How Removing Wallpaper is Saving My Sanity

I have taken on a new project – removing the wallpaper in my main bathroom.  It is a beastly job.  My fingernails hurt.  The walls are going to need sanding and touch-up before I can even THINK about painting them.  My neck hurts from looking up for too long.  My arms ache.  My bathroom is a disaster filled with tiny strips of peach and blue country striped wallpaper.  I can smell the faint odor of vinegar, as that is the best way to remove wallpaper, in my estimation.   If I could afford to hire this job out, I would do it in a heartbeat.  So, how is it saving my sanity?  For the answer, I need to back up a couple of months.

After nearly 8 years with my last employer, I was awaiting word of a lay-off in May.  Panic set in – how would we pay our bills?  Could I find another job in this economy?  It’s not a great time to be an interior designer, as people cut back on non-essential spending.  A million thoughts and scenarios rolled through my mind like the credits at the end of a movie.  My husband and I put the brakes on everything, spending money only on groceries and necessities.  Certainly, any home improvement projects we had in mind would need to wait.  After all, we have children to feed, cars that need repairs and bills to be paid.  And, according to the news, this recession is the worst since the Great Depression, and no one is spending money on anything!  Yikes!

I have been looking at peach and blue country-style striped wallpaper in my 1920’s home for the past 7 years.  This was my year!  After painting nearly every other room in the house, removing wallpaper in bedrooms, replacing window treatments and ripping out carpet in favor of the original wood floors beneath it, it was FINALLY time to tackle the dreaded wallpaper-removal project in the bathroom.  Believe me, the bathroom needs more than a new coat of paint to be my dream space.  However, since the sky is falling, and we are all in economic hell, those improvements would have to wait.  Wouldn’t they?

My "before" shot.

My "before" shot. Most of this is original to our purchase of the home - and definitely not my style!

As spring turned into summer, and I began my lay-off, I started my own design business.  My wallpaper project was put on the back burner once again – I didn’t have the time and I didn’t want to spend money on paint.  My family has saved every penny possible – no vacations or extras this year.  But, the more I looked at my peach bathroom wallpaper, the more I realized how much I NEEDED this project.  I decided I could, indeed, spend money on a bucket or 2 of paint, and spend some time scraping wallpaper off my walls.  I needed this project to feel like life is moving forward; I have been smothered by bad economic news, worry about my new business, stress and the feeling that we have a long time to wait before things improve.  When I took hold of that loose piece of wallpaper that has been taunting me for 7 years, and tore it loose from the wall, I felt hope!  Hope that we could survive, and even succeed, in this economic time.  Hope that I am improving my surroundings, so I can enjoy my home even more, and add to the value of my home.  Hope that others will want to do the same, and will hire a professional to help them achieve their goals.

The sky is not falling.  In fact, there are signs that the economy is starting to recover.  All I know, is I NEED to move forward.  I am excited that I am the owner of my own design company, and I am confident that I can succeed.  I need to keep my eyes forward, and not worry about the latest economic predictors and worries.  I can afford a bucket of paint.  That bucket of paint will update my bathroom.  It’s not the only thing my bathroom needs, but it’s a start.  And it keeps me moving forward.  That’s what I need right now, and I know that is what you all need, too.  What is the project that will move you forward?  And, how can I help you get there?


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Filed under Interior Design News, Just for Fun, New Projects

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