Reformed Grits


The Never-ending Project
July 3, 2008, 5:56 pm
Filed under: What's she up to now?

I think it was approximately a year ago that on a whim of fury and hate that I started ripping down the heinous “sante fe” style pink, tan, and country blue wallpaper in my children’s bathroom.  In that vicious hour of frenzy I accomplished, oh, about 1 square foot and did nothing more than irritate my poor husband who, bless his heart, has grown accustomed to me. 
About a month or two after that, I whipped out the wall-paper steamer that we bought (supposedly in joint  endeavor with my sister, who now has no wallpaper in her house, lucky dog) and began furthering the mess project. 
Now let me pause to say that Providence has smiled upon me thus far in my house-wide wall-paper pillage.  The first room I attempted, a small extension of my laundry room and sewing room 2nd dining room off the kitchen was painted-over wall paper.  Let me just say, if you paint over wallpaper instead of stripping it before painting it, there is NO way on earth we can be friends.  Everyone says, “You can’t even tell.”  Bull.  You are lying to yourself.  I can walk into any room and tell you if it’s desecrated in such a manner.  I have no patience for it.  So when we moved in to this house 3 days before Christmas, the first room I attacked wasn’t the aforementioned bathroom from hades.  It wasn’t my country blue and rose bathroom, coordinated with flowers and stripes.  It wasn’t even the jewel-toned border in my bedroom.  It was the gold-yellow room that had been previously wallpapered and painted.
And God smiled on this endeavor.  I specifically remember being told by the man at Home Depot that I was “better off re-sheetrocking.”  And I considered it.  But in a “what-have-I got-to-lose” moment, I pulled at a loose corner approximately one hour before I had to pick up my children from school.  With a ray of sunshine from heaven illuminating the place, as the angels sang “Alleluia,” all the wallpaper came off in complete sheets.  By the time I left to get my children– on time I might add– the room was completely and gloriously denuded and the nefarious painted wallpaper was in trashbags in the bins outside. 
On a rampage, and now 6 months into my 7th pregnancy I might add, I tore apart my kitchen for the same reasons.  I tip-toed across the counter-tops and peeled wallpaper with two fingers.  It was glorious.  Next came a small hall bath.  I was on a roll. 
Then came Their Bathroom.  It had not been painted, which I don’t know if this was a good or bad thing, and the paper came off in pieces so tiny I forever was dislodging them from under my fingernails and finding tumbleweeds of scraps rolling across the bathroom floor.  So I’d work on it for an agonizing few hours with the smelly, sweaty steamer and then let it sit.  Like, for months. 
Along the way, I’d say things to my poor husband such as, “Let’s paint Sister’s room!” (again) and he’d say, “Sure!  Just as soon as you finish that bathroom!”  Rats.  He had me nailed on that one. 
I dreaded that job.  I have procrastinated, and put off, and neglected.

Until last week. 

I have so many other things in this house that need to be done, Mr. Grits has finally won, and I have committed to finishing the deed.  I have gotten all the wallpaper off (woot!)  I have sweated and scrubbed and gagged cleaning all the wallpaper paste off the walls, which, let me tell you, requires a strong stomach.  I rinsed off all residue, I’ve spackled and sanded, I’ve taken the mirrors off the walls (those dudes are HEAVY!) and now in another fit of compulsion, decided to paint the dated natural oak bathroom cabinets (with simulated brass pulls!) as well. 

Today I used a deglosser to clean and prepare the surfaces as well as removed all the hardware (which I’m considering painting since they are metal and not plastic.)  Now they are drying with the second coat of primer.  The cabinets will be black with nickel(ish) pulls.  The walls will be a deep (but not too dark) brown.  I have to decide what to do about the light fixtures (which are also brass) because they are just ugly as sin.  I thought about painting them as well but there is a decorative feature to them that screams “Kuntry style!”  I still have time on that. 

So to make a long story longer, I told you all that to say that to keep me motivated and accountable I’m going to post updated pictures as I do things so you can see. 

OH and I forgot the beauty of the whole bathroom set up.  Towels.  They come in mounds down my laundry chute because I took the towel bar down a year ago when I started the project.  My kids would wash their hands, get a whole new towel, and throw it on the floor which consequently went down the chute.   I’m going to get six towels that will go with the bathroom somehow (need a color for some pop but I want towels I can bleach occasionally yet will hide dirt.  Any suggestions?) and I’m going to monogram their names on the towels, and on the long side of the towel in the middle I’m putting a grommet so they can each be hung on their own hooks.  Yes, everyone will have their own hook with their names by them so THEY can be accountable!  If a towel is on the floor, I’ll know whose.  It’s a beautiful thing, and I can’t wait. 

So without further ado, here’s the mid-way through the stripping nasty wall paper pictures. 
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Ignore the little kid below with no shirt on.  I’m sure he’s watching a sibling play on the computer or something.  Don’t you love our “retro” light fixtures?  Yeah, they are going in the trash.  Pretty sure.
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And after the wallpaper was off and the walls were scrubbed…(below)
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4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

We have the towel hooks and I LOVE them! We did a beach theme so everyone has their own beach towel. I always know who hasn’t hung their towel up…yes…it is a beautiful thing.

Brown walls with black…I’m thinking maybe a yellow? or lime green for POP. There isn’t many colors to choose from if you want to bleach them.

Comment by caroline

Wow the light fixtures are BAD!!! Throw those away! HA! ( I still have brass in some of my bathrooms–I just do not notice it anymore) I am impressed with all of your hard work. When we moved in here it was all baby blue and rose and desert pinks too! Just the age of the house I guess. Can’t wait to see the after pictures.

Comment by kent

This makes me tired, just reading about all your hard work! How did you do all of that when you were pregnant??? I can hardly do the laundry, feed my family and keep the kitchen clean… much less even THINK about redecorating. I guess I am a bit further along, though… (35 WEEKS!!)

I can’t wait to see the after pictures!

Comment by Meg

WOW!! I’m so impressed!! I’m kinda confused about the brown walls and black cabinets but I bet it will look awesome! Can’t wait to see the finished product! Just a thought..if you want to have the towels monogrammed I wouldn’t suggest bleaching because it will more than likely make the colors in the threads disappear!! Unless you do the monogramming in white, but then wouldn’t that make the towels fade or change colors?? I don’t know…

Comment by Amanda




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