let there be light! and carpet!

So this weekend I finally got around to cleaning up the wallpaper mess in the livingroom. At least the stuff on the floor. I went and got some cleaning supplies at Lowe’s and had planned to actually start scrubbing the wall, but I never got around to that. Even just picking up all the stuff off the floor makes the room look a million times better.

The room has looked like this for the past few months:



I would pick up the bulk of the wallpaper every once in a while, but it was still an eyesore with all the bits that would stick to the plastic sheeting.

So I cleaned it all up. My goal was to clean off the plastic and keep it to reuse it, but that idea got scrapped real fast and it ended up in the trash. I figured I got 6 months use out of it, I could throw it away.

I actually can hardly notice how ugly the wall is now that the floor is so clean!

Now if you thought that was exciting, wait ’til you see this! (Note: I realize I am the only one who cares about either one of these things, but humor me!)

naked light switches

This is what my kitchen looked like in April. And yesterday. Since the switchplates were wallpapered over, I threw them away and bought new ones. But, the lightswitches were almond, and dirty almond at that, so I refused to put the white plates over them since I figured they would never get changed.

Fast forward 6 months later…

ugly, uglier, ugliest

The switch on the far left was the dining room dimmer switch. Except the dimmer part never existed. I always felt like I was being mildly electrocuted when I touched that thing. One of the outlets look like it was painted over and then re-dirtied. Such a mess.

I enlisted Keith’s help for this one and though some were a little tricky, in maybe 30 minutes(?) we had them all done.

And they are BEAUTIFUL. Here, look at my light switches.

he looks a little crooked, but I DON’T CARE.


someone (me) forgot to buy that kind of outlet, so he has to stay almond for now. the bottom white screw was also too long due to the wonky hole in the tile, so I have to repaint that one white.


I am most excited about this one since it is the most used and was a gaping hole for 6 months. (still need to caulk between the wall/door)

also really excited for this one, since we attempted to change it once and the plug was sort of hanging out of the wall for months. (safety first!)

and a dimmer that dims! instead of electrocuting! and almost makes the wallpaper look not-so-bad, right? (wrong.)

So two very minor (<1 hour) projects that make so much of a difference! Hooray!


We also spent some time discussing the pantry, I want two more shelves in there, which Keith will be installing for me. Then I’m painting it and I can finally organize it instead of just throwing everything haphazardly in there. And I can hopefully re-organize my kitchen cabinets when that happens because oh man do they need it.

Probably the most boring post of the year, but it happens.


it’s done! it’s done! it’s done! (sort of)

So this weekend I decided to tackle more wallpaper. I hadn’t even walked into the living room since Labor Day weekend, so it was high time I got back into it. I woke up around 10ish on Saturday and walked downstairs and filled/plugged in the steamer. I ate some breakfast while the water heated and was probably in there working by 10:30.

When I last left off, the wall of doom looked like this.

never ending wallpaper

I worked for about 4 hours on Saturday, refilling the steamer once. By the time I ran out of water the second time, Keith was almost home and so I called it quits for the day. Instead I went outside and raked for a good hour. Keith was driving the tractor around picking up leaves and then I’d rake them all away. It was sort of exhausting.

This was what I had left on Saturday:

so close!

excuse the blown out picture.

Sooooo close! I decided I had to finish on Sunday. So I woke up this morning and got back to work. We had to leave at 2 to pick up my in-laws’ dogs, so I set a goal to be done by 1 so I could shower.



I came downstairs after my shower and told Keith, “All the wallpaper is gone!!!…Except for the stuff all over the floor…” I don’t like to clean up right after I finish steaming because the wallpaper is sopping wet. So I’ll do that tomorrow-ish (maybe) once it has had a chance to dry. Next step is scrubbing down the walls to get rid of the leftover glue which will probably be a multi-day project in itself. Then I can fill the millions of holes and eventually, maybe (one day this year), I can paint!

