Monday, July 6, 2009

The Surprises Along the Way

And the surprises in a 100 year old house are never good ones.

The wallpaper scraping in the bedroom is finished and for the most part the plaster is in decent shape.  I had high hopes of painting today, but those were dashed of course.  Here are some photos of the horrors I described in the last post:

This is where the plaster cracked and the PO's decided to put spackle or joint compound or something over the crack, over the wallpaper and then put a new layer of wallpaper over the whole mess.  This method was used for every minor crack in the room and as you can imagine it is hard to scrape off.  The thing is that there isn't a single crack in this room that is wide enough or offset enough to require this, a new layer of paper would've covered everything perfectly.

The most annoying thing by far is the decision to patch any plaster problems in this house with drywall and then papering over the drywall without priming it so you can't strip the paper off.  I just feel like mixing up some plaster and slapping it up there is way easier than dragging a whole giant sheet of drywall home and cutting off a small piece that sort of vaguely matches the shape of the problem area and then gobbing joint compound and mesh tape in the gaps and then having it not look that great so you end up putting wallpaper over the whole bumpy nightmare.  This is the worst one, they didn't even scrape the wallpaper away so they were taping and spackling the drywall patch to the plaster.  They just patched it to the wallpaper and hoped that the wallpaper bond was good.  Unfortunately, I'm just going to perpetuate the mess because I know that if I take that patch out I'm going to find at least another week's worth of work and I know that makes me a bad restorer, but there is a point where it's like pulling at a thread on a sweater and before I know it the house is laying in ruins around me.  I did scrape the paper off and I'll put a layer of finish plaster over the whole thing so hopefully it won't be noticeable and long after I'm gone someone will discover what I did and complain about it to everyone.
There is another annoying thing that I didn't take a photo of because it's just not that exciting, but someone pounded drywall anchors into the plaster that we are having a hard time digging out.  They may have to just stay there and then I'll push a piece a piece of furniture in front of them.

So here's what the walls look like now, there's a little paste left that needs to be wiped off, and then some finish plaster and then paint.  Hopefully soon we won't feel like we're sleeping in a prison and we will have a restful sanctuary like all of those home decoration shows tell me I should have.

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