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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Guest Bathroom: Cleanin' Up and Wallpaperin' Down

Wallpaper, you say?!  What ever could she mean, WALLPAPER??  But let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

First off, the cleaning up part of the title.  During the almost three weeks that Mr. Great Indoors spent working on the drywall in the guest bathroom, our entire house was covered in a thin film of construction dust.  I did try to keep things generally dusted, but all it took was one minor sanding session on the drywall patches and it all came back.  I felt like Pig Pen most of the time, and with all the construction equipment scattered around, the house also looked like him.

Image here

The kicker is that in order to paint, all that dust has to be gone.  So much of the last few nights has been spent cleaning.  I needed first to get all the construction dust out of the room, so I hauled the vacuum cleaner into the bathroom and used the duster attachment to vacuum every surface of the bathroom (while wearing a face mask and ear plugs-- already loud vacuum + bare concrete = extremely loud vacuum).  This is where a shop vac would have come in handy, but we work with what we have.  Two extended vacuuming sessions equaled a very dirty vacuum, so I hauled it outside and cleaned it up.  Yuck.  No pictures for you of this process, but I'm sure you can imagine. 

Then I set to wipe down the walls, which was a tad tricky because of all the patches.  If you get a drywall patch wet, it ceases to be a patch and becomes a wet mess.  And then we have to start the patching/sanding/cleaning process all over.  No thanks!  So I took a damp rag and wiped all the wall I could.  By the end of it, I no longer felt like Pig Pen!

Okay.  Now for the wallpaper.  Remember that nasty spot above our tub (absolutelynotmyfault) that was hidden behind the previous wallpaper?

I hinted last week that we had figured out a work-around.  As much as I hated removing the existing wallpaper, I couldn't bear the thought of poor Mr. GI patching any more drywall.  So, taking a cue from the original builders, we opted to cover up this junk with wallpaper.  But this time we'd do it right.  I had beadboard-textured wallpaper on hand from our master bathroom nook project a few summers ago.  It's the blue background of the nook, although it's a bit tough to see here.

I started by priming the walls around the tub (a novel concept in this home, I know).

(Hey, it's me in a picture!  I promise I do take part in projects in this house.)

And then I prepped all my materials, including the wallpaper, straight edge, utility knife, and a tub full of water.  Oh, and I had a plumb line hanging from the ceiling to help me hang the first few strips of paper (I fashioned it from twine and a sewing bobbin... so official).

After cutting each of my six strips to size, leaving a few inches extra that I could trim off, I carefully and nervously hung each strip of wallpaper.  I didn't take any pictures here (I was working over a full tub of water, remember) but I basically just followed the wallpaper package instructions, which were to soak each strip for 10 seconds, apply it with the straight edge (using the plumb line to make sure the strip was straight), and trim the excess paper with my utility knife.

Here's the "after" last night:

And this morning after it had some time to cure:

I only have a few tips from this process.  Remember that your walls probably aren't square, so don't base your first strip off the corner or your pattern will be crooked.  Also, even beadboard wallpaper has a right and wrong direction.  I imagine that with floral or other patterned wallpaper it's pretty easy to see the direction it should be hung, but I didn't think about it with this wallpaper until I had two beadboard textures end up too close together with the ends of two strips.  No big deal, and I'm sure no one else but me will notice it.  But something to keep in mind if you're doing more wallpaper than I was.

The only tricky part was the shower head.  I planned to have two strips on this wall, with the strips meeting in the middle of the shower head.  I pre-measured each strip before soaking it and cut a small straight line where the strip would go behind the shower head.  Then when I went to hang the strip I could slip it behind the disgustingly dirty shower head...

... trim the excess paper...

... and hide it behind the shower head cover!

I have to wait 24 hours before I paint it, so I'll paint everything else tonight and just wait for the wallpaper to cure before getting to that section.  That's right-- I'm painting TONIGHT!  Woohoo!  Which is great because we're on the downhill slope to making this bathroom habitable by the time our weekend company comes into town on Friday (knock on wood).  Whew.  Just paint, floor, and reinstalling the vanity and toilet to go for now!  Obviously, the trim and other pretty stuff will come afterward.

Who else has been making progress in a drawn-out project recently?  Any wallpaper hangers out there?  I'm glad I didn't have to do an entire room; just hanging above the tub was pretty easy, although logistically interesting.

P.S.  RIP to our laptop, which now has a fried power system thanks to the exploding power cord and will never charge again.  Awesome!  Thankfully, Mr. GI ordered us a hard drive enclosure so we can access all the files and pictures on the laptop's hard drive, so all is not lost.  FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.

Follow along with the rest of our bathroom adventures: our dream, the before, mildewwww, every day we're drywalling (what a terrible pun), the our thrifted finds so far, ripping out wallpaper, making up my mind on a wall color, rehauling the vanity, an updated to-do list, a teaser of the floor, plus my Pinterest boards for the guest bathroom and master bathroom.


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  2. Looks Great! I am a big fan of the paintable wallpaper, we used it for a somewhat temporary backsplash in our kitchen. I can just picture you trying to hang it over a tub full of water. Convenient yet so not, at the same time! Can't wait to see how it looks like when it's painted!


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