Aside from the fact that my thumb and index finger on my right hand hurt to the touch, I am soooo happy to be (sort of) done with the stupid wallpaper! The only room left in the house with wallpaper is the dining room and it is only the upper half of the walls. I am hoping that since the kitchen and living room were such terrors, the universe will give me a break on the dining room and it will peel off in sheets.


21st grade

So it’s that time of the year again. School is in session. And there goes all my free time. Actually, only of of my classes started this week, Intro to Microeconomics. I know. Snoooooooze. Thankfully it is online and will consist of 7 quizzes and 3 projects. It seems pretty straight forward so far. I had a question about the reading and my professor responded to my email within the minute, so that’s pretty reassuring.

My other class, Basic Digital Photography is held at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and doesn’t start until next Thursday. I am incredibly excited, but also really dreading it because it’s 6-9 at night. Boo.

Last weekend, I asked Keith to help me with the living room wallpaper some because I knew it would be the last free weekend for a while.

We made some progress.

this was what we started with Saturday

where we gave up Saturday

Some progress. Not a ton. It’s kind of horrible that it is not much faster with one person vs two since we only have one steamer. There is not too much left, but there is also probably a 2ft wide piece of wall on the other side of that door, so there is still a bit to go. And once it comes down we are left with this:

leftover glue/chunks/ew

So the wall will have to be scrubbed down big time and patched before I can even think of painting.  Sigh.  At least after this is done, there is only half a room worth of wallpaper left (the dining room). I’m also extra thankful we didn’t end up in the first house we looked at. There was wallpaper in EVERY room. I would have died.

This weekend Keith and I are going camping and taking Daisy! There’s a chance of rain 2/3 days that we’re going, so cross your fingers that holds off. I will hopefully have lots of pictures to share once we get back!

it gets worse before it gets better…

At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Keith went out of town this weekend and aside from some babysitting, I had only one goal in mind: tackle the living room. The last time I touched anything in the living room was in April. My friends Ryan and Seth came over one night and attempted to help remove the wallpaper.  We didn’t get very far.


Seth, me, Ryan

This was shortly after they got here (photo stolen from my mom’s camera). That yellow thing is a clothes steamer. I would steam and they would scrape.


Ryan, me, Seth

This was two hours later. At that rate, I was sure the living room was going to take weeks. Keith’s step-dad saw the time we were having and went to Lowe’s and bought us a real wallpaper steamer, but I was so over wallpaper at that point that I didn’t touch it until Friday. I sort of regret waiting so long now because it is a dream to work with!

ugly wall

The spot on the left is what was done by three people in 2 hours (in April), the spot on the right is what I was able to do by myself in 2 hours Friday night.

more progress

I spent another ~2 hours this morning and was able to get that far. It might not actually take a year! When I first found there were 5 layers of wallpaper on that wall, it was too late to just paint over it and I considered knocking down the wall just to not have to deal with it. The actual wallpaper steamer and a 1″ putty knife (to scrape) really make all the difference though.  And all the mess.


10lbs of wallpaper


The white marks are where the grey paint came up to reveal plaster. The brown = 60 year old wallpaper glue. Ugh. One of my more annoying discoveries was that they put all of the molding on top of the wallpaper. I thought that just the dental molding was on top and was trying to pry it up so I could get all the wallpaper when I found that it goes all the way up to the ceiling. There is no way that I am removing the molding (just to put it back) so I will have to figure out some way to mask the fact that the molding is probably 4mm off the wall.

