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I haven’t had such a DIY-heavy weekend like this in a while. I won’t be able to cover all of it in one post, so I’ll just focus on the pantry wall area for today. And the best part is, the pictures actually tell most of the story:

pantry progress

(Oh, and I’m technically not going to call this a Dueling DIY post even though it’s about the kitchen… there is more to cover on Wednesday’s update, and I figured this could be a sort of mini-update until then.)  When we last left off about this area in the kitchen, the trim had been painted, leaving only the wallpapered walls left to deal with. I could have/should have done it the other way around (and the right way, by removing the paper before painting trim), but four coats of paint is far less frustrating than stubborn wallpaper, so I guess we’ll chalk it up to my avoidance of something I hate doing even more than painting trim for the umpteenth time. For the last few years, I’ve been steadily removing the wallpaper from every wall in this house, and the kitchen is the very last room with ugly wallpaper in it. And, not to be outdone, the kitchen has proved to also be the most difficult room in which to remove said wallpaper.

To start, I pried the top of the trim off of the door and exposed the underlying frame. Sorry for not grabbing a picture of that part, but you can see some photos below where the top trim piece is missing. And just as I suspected, this also exposed a peeled area of wallpaper that I could take full advantage of and get under to begin peeling the stubborn paper off.

About halfway through the top section, I noticed the reason why this paper was so much more difficult than the other walls in the house:  two ugly layers of paper. The results are less than perfect. I tore plenty of drywall paper off with each peel. It’s exactly as frustrating as gluing three pieces of paper together and trying to pry the first two off without damaging the third (there’s no primer or skim coat on the drywall, so the wallpaper was just pasted directly on top and fused together). Also known as damn near impossible.

But, I’ve been through this before. I could repair it with just a few skim coats. And that’s where this:

Becomes this:

And then this:


Not bad for a weekend’s results, eh? How was your weekend? Do anything productive?

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  1. Hey Sarah! Have you tried one of the many wallpaper removing methods linked up on Pinterest? Young house love did a whole series trying them out on all their many horrid wallpapers. I myself tried the fabric softener one and it worked great. One of those might save you drywall from being shredded!

    1. Yes, I’ve tried several different methods, including fabric softener & a rented steamer (some of my older posts cover the results), but nothing has really worked as far as avoiding damage in this house. I think the main difference is that most standard wallpaper installations include priming the drywall prior to pasting directly on top of it (and in areas where there is a skim coat covering the drywall, the paper comes off quite easily). I’m just unlucky I guess and got the house where they didn’t apply it properly. Thus all the damage. But considering these are the last few walls, I’ll be done soon anyway! Woo hooo!

  2. I thought skim coating was a trade of sorts. The kind of thing that pros can only do. Do you sand between coats? This is where we had paid for someone to fix our bumpy walls. As far as our DIY this weekend–we finally painted the top section of our hallway/entryway where we had installed board and batten during Thanksgiving break (and then painted that white during Christmas break)! DONE! Looks so much better! As does your closet wall. :)

    1. Yes, you sand between coats to get the smoothest finish possible (and the actual coat itself is super thin). The first coat isn’t usually all that smooth, but it improves as you go. That link above (when I mention skim coating) is to my old step-by-step tutorial of exactly how I learned to get the smooth finish I want.

  3. Hi!

    I’ve only been following your blog for a little while but the more I read, and the more I see your progress, the more I dream of finding a sweet little house and renovating it to make it my own. Cheers!


  4. Well done! I glanced at this title in bloglovin and totally thought it was ‘panty progress’ and was like…well she DID say she would update about her personal life every now and then…

  5. It’s looking so much better already. Good idea to get the inside projects done. Spring is coming…

  6. Oh no! You are getting ahead! I guess I had better get my butt back in the kitchen. That wall looks great. Skim coating is something that I have been afraid to try. You and Stacey from A Goode House are changing my mind that it is possible to do well.

  7. Your blogs are always worth reading. What you’ve done makes me think of doing something productive too. Sorry I just feel so unproductive these days, haha