Luckily, fate intervened.
Back in December, I went to the Spring street pop-up shop where I was greeted by the loveliest citrus wallpaper. Of course, I immediately asked who made it.
Lo and behold it's by the very talented Inslee Fariss and of course, it wasn't for sale. However, I insisted I couldn't live without it and Inslee took pity on me.
So, after checking it out for a total of nine minutes I went home, measured my foyer and emailed her the next morning (before she could change her mind).
It arrived a few weeks ago and Saturday I worked up the nerve to hang it.
I considered hiring someone to do it, but our building is really strict about insurance and the cheaper wallpaper hangers often don't have it (or won't get it for such a small job). Such is the life of New York City.
My other hesitation, was our walls. Our apartment is great, but it's still New York City. The walls aren't perfect and we have cable wires running along side our molding (the horror). Last week, the snow day gave me the chance to hunt down our super (I'm trouble in his eyes) and attempt to get the wires fixed. I tried to have them totally removed (no such luck) but he did re-staple and spackle them.
So, with some repair work done, I watched this video (found through the very technical "how to wallpaper" Google search) and decided to go for it.
The first thing the directions said was, "Get a friend! Wallpaper is a two person job."
My designated wallpaper friend was away on a ski trip, so the only person left was Mike. Weirdly, Mike did not think "assist with wallpaper" was in the wedding vows (although it should have been). So, I decided to go it alone. I woke up early Saturday morning and got to work.
The directions should say, "Get your type-A spouse out of the house. Stat!" Wallpaper is no joke and it is REAL messy. Thank God Mike slept through it.
Unlike most wallpaper, this is removable. Just wet it and you're good to go.
The directions called for either a tub of water or a roller. I didn't feel like buying a plastic tub (that would eventually have to be stored somewhere) so I opted for the roller and plastic drop cloths. I put one drop cloth in the foyer and one in the kitchen. I unrolled the paper, got the brush wet and set to work.
It's a small miracle that I didn't slip and die doing this. Do you know what water on plastic becomes? An instant slip and slide. Because the roll was so long, I had to straddle the paper while I worked. It was harder than any Core Fusion workout I have ever done.
After wetting the paper you just fold it in half and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then take you take it to the wall and hope for the best.
For the first piece, I used a level and made a line like the video suggested, but after than I just eyeballed things. I followed the left to right suggestion for the most part, and thankfully the pattern was very forgiving. I was cruising along until I reached to corner of death.
At this point I thought, "I should have hired someone."
I had to try and match paper from two different walls, and of course the patterns were not going to match up at all. I started with the left and that was tolerable, but then I got the right side.
I remembered a section of wallpaper from my parents house where, if you looked closely, you could see that it had been cut along the design to make it fit around a corner.
Yes, I was the kid that saw this and remembered it.
So, I took my scissors and decided to attempt the same thing. An hour or so later (and a whole lot of hand cutting) I figured it out. See the "failed" scraps.
But I did it.
Finally, I covered the outlets and the switch plates. When I worked for Ashley Whittaker she said, "Nobody gets paid until the plates are done!" It sounds a little silly, but by the end of the job you could easily forget to pay attention to those details. Ashley never forgot, and her projects reflect that. Small things like that make a room feel finished. Make no mistake, it does matter.
I also have to give credit where credit is due (does this feel like an acceptance speech?). Mike woke up at the very end (how convenient) and nicely helped me trim off the top. I couldn't have managed that without him (or his height).
Because a few people asked, I have to be honest. Next time, I would probably hire someone else to do it.
This was a fun challenge and I'm glad I tried it. It feels great to "conquer" something that you're intimidated by but ultimately it gave me a lot of respect for the professionals. If we were doing it in a "nicer" home (aka, the walls were in better shape and it was worth resurfacing) or with "nicer" paper (aka, the really expensive stuff) I wouldn't do it myself. I couldn't handle the pressure of messing that up. However, for a few more years in this rental, it did the trick.
I would still like to paint the door with a fresh coat of white and remove that ugly sign. I would also l like to extend the stripes down the hall, switch out that hideous light fixture and touch up the paint on the table.
And that is what it's like to live in my brain. It's a never ending to-do list.
If you have any questions, comments or areas where I talked too much but didn't explain enough, please feel free to reach out.