The Last Stand Against Wallpaper

Alright, you’re probably tired of wallpaper by now…trust me – so were we.

One of the big treats to ourselves in this house was getting a master bedroom done. Our bedroom in the last house wasn’t very big compared to the room that lives in the big dormer of this house with all the windows. And 2 walk-in closets! Renovating the Master Bedroom also meant we were going to get a new bed and all the fixings! Its rare that a remodeling project comes complete with new furniture and decor in our world. So this was SUPER exciting for me.

Once Dylan got all the wallpaper down there was some repair work to do. Did we mention there was a hole in the wall?

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Hello Neighbors!

Hello Neighbors!

The previous owners had a portable AC unit that needed to be vented and I assume because there are casement windows in this room, they thought it would be better to just cut a hole in the wall to the outside underneath the roofline of the dormer. When we first looked at the house there was an armoire blocking the hole – because it was December so obviously you didn’t need the AC! That right there is logic.

So Dylan patched the hole in the wall and textured the walls to hide the plaster imperfections. Next up was painting more trim bright white like we did downstairs, a new wall color and finally the floors.

Wall repair

Wall repair and texture.

The walls went a soft purple, which is still growing on me and a diversion from most of the greys/blues we’ve used before. But we kept the bedding and decor white and grey, so a little bit of color on the walls seemed necessary. A coat of fresh ceiling paint went up. A new ceiling fan went up, but we ended up leaving off the light fixture because the color of the globe is weird. For now we just use the table lights on the nightstand. And all our clothes are in the closets (sort of – story for another post) with dedicated lights, so it works for us.

How you paint with a toddler on the weekends. This sort of worked.

How you paint with a toddler on the weekends. This sort of worked.

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In all the other rooms upstairs we painted the floors a mint-green color…which is fine. I think we’ve decided we don’t love it, but it works. But in the master we decided to go with something a little bolder. I definitely wanted the master to have a retreat feel from the rest of the house. There is nothing better in my mind than a swanky hotel room – and if I could sleep in one in my own house each night, that is what I want.

So the floors got painted an almost black grey. We used Benjamin Moore floor paint in their oil-based product which I think they’ve now discontinued. It took 2 coats but it dries quickly and I did it during the day while P was at daycare because its pretty stinky stuff.

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Then the fun part of shopping came!

We got a new memory-foam King size bed from local company, Parklane Mattresses, along with some new pillows. These are definitely the people to go to if you’re looking for a new bed. And after sleeping on it for several months, we’re still both huge fans.

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I’ve dreamed of the bedding from Restoration Hardware for years. The duvet was a splurge but its SO soft. Sheets came from Macy’s Hotel Collection, also a bit of a splurge, but seriously – sleeping is the best. And they go on sale regularly, so if you’re patient you can get a decent deal on really great sheets.

We had some long discussions about the curtains – we needed SOMETHING to cover the 5 windows that take up almost the entire wall on the front of the house. The ones that face the street, so all our neighbors can see in if the lights are on. After scouring the web, Restoration Hardware came to the rescue again. They were the only place I could find curtains in a 100″ width which meant we only needed 2 curtains! A standard width would have meant at least 4 panels, and it would have been weird opening them in different places. The linen fabric is sheer enough that it lets in some light during the day, or they are easy to pull open on the sides. But the are definitely private enough for nighttime and block the light from streetlights.

Dylan also custom built the curtain rod out of pipe…of some kind. Something industrial and spray painted it a dark bronze. I was a little terrified it was going to come crashing down and murder us in our sleep, but I’m still alive so I don’t think its going anywhere. Because the span was so long, buying a curtain rod wasn’t really an option.

Last piece was a grey rug my mom and I found at Home Goods. Its super soft and anchors the room. While the dark floors are cool, the rug really helped it feel more cozy while still dark and calming. Here’s the final (for now). We want to build some nightstands instead of our cheap Ikea tables – but they work for now.

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The Good, the Bad and the Dirty

Because we managed to have a few weeks between closing on the new house and needing to be out of our old house, we thankfully could bribe friends and family to help us tackle some projects before we moved everything in. We spent Memorial Day weekend loading a dumpster full of yard debris and the leftover furnishings that were left with the house. Unfortunately, thats often part of the deal when purchasing a short sale. Beggars can’t be choosers.

You know who your real friends are when they just show up in work clothes and start scrubbing your house for you.

I’m looking at you Sam.

2014-05-24 14.27.09I mentioned the cats, but we’re also pretty sure that over the years various smokers lived here, and smoked in the house. And probably due to health issues, the house just hadn’t been kept up with. So saying it was dirty was really an understatement. It was gross. We scrubbed grease and smoke stains off every wall. Took down dusty, musty curtains that were just covered in cobwebs. The flies that have turned the outside of this house into their home is disgusting (and finally under control). There may be a mouse or two living in a bedroom and garage.

