Week Twenty-Five – Make One Improvement in My Living Environment

Rural accents.

A blind, crack-smoking, ninety year-old farmer decorated the kitchen of the rental house where I live. At least, that’s my theory.

In my mind, I picture her ordering wallpaper. She runs her jittery hands along the braille catalogue, unable to decide between three different patterns: Traditional Grandmother (complete with china sets, large floral print, lace, and hovering magical teacups), Cherry Explosion, and Nondescript Woodgrain. She takes another hit off of her crack pipe and thumbs her overalls in deep concentration. A slow smile spreads across her face. Why choose? She orders all three and then throws in a few rural accent items (roosters) to tie the motif together. Brilliance!

Sadly, the camera phone doesn’t do this justice…

Mixing-wallpaper-patterns-on-the-same-wall-chic.

“Cormac! Say cheese!” “No.” …Yeah, we liked him.

It was peeling everywhere…

The kitchen was one of the first things I noticed when my friends and I walked through the house initially. It’s one of the first things you see as you enter. When we signed the lease agreement, redecorating was first priority on my mind. But first things don’t always happen first. A year later, after signing a contract for another year in this house, it still needed to change.

The initial step to creating this change was to revisit the DIY Mecca itself, Home Depot. I think I have mentioned before how I love this store. Let the record show that my regard has not faltered. Sure enough, my roommate and I found everything we needed and our helpful Home Depot guy, Cormac, mixed us up a mean Daffodil Yellow paint.

May I interject at this point and also reiterate how much I love the magical invention that is YouTube? There was a great “Stripping Wallpaper for Dummies” video that gave me all the information I needed on the process. When we got home, I set to work taping the drop cloth down to catch the mess and mixing up a solution of liquid fabric softener and water to roll on the walls. I then scored the walls with our new Paper Tiger and applied several coats of the mixture.

It was slow-going at first. But I passed the time listening to some great audio books as I applied the putty knife to the glue and paper. Sharon came home after a while and jumped in to help. Thanks to Comcast, we turned on some throwback jams from the nineties and had a lot of fun reminiscing about memories the songs evoked. I learned all about Sharon and her brother chucking wet gobs of toilet paper on the bathroom ceiling and letting them crust there… repeatedly. I told her about how, unbelievably, handsome little Matt Gottfredson’s presence made my adolescent awkwardness even more pronounced. THAT was no small feat.

Some of the songs raised questions in my mind. Like, if it’s true that “in an mmm bop they’re gone”, how much time does that give me, exactly? And, what made Boy George think that “The Crying Game” was a good idea? Or for that matter, what made anyone think that Boy George was a good idea? (Shudder.)

Sharon, hard at work! Circa 2 AM.

Jewell modeling our IKEA curtains

Also around 2 AM. Making progress!

We had so much fun with the project that we decided to ignore the time and just keep going until we were finished. Sharon rolled into bed around 5 on Saturday morning and I followed suit around 5:30. After sleeping for a few hours, I cleaned up the mess from the wallpaper, washed down the walls to remove any remaining glue, and got to work on the painting.

And maybe I patched the holes in the wall with toothpaste. I will not confirm or deny that rumor. But after getting a new drop cloth down, taping, and painting the walls with primer, it was time for the transformation. Several coats of daffodil yellow later, it was midnight again and another day was gone.

On Monday, I went on a quest for something that would establish the fact that a blind, crack-smoking, ninety year-old farmer no longer resided in our house. I stopped by Target, Sears, Bed Bath and Beyond, and finally hit the jackpot at IKEA. I picked up a rug, some curtains, a curtain rod, and an art print in primary colors to compliment our new walls. When I got home, I discovered the curtains weren’t going to work, so my roommate, Jewell, and I headed back to IKEA the next day. After some more shopping, we crammed everything into my Corolla (literally) and finished off the project. This was our result:

Woohoo!

Our friend, Paul, and his drill to the rescue!

Ta DA!

It’s amazing how much of a difference a little TLC can make. There’s a totally different feel in the kitchen now. In fact, it makes the whole house feel better. I learned some new skills and got to experience a great feeling of accomplishment. It was also a fun excuse to spend some bonding time with my roommates. After all, in an mmm bop they’re gone. Maybe I owe that blind farmer my thanks.

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3 thoughts on “Week Twenty-Five – Make One Improvement in My Living Environment

  1. Sarah says:

    First of all, I’m kind of curious to meet that blind, crack-smoking, ninety-year-old farmer.

    Second, I feel for you. Peeling wallpaper is NOT a fun job! I hate wallpaper!

    Third, your kitchen now looks AWESOME!

    Good job!

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