Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Armstrongs V. Wallpaper

There are always surprises when buying your first home, especially one that's 116 years old. So far the biggest surprise has been just how many layers of wallpaper were under the the 90's-tastic wallpaper on the walls AND ceilings throughout our "new" home's 3000sq feet. Wallpaper removal of this scale is not for the faint of heart or the weak of arms.

But under all these layers we've discovered beautiful plaster, the work of skilled craftsmen in the late 1800s, well preserved by nearly 12 decades worth of plaid and/or floral and/or striped and/or metallic and/or seashell and/or paisley and/or faux wood and/or Navajo-patterned prints

And though several people recommended we just skim coat over it all and add our own wallpaper or paint layers, my artist heart wasn't content with that idea. There's something freeing about getting down to the soul of an old home, uncovering the original walls and the floors and woodwork and the hidden fireplaces (there are SIX in our house begging to be revealed!) that the original designer intended.

 (Above: The studio after we pulled up the carpet. Below: The studio after I peeled off the top later of green wallpaper and painted the floor....still a work in progress but much better!)
 (Below: The entryway---previously linoleum floors, wood paneled walls, and wallpaper ceilings....now a beautiful "Lincoln Cottage Black".)

Six months into our life in this new old home, we've definitely had to switch from sprint mode to marathon mode. We're restoring this house to its original glory literally inch by inch. Which means every room is in some state of undone and there are scraps of wallpaper littering every floor.

But we're on a mission and thankfully we have allies in our war against wallpaper.

Slowly I'm learning to be content in this marathon, to appreciate progress and keep my eyes on the prize. It's an increasingly beautiful home where we'll continue to raise our three (very soon four) boys, host family and friends, make art, rest, and play.

This post, by the way, is a part of Compass's Starter Stories series. Urban Compass is a real estate platform in NYC that connects folks searching for apartments with the neighborhood that matches their personality and taste. If you're looking for a home in NYC or just want to learn more about it's culturally diverse neighborhoods check out their informative neighborhood guide!

And if you're handy with a paint scraper then come check out our walls. They'd love to meet you : )


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