, it had a swirl pattern and its soul purpose was to cover up the sad wall underneath.
    The house we live in now has plaster walls and too many layers of paint already so it is difficult to put new paint on. It also has many imperfections but we wouldn't dare put wallpaper up - to remove it from the plaster would be a mess.


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