The past few weekends we've been all about stripping wallpaper in the upstairs bedrooms. Yes, we are doing it "green" -- using only a steamer with water, no chemicals. The steamer actually works like a charm. There are about 5-6 layers in each room, but they're all paper, so the steam is able to get through it very effectively once we score the paper. We'd be in much worse shape dealing with vinyl. It's satisfying seeing the stuff fall off the wall in soggy sheets.
This work has really tapped into my life-long penchant for archaeology. It's fun, and a bit eerie, to see the different layers reveal themselves. It's a window into the house's past. In the photo below, you can see how one of the old layers in the smallest bedroom featured boys floating around in boats. The little boy's room, circa 1950! It looks like the walls of both the bedrooms we've done so far were originally painted gold-yellow, then mossy green. Then decades of wallpapering began.
We should be done with this work in the next three weeks or so. Heretofore unbeknownst to me, wallpaper stripping holds a mysterious appeal to others of our generation. So a couple of friends have been/will be helping us get this work done. Special shout-out to Fran and Jeff.
The plaster is in pretty bad shape, cracked in many places and with patches missing, but I'm hopeful that our contractors can patch it effectively.
Dan's parents came over this weekend too and helped out a TON with the backyard. The most exciting part of this work was the rediscovery of a completely intact stone patio just off the back porch. Again, urban archaeology, cool. The stones are all in perfect condition - they just need a little washing down. (Photos forthcoming!) They also tore out some old weeds and tree saplings from a small planting bed near the porch. They were able to save about a half dozen rose bushes, ferns and a hosta.