Today I finished the last of the wallpaper removal at Lodestone, stripping the layers of brown paper from the master bathroom. I quickly learned that I needed to change my ways or accept the consequences; this situation required patience and finesse. An alternative might have been to replace the drywall. Here’s an example of what I found as I peeled back the layers:
It turned out there was significant damage from prior wallpaper removal efforts on these poor battle-scarred walls. Although there were at least 3 or 4 layers of brown paper, I was convinced there’d been another layer that had been removed, including the brown backing, as evidenced by the damaged sheet rock beneath all of the layers of papers. I’m not sure how many rounds of wallpaper came and went over the decades, but I did (eventually) uncover the original paper, a sliver left behind like an archaeological relic:
Ultimately, the technique that worked best was: a light scoring, an application of DIF and an over-spray of water. This encouraged the paper to separate from the sheet rock. But, if the sheet rock became soggy, I had to step away, to allow the two materials an opportunity to meditate on where the paper ended and the wall began. Occasionally, when I believed I’d removed all of the paper, when dry again, a spritz of water revealed bits of brown paper still clinging to the wall.
Between the layers of brown paper backing, I found a half-dozen areas that were thick with drywall mud, from past repairs. All of this material was removed. The walls in this bath area will be taped, floated, textured and painted. I trust that this process will be forgiving, and there will be no indication of this sordid history.
During the hours spent teasing the paper away from the wall, I considered the similarity of this process with the analysis and rehabilitation of the human pysche. Most of us would find that getting to our core, teasing away the layers of protection that we’ve built up during our lives, is a delicate process, not to be rushed. Also, unfortunately, most of our cores are probably wounded, damaged, scarred (likely from some form of mistreatment in our early years). Many will go their whole lives, continuing to add layers, never stopping to remove layers. Removing the layers is painful, tedious and not immediately rewarding. But that’s not to say that once we get there, to our core, and we take the additional time to examine ourselves, we can’t heal and rebuild.
I’m in the process of seeking and finding; peeling, poking and prodding the layers, trying to remove all that’s superficial without inadvertently damaging the core. The transformation will be a renewal from within. It may not be pretty now, but I trust the end result will be beautiful.