From Paper to Stripes

Way back in the 80’s when “big hair” was in, “Take on Me” by Ah-ha blared across the radio and MC Hammer pants were a must have, wallpaper was all the rage.

Maggie and I enter into many homes where people say, “What was I thinking!” But back then, wallpaper was in. Now, 20 years later we’re getting many calls to, “PLEASE! COME TAKE IT DOWN!”

Customers will often ask us, “Do you like taking paper down?” Our answer, “Yes!” I know, I know, we’re crazy right, but it really is the one of our favorite (job related) things to do.

We have run into paper that takes days to remove. Little tiny pieces, one by one, painstakingly removed by hand! Okay, so those jobs aren’t much fun, but others come down in whole sheets, just like butter and those are a blast. But about 75% of wallpaper removal jobs we do fall somewhere in the middle. Medium sheets are peeled off, usually taking a couple hours to a day to remove.

Maggie and I usual race each other, seeing which one can get the paper off first, and if I had to be honest, she usually wins. She’s much more patient then I. And you know, that’s our secret weapon in wallpaper removal.

Over the years we have heard about and tried A LOT of recipes, concoctions, and techniques to remove paper. Some we’ve made from scratch and some we bought at the hardware store, but nothing has worked better than a whole lot of patience (and some water).

Maggie has become a master at prep work too. Let’s face it, most of the time people put the paper up because the walls looked terrible in the first place! Plus, no matter how good you are at taking paper down, there is always going to be “stuff”, that’s why the prep work is so important.

As you can see from the after pictures, Maggie does a fantastic job at masking all the imperfections.

Wendy opted for stripes in her dining room, looking for a way to join her family room (blue) and living room (green). We removed the paper, prepped the walls, and painted a base coat of Pittsburg: Dove White, and let it dry over night. The next morning we made 5” stripes using Frog Tape and then painted the stripes with a small chubby roller using Smoke 2122-40 by Pittsburg Paint (

A very classy end result I think.

We also redid her upstairs bathroom.  Again, the paper had been up for years. This paper took a little more time to come down.  Usually that's the case in a bathroom anyway, because the steam and moisture causes the paper and glue to contract and react. She used the Smoke in this room as well.