Remember when wallpaper was all the rage? In the 90’s, one could hardly find a house without wallpaper. In my circle of friends, if you didn’t have any wallpaper in your house, you were on a mission to rectify that. Wallpapering get-togethers were definitely “a thing.” Unfortunately, we didn’t know any Martha Stewart kind of people who could show us tips and tricks to make our visions come to life without angst. If YouTube and DIY shows had debuted, we knew nothing about it. We were on our own, making memories and messes. We just dove in hoping for good results with varying degrees of success.
It seems like every time a friend or I moved, part of the settling-in process included stripping wallpaper to make room for new wallpaper. I was always on the wallpaper stripping team as it required far less skill than being on the hanging team. The worst experiences were those where the previous homeowner had wallpapered on top of wallpaper, or worse, painted on top of wallpaper. I still shudder to think of the foyer that had layers of wallpaper topped by layers of paint. Getting that mess down to the sheetrock again was very labor intensive. Even now, when I enter a house with lots of wallpaper, my upper arms ache. Trust me, I never want to install or remove wallpaper again.
A few years ago, I had some clients that were a ton of fun. They laughed easily and found humor in the mundane. Shopping for a house with them was nothing short of a fun adventure. The fun went far enough that they tried to get us on a television house hunter show. Now that would have been a next-level adventure.
They ended up purchasing a house with lots of wallpaper, as you can see by this picture of their hallway. We had several discussions about wallpaper removal, and we all knew it was going to be quite a task. And once they began the removal process, they discovered that it was layered wallpaper and paint. Shudder!!
Months after they took possession, they sent me the funniest, out-of-the-blue text I have ever received. Along with this picture of their hallway reduced to nothing but studs, the text read, “Stacie, just wanted to let you know we finally got all the wallpaper down.” Hilarious!!
They get the prize for thinking outside the box. Before them, I’d not considered removing drywall to get rid of wallpaper. If the work is just too much to tackle, like when there are layers upon layers of wallpaper and paint, and one has the funds, removing the existing drywall has some advantages. Not only does it allow the homeowner to see the “guts” of the house, it also affords the perfect opportunity to update electrical or plumbing, add electrical outlets, and improve insulation. Obviously, it’s a big, big job to remove drywall to get rid of wallpaper, but for some homeowners, it’s worth it. My clients’ experience opened my eyes to this radical option and since then, when dealing with homes loaded with vintage wallpaper, I’ve asked sheetrock professionals for estimates. For some, like my fun clients, this is the most viable option. I spoke with them a few days ago and they love their new drywall and fresh paint.