Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Curse of the Wallpaper

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do when we visited our local department store, Fred Meyers, was to go to the wallpaper aisle and “choose” which wallpaper I wanted in my bedroom. Despite all the time I spent in the aisle, we never did end up putting up wallpaper in my room. The walls in my bedroom were a pale pinkish-cream paneling that didn’t need to be spruced up. In retrospect, I am glad I never got wallpaper. For one thing, I’m sure the wallpaper I fell in love with as a little girl, featuring fairies, large flowers, hearts, or other childhood characters, would not have been appreciated as much when I got older. For another thing, I have found that wallpaper is just a huge pain!

The person who invented wallpaper has not been my favorite person this past year. Every stinkin’ wall in our apartment is covered from ceiling to floor in wallpaper. Well, to be fair, the bathroom IS tiled—thank goodness! Some of our wallpaper is bright and flashy, and I would say tacky. However, we were told that the wallpaper “is very Russian”.

For the most part, I have adjusted, or at least learned to ignore the wallpaper. Unfortunately, we have experienced, quite frequently, that this wallpaper is NOT child-friendly. THE first week we arrived in Moscow, James took a ballpoint pen to the wallpaper in the hallway. Of course, that particular wallpaper had to be the textured kind and any attempt to remove the ink seems to damage the wallpaper. So, the trail of pen ink remains there, always a reminder of our rough first week and my dislike for wallpaper!


The wallpaper in the kitchen seems fairly new, and there’s proof of that in our storage closet where the leftover wallpaper has been placed. However, the remaining wallpaper throughout the apartment seems old and outdated. Corners and edges peel away from the wall, making some spots look old, worn out and tired, and some spots just look plain unsightly. Thankfully, the unsightly spots are usually behind curtains where they majorly peel from the wall and look yellowed and brittle. I haven’t gotten around to repairing those areas, partly because they look so dusty and gross.


The minor areas of peeling wallpaper can be anywhere where there is an edge, especially when there is a border of wallpaper midway down the wall. These areas are especially annoying in the children’s rooms because a minor peeling many times gets bigger with help, and on rare occasions, pieces of wallpaper tear off completely. Now, Jon and I admit it, and you may too, that if we had less self control we’d be right there with them, pulling at the wallpaper for fun. Sadly, we are adults and we know better, and we cannot join in on such enjoyable destruction. Instead, we get to constantly remind the children to leave the sad, tattered wallpaper alone, and I get to frequently repair the torn edges with craft glue (because I don’t know what else to use to repair it).

We don’t have any problems with Kate and the wallpaper, and in James’ and Bruce’s defense, we don’t believe any more but they’re peeling the wallpaper on purpose. We think that they just rub their feet across the wall at night as they wait for sleep to come and that wears away the edges.


Most likely foot-rub peeling


A not so innocent tear.
They always start out so small, but if I don't repair them immediately, they will soon look like this, or worse.

William, on the other hand, is another story. He still sleeps in our bedroom with us, and since there is not a single wall that is not covered in wallpaper, there’s not a safe place for his crib. And, when he damages the wallpaper it’s NOT trivial! A couple of times, when I have had to repair the wallpaper next to his crib, I have had to put it together like a jigsaw puzzle and there have been missing pieces (most likely because they were ingested—nice!) We did try placing his crib in the center of the room, at the foot of our bed, for a while, but his sleep and ours would get disrupted having him so close to us. So, he was returned to his corner of our room, and in desperation we lined the sides of his crib that bordered the wall with cardboard. It hasn’t been a perfect solution, but it’s definitely better than nothing.

Before (see large hole in wallpaper)

After (pieced together, but missing some)

I think it can go without being said, but I'm saying it anyway:
On my mental list of what I would like in our dream home one day, wallpaper is not just crossed out once, but completely scribbled out in such a way that even the most gifted of detectives would never decipher what it once said!

Wallpaper and children DO NOT mix!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I hated the wallpaper that was/is up here at my house. Yes, it is a pain in the rump to take down (I wouldn't know about repair). Paint is just as annoying, though. I have countless holes in my walls. Paint peeling up. Nicks in the paint that started small and have been picked to the size of a baseball by little fingers. Worries about lead. Pen/marker/pencil(!) marks that I can't remove entirely. Or spots where I used magic eraser to get the pen off and ended up ruining the finish of the paint. And none of it can truly be erased unless I repaint the wall. Touch-ups do not cure all.

    All of this to say: I wish I were one of those girls that loves to diy around the house and has no problem repainting a room in a day or two. But I'm not. I'm the type that is going to have to wait and save my pennies and then hire someone else to do it so that I don't go insane trying to do things perfectly. I'm also the girl with holes in her walls. Ha!

    If anyone wants to come paint my walls, let me know...

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