I can not wait to finish this task. Luckily we don’t really use the living room but you see it when you come into the house/go upstairs/are in the dining room and it is currently so so so ugly. Luckily that’s also some motivation there. Don’t want to keep looking at that disgusting wall. I will conquer you yet, wallpaper.


blue in the face

 This past weekend I painted the bedroom. It’s a pretty huge room (16×14) but I did luck out since it looks like the ceiling had been painted pretty recently so I got to skip that horrible step. It took me about 9 hours spread out over 3 days and that doesn’t even include the trim. That has to wait. The previous paint job was very sloppily done, I even found an earwig painted into the wall! Ugh. There was a bright spot though. While removing outlet covers, I found this:


Oh hey, teeny heart wallpaper! I am very very thankful that they at least took that down. I’d take 23 earwigs on the wall before I’d want to rip down more wallpaper. Now for the fun stuff, here’s a reminder of what the room looked like when we first saw the house:



Very, very beige. I’m not into beiges/taupes/off-whites in any form, though the previous owners LOVED them, in all shades, in all rooms. My preferred neutral is grey, so room by room, I am banishing the beige.


This was the room after the first night. I felt like I was sleeping in a haunted house or squatting or something. See that white piece of wall/ceiling over the window on the right? I went back and forth for DAYS (even before I started painting) trying to decide if I wanted to leave it white and pretend it was ceiling or paint it blue and pretend it was wall. They had obviously pretended it was ceiling and it sort of drove me crazy. I thought it might look different when everything was blue so I left it momentarily and it drove me even more insane, so I painted over it the next day. I think it was the right choice.


master bedroom

That hope chest was built by Keith’s grandfather and painted by his grandmother. (It has his initials and year of birth on it, I love it!)

Also don’t mind the dog toy holding open the door, Daisy won’t play with them so we need to use them for something.

I took the pictures at 7pm, so they are a little dark (but still pretty accurate) but I LOVE IT. The room feels so peaceful and calming. The color is Martha Stewart – Washed Denim, the actual paint is Behr Premium Plus Ultra (which all my paint is and I’ve been really happy with it, paint + primer in one rules). So far I am 3/3 for loving the paints I have picked out! Guess I have a knack for paint! 😉 It makes the doors/trim pop like the beige never could and I think it even makes the green carpet look not-so-green (which is a huge plus).

My one annoyance with the whole thing was that the Home Depot guy swore up and down that I would need two gallons of paint for the room and I just barely used one! I am either really good at painting or they are scam artists. Never again buying more than one gallon at a time since I now have two untouched gallons of paint (the kitchen and bedroom). They are distinct enough colors that I don’t really want to use them in other rooms, so now I don’t know what to do with them and have 70$ of paint just sitting there. Blah. So if anyone needs a gallon of Martha Stewart – Washed Denim or Behr – Embellished Blue, I’ll give you a discount!

We still need a bed and some other furniture and I can’t stop thinking that our nightstands need some chrome lamps, but the paint is a huge improvement.

I told myself that after I painted the bedroom, I HAD to get back to the living room and the wallpaper. So that’s my next project. Blah.

dining room

The dining room is to the left when you walk in the front door.

dining room

Keith and I were both pretty excited to have a dining room after eating dinner at the coffee table for 3 years.

dining room

dining room

dining room built-in

And the pictures of the dining room are still pretty accurate because we bought their furniture. (The china closet and built in are completely empty though because I don’t (yet) have knick knacks.) They offered to sell the furniture to us and while it’s not quite my style, it works for the time being. We got the china closet, buffet, table (with 3 leaves) and 6 chairs, and the rugs in the dining room and entry way for 450$. Pretty good deal considering you might have been able to buy one of those things for that price. And now I’m not in a mad rush to find the perfect dining room furniture.

My favorite thing about the room are the hardwood floors and the wainscoting. And the windows. There are 4 windows and they bring in a ton of light. The wallpaper isn’t even that offensive. But since wallpaper in general offends me, it will be going. Someday. I do love the dark blue in there so much that I bought paint similar to that.

It’s Azurite by Martha Stewart and it’s gorrrrrrrrrrgeous. That picture makes me want to add some sort of pink/coral to the room.

So the plans for that room include:

-eventually ripping down that wallpaper (but I am not in any hurry)

-painting everything that is off white – WHITE (these people loved their creams and taupes, blech)

– I would like to spray paint the chandelier a silver of some sort, I don’t dig brass.

