• January 6, 2004

Living Room Update

My plaster walls make me want to cry

Restoration Diary, ,

Our house is really starting to resemble “The Money Pit”

Progress is being made on our living room again. Juan and his team are back after taking 2 weeks off for the holidays. David and I had planned on doing some work in there, like removing wallpaper, while Juan was away.

Ok, actually I planned and was going to tell David about it later but never got motivated. I just avoided that room and even started using the back door so I wouldn’t have to walk through the living room and feel guilty. Bad, homeowner. Bad!

Look at all those cracks around the pocket doors!

It was probably for the best. Once the wallpaper came off we discovered the plaster walls are badly damaged. It would have made for a depressing New Year.

Detailed view of the damage to the plaster walls.

Plaster walls around the gentleman caller’s bench. That piece of wood is holding the plaster in place. The plaster has separated from the lath.

I’m not sure if you can see it in this photo, but there are several long cracks running through the plaster over the fireplace.

Please, excuse me while I cry…

Comments { 5 }
  1. jmo

    omg…I am terribly terribly sorry about the walls. We will probably face the same thing. A brