I have been putting off stripping wallpaper but with just a week until the builders start I thought I’d better get onto it.
I have started in the lounge. I had already pulled a little wallpaper off in here when I removed the book shelves. The challenge is that there is an original embossed wallpaper that has been painted over countless times, so it takes a great deal of effort to get the wallpaper steamer to permeate the layers (even with my Paper Tiger – more on that next time). What I hadn’t counted on though was this layer of orange paper that seems to be attached with the Edwardian equivalent of super-glue. In the past someone else has already tried to remove it, as you can see, but they soon gave up and I understand why. There is little that can be done to remove this layer. It is the very first thing that has been applied to the bare plaster and I am wondering if it is an Edwardian lining paper. In fact it might not even be paper as I can’t discern any join lines. It could well be some sort of size, sealant or rabbit skin glue that was put on before the wallpaper. I have used rabbit skin glue in the past to prepare canvasses for oil painting so I wonder if this is a similar thing used to seal the plaster. At this point it looks like I am going to have to paper over this old layer as it is so incredibly stubborn. If I apply too much steam I risk compromising the plaster walls. And my sanity.
I knew that the wall by the window had unstable plaster due to the damp caused by the leaky down-pipe outside. The plaster was so unstable in places that it was beginning to come loose, so I employed my trusty mallet and hammer to remove it (Mark doesn’t like it when I do that). It got quite dusty. Why remove wallpaper when you can just remove the whole wall? Much easier. By the end of the day I had reached around to the other side of the mantelpiece – lots of fiddly corners. Tomorrow I have two huge, uninterrupted expanses of wall so hopefully I will speed up a bit.
Walls to strip:
2. Dining room – though JB says to leave it and paint over. I may take his advice.
3. Ground floor hallway
4. Future ensuite? I am hoping they builders will somehow miraculously be able to tile over the walls…
5. Master bedroom
6. Mark’s future study
8. Main bathroom
Wish me luck!