Paint. The easiest and most economical update, but also one of the most daunting. We could name each house by the primary color scheme it held when we purchased. Our small city townhouse, white. Our first suburban home, beige. Our second, gold. And this house, peach (see photographic evidence above).
While we are capable of painting (and in every other house painted the interior ourselves), this 1920’s plaster walled, wallpaper and peach infested space called for help from professionals.
Before World War II, homes in the United States were built with wood lath walls covered with 3 coats of plaster. This process resulted in walls approximately 1 inch thick (compared to the 1/2 inch dry wall of today) that are strong, sound dampening and an R value greater (insulation rating) than dry wall alone. Preserving and repairing the existing plaster not only maintains the historical significance and authenticity of the home, it is also environmentally responsible.
With that in mind, we hired a painter with the patience and willingness to strip the wallpaper and make the necessary repairs to the existing plaster. In the case of rooms with 50 year old wallpaper, the walls had sizable cracks and required a tremendous amount of time and attention. The finished product maintains the feel and quality of the construction, with a fresh and updated look.
This work, although time consuming can be done by any homeowner! If we endeavored on this ourselves we would just be finishing as the kids set off to college, so I am very happy we hired a painter. However, if you are brave enough to do it yourself below are two great articles on the process:
The work in process.
Next Up: Color.