Sunday, September 15, 2013

Strip Tease

So the battle continues against the pervasive cigarette smells in our new house. We have officially waged war! The wallpaper is coming down, and not a moment too soon! It looks innocent enough, but waves of cigarette odors are emanating from the wallpaper as it's ripped off. So so gross! Fortunately, because there's plaster beneath the wallpaper, it's a hard, less porous surface than if it were dry wall. Plus, it also seems to come off a bit easier than I remember wallpaper coming off of dry wall. We've just needed to use a razor blade to pull off the top layer of wallpaper and a spray of water to loosen the second, backing layer of wallpaper to get back to the base plaster foundation.

I know, I know, I sound as if I'm a total anti-smoking fanatic! I really don't care if other people smoke, but going through this process of trying to clean up all the tar residue has made me truly appreciate what non-smokers breathe in when around cigarettes!

We're continuing to battle the gunk on the banisters, but it looks as if it may actually be the old varnish aging and clumping together—overlain with a layer of tar. Unfortunately, I think the only solution for this is to strip and revarnish the banister. Sigh.

Once we finish stripping and prepping the wallpaper, we're going to paint the upstairs hallway and stairwell a gorgeous rich blue that will play off the grey/blue in the bedrooms and more taupe-y grey downstairs. I can't wait—both for the elimination of the odor and the replacement of the wallpaper with a much nicer, rich color! We'd love to return the baseboards and trim to the original finished wood, but there are so many layers of paint on them right now, that we're going to simply paint them white and leave the refinishing for another phase of home decoration.

The more we clean the house (woodwork, trim, windows, etc.), the more we narrow down the offending sources of the cigarette odor. We've removed all window treatments (which weren't to our taste anyway), are working on the wallpaper, have painted over a lot already, so the only thing left is . . . the carpet! Fortunately, only the stairway and upstairs hallway are carpeted, and when we peeked we discovered beautiful hardwood beneath. We'll need to refinish the floors ultimately, but for now just getting the carpeting up will be a huge benefit!

Just look at how good the floor looks now that the burgundy carpeting is gone!

(the greenish, splotchy wall behind the stairs is the bare plaster that was beneath the wallpaper. Still some more to strip off, but we're almost there!)

Because it hasn't been as much a priority as battling cigarette smells and unpacking things like the kitchen and clothes, I haven't been able to do much in the Sewing Room yet, but I'm excited to have a sewing room in this new house. It's quite a bit smaller than my last one (where I was really spoiled). Do you remember that scene in Star Wars (the first one) where Princess Leia and Luke (and maybe Hans Solo?) were in the garbage room that was compacting and getting smaller and smaller? My sewing room kind of feels like that. The walls are definitely closer together than they were in Utah! Nonetheless, once I get my fabric unpacked and settled in I think I'll have a great space. I started to unpack my fabric, but then worried that it would pick up the cigarette odor (my fabric is sealed in huge plastic bags), so I've left almost all my fabric still packed safely away.

Here's a picture of the space, with only the bookcases set up and plenty of boxes to unpack:

Okay, enough on cigarette smells! We live only 6 miles from the beach, so we've already taken some great, early morning walks on the beach. I love the salty smell of the air and feel of sand beneath my bare feet! So, I'll leave you with a little bit of the beach . . .

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my! I would be soooo miserable through this process - my autoimmune reaction gets set off lickety-split by cigarette smoke. So I can completely understand having to get it all out. This is going to be so neat when you do get all finished. Love the sound of that blue that will go up there.


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