I’m not sure how many buckets of pine-sol we went through. That stuff is magic. Pure chemical magic. Oh, and we had the water turned off because as soon as we turned it on at the street there was water leaking from the main down the sidewalk. BECAUSE OF COURSE.

Fortunately, we have nice neighbors so we could fill up buckets with their hose outside.

This is what happened when we started washing down the crown molding. Look away if you are eating.

Crown Moldingmmm, smoke stains

There are still places that need good cleanings. Most of the ceilings need a scrub or coat of primer and paint. Guess what, scrubbing ceilings is not a fun job. So just don’t look up for now.

But its worlds better. We got the yard trimmed back as well. Just keep cleaning…

House Tour

Since that last post was a lot of words, here are a lot of pictures. Some of these are from before it was actually ours to give you the full picture of what we agreed to buy. The previous owner did a better job than we expected of cleaning stuff out of this place, but we still filled up a 30 yard dumpster in a weekend without even trying.

Front EntryHello fireplace! This is the view as soon as you walk in. This room is huge (wide – hard to get a good angle). Lovely mirror…and the house stinks like cats. Awful green wall colors. We’re sold.

Living Room RightView from the doorway to the right into the formal dining room swoon. Bad light fixtures abound. And pink/purple/flowery stained glass!

Living Room Left

And view to the left into the office. Matching ugly light fixture. This room is about 15×30, its huge. And hints of wood paneling to come!


Ah the office. The floors are in terrible shape (throughout). The built-ins are kind of cool, but dated. And the room is all wood paneling. What you can’t see behind me are the original french doors more swooning.

Office French Doors

There ya go – the doors. Plus lace curtains (ick). And the room is nice and sunny due to 3 large windows. Its kind of bay window-ish, but not really.

Dining Room

Alright, back over to the dining room on the other side. There is a funky little hallway area that lives between the den and living room, and also allows access to the kitchen, bathroom, a bedroom and the stairs to the basement and upstairs. Lets play ISpy…bad chandelier, bad stained glass, 80’s wallpaper…I couldn’t even tell you what all is in this room.


And from the dining room, into the Kitchen! The heart of a home! It does have some redeeming qualities. Its at least twice the size of the kitchen in our last house. It has a cute eat-in nook. The sink cabinet is actually a Youngstown piece which is kind of a cool retro thing upon further research, but its in rough shape.

Main Bedroom

And WHOA a bedroom! Were you blinded unexpectedly by that wallpaper? So this is the main floor bedroom which is off the hallway from the kitchen. Its a bad shot because its dark and full of stuff. And I might have been carrying a baby through all this. More sweet lights, huh.


Alright – we have now traveled upstairs (sorry, didn’t have a great picture of the staircase, although we haven’t done anything there so I could go take a picture now…but well, no. See proof of hoarding + cats. Did I mention this house smells fantastic? But you may spy some amazing built-in storage. My husband tried telling me those needed to go at some point to remodel the bathroom, he was very mistaken. Those are another one of the little things that I love about this house. Its amazing and you can’t find them in new homes.

Left BedroomAnother bedroom upstairs (there are 3 upstairs + 1 on the main). Its filled with wood paneling and junk. Poorly caulked ceiling goo. BUT, right to the right of this photo is an amazing walk-in closet and surprise, all the bedrooms have more closet space than I have ever seen. Again, you couldn’t even find this in new homes. Its crazy how much closet space there is and I more often hear that old homes have no storage. This house has tons.

Right Bedroom

Here is the other smaller bedroom upstairs. All wood paneling, but this one with cutesy detailing. Another spoiler alert – we turned it into P’s room and is actually kind of cute. Please send help – apparently I am growing fond of wood paneling.


Are you freaked out yet? I also may have failed to mention that the previous owners were BIG fans of Halloween. So the dead people are fake. This is the master bedroom upstairs. The whole wall (with the blue…shower curtains) is 5 windows that open out. More wallpaper. Definitely a picture taken while holding a baby.

Upstairs Bathroom

And at the other end of the hallway (by the built-ins) is a bathroom. Which is huge. But only has a toilet and sink. But you could also put a twin size bed in there. The ceiling is sloped which creates some logistical challenges for a shower, but don’t worry, where there is a will there is a way. And we have plenty of will. These are like weird, plastic tiles stuck to the wall. They are in the shower on the main floor too, which I don’t have pictures of because its tiny.

Oh my gosh are you exhausted yet?! Did I mention this house is HUGE?


Here’s one quick shot of a small portion of the basement which they did a decent job on the surface of finishing. Except for the whole cat smell thing. And that the basement has been known to flood when it rains a lot and so all this needs to be ripped up and done to Dylan’s standards.

So thats the quick and dirty tour. I’ll be back with project specifics and side by side photos as we go along.