– I think I’d like to try to frame out that built-in, it looks sort of incomplete.

-Some sort of window treatments for the windows. Two of them face woods but two of them face the street and that weirds me out.

-Replace the furniture/rugs with something more modern, also in no hurry.

living room

The living room was one of my favorite things about the house from the very beginning. It is huge (23×16, I think), it has a fireplace, it has great dental molding, and it has two awesome built-ins.

Here are the before shots of the living room. (Again, all furniture belongs to the previous owner, I didn’t think to take pictures when it was empty, so ignore everything that isn’t nailed down.)

 living room (door to family room)

The living room is to the right when you walk in the front door. This is from that doorway. The open door on the right leads to the family room. See my pretty built-ins!

living room

This is looking back to the entry way with my (working) fireplace! Also a cute little closet that they kept books in.

 living room (door to hall/kitchen)

That open door leads to the hallway that leads to the kitchen.

Now the living room doesn’t need a lot done, just remove the wallpaper and paint. Oh and we want to replace the fireplace inset because it is manual and that scares me and it is ugly. And I have visions of building a window seat between the built-ins.

So while waiting for some kitchen paint to dry, I decided to find out what was under that lovely flowered wallpaper.

Surprise! More wallpaper! This is a lovely green/orange straight out of the 70’s. The good part was (on this wall) layer 1 pulled right off in huge sheets. The bad part was

There are 5 layers of wallpaper. Layer 3 is this gold metallic super thick wallpaper. It has some sort of thick almost-cork/cardboard/wood backing to it. It is bizarre. And horrible.

More good news: it is only on this wall. The other three walls only have the flowery layer 1 on them. More bad news: it took my mom and I over an hour to clear that spot which was maybe 8 inches across?

Friday night I got some reinforcements in the way of my friends Ryan and Seth and my father-in-law. FIL worked on the other 3 walls, Ryan and Seth worked on the 5-layer wall. After about 2.5 hours…this is what my living room looks like:

Don’t even ask what that black stuff is or what I’m going to do about it.




Ahh, bare wall..

And this was a small portion of the mess the 5-layer wall made.

The wallpaper felt like wet, crumbled leaves since the only way it would come down was with liberal steam and even then it would only flake off.

I foresee this taking weeks to reach plaster. Luckily we have a game room which holds the tv and hopefully the couch, so this room will be empty until we buy more furniture.

kitchen: after!

Well, the kitchen is complete! It took a whole lot longer than anyone would have guessed, but that’s usually how those things go.  It took over a day to remove the wallpaper. The flowery stuff came off pretty easily, but the blue gingham stuff on the bulkhead was the devil incarnate. And I am no longer friends with the previous owners thanks to this little surprise.

devil wallpaper

That is wallpaper above the sink. It was not only impossible to get to thanks to its location above the sink and behind a board, it was impossible to get off. I probably spent 3 hours working on that and my mom had to finish it. I think my neck is still broken due to the horrible acrobatics necessary to reach it.

Two of the other obstacles are visible in this photo:


The first obstacle was the wall to the right of the stove. That lovely green stuff is a skim coat of plaster that was chipping off in giant sheets. Painting over it would have been a horrible idea, so my MIL chipped off everything that would come off (and it was a lot) and then had to spackle the entire wall. Then it had to dry and be sanded down before we could paint there. That took more than a day for all those steps. The second obstacle might not be that easy to spot so let me zoom in a little for you…


Ahhh, this little electrical box was just wallpapered right over so imagine my surprise when I finally got the devil wallpaper down and found that. The wiring inside looks ancient so I’m sure wallpapering right over it wasn’t the safest thing. I’m calling this an OHS. Old house surprise. And I’m sure there will be plenty more.

So here are some in-progress shots of the kitchen…

kitchen in progress

kitchen in progress

Ahhhhh. It was so nice having that wallpaper off the walls. I felt like I could finally breathe in there. I was almost happy enough to just leave it like that.  Haha. Just kidding.

Now the good stuff. The afters. In just 3.5 days with a few gallons of paint and a lot of elbow grease, we were able to turn my kitchen into this:






I am truly in love. The teal cabinets might not be everyone’s cup of tea but they are everything I ever wanted and I don’t think I could possibly love them any more than I do!

Now for funsies, a quick before/after:




Looking at the befores I feel like I am suffocating. (Also don’t mind the lack of switch plates, we need to switch out the light switches and outlets because not only are they almond they are super duper grimey/nasty. So those will be replaced and then covered with some fresh white plates.)

I have to give a lot of thanks to both my mom and my mother-in-law. Without them, I would probably still be up there scraping wallpaper. They were a huge huge huge help and it was also a lot of fun to work with them! Love ya both!

And I feel as sleepy as Daisy looks so I’m calling it a night.


kitchen progress

So we have been super busy at the new house and I have barely had a chance to sit down, let alone sit at the computer, but I figured I’d throw something up real quick because I am so excited!

The kitchen is nearing completion so hopefully I will be able to do a full reveal after, but here’s a sneak peek!

This was our lovely kitchen doorway before:

kitchen before

This is after removing the hippie wallpaper…

kitchen progress 1

(Hi mum!) And thissssssss is the after for that portion! The rest of the kitchen is very exciting but even this just makes me soooo happy!

kitchen progress 2

(I believe this was only the first coat, and the shelf needs another coat so don’t mind any splotches.)

I’d say it’s a definite improvement! And wait til you see the rest!

kitchen: before

So due to the closing date and very unsympathetic landlords, our lease on our apartment goes until the end of April. In some ways, this is annoying ($$$$), but in other ways it is nice, namely so that we can take our sweet time moving.

Of course we do want to get in there soon because new!house! and to be rid of the small dog symphony* that happens every morning.

But there were a few rooms I wanted to paint before we got in there because I figured that would be easier. First room: the kitchen.




First things first, the wallpaper. I actually wouldn’t mind the weird hippie-flowery print if it wasn’t everywhere. It would have been okay on one wall, but more than one makes it start to hurt. Also the gingham pattern just adds to the…charm. 

Secondly, no, your monitor/eyes are not deceiving you, the cabinets are pink. It wasn’t until the second time we were in the house, during the inspection, that we realized the cabinets were actually pink. (Note: all before pictures are from the inspection, most things in the picture are not ours, so ignore them.)

And let’s not talk about the weird orange edge of the already ugly track lighting, I’m trying to pretend that all doesn’t exist. Or the weird square of tile backsplash next to the stove.

Luckily we began to take the wallpaper off last night and it was coming off pretty smoothly. My MIL is actually there now removing the rest of it. (She is an angel.)

Now the exciting part.

kitchen colors

The colors! I honestly spent the entire 60 days before closing hemming and hawing over what colors I wanted in my kitchen. I knew I wanted a teal, but finding the perfect teal almost killed me. I finally decided on Behr Embellished Blue with Behr Aqua Breeze. No plans for any lavender as of yet. 

I also want to switch out the hardware and my maybe-somedays include

– tearing out that backsplash. I want something pearly/shimmery/shiny.  

– MAYBE attempting to refinish the countertops (they have some dings/burns)

– replacing the track lighting.

Luckily the floors are new and the appliances are in fine shape so those will be staying as they are. Painting starts tomorrow so hopefully I’ll have some in-progress/after pictures soon!

*About a month or so ago, the dachshunds below us began waking me up around 6am with their barking. They continue to bark/whine/howl/moan all morning. It at least goes until I leave for work, not sure how long it continues afterwards. In a fit of sleep-deprived anger, I actually taped a note to the front door that said something like “to the owners of the small dogs who won’t quit barking – FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE IT STOP.” (Not my best moment.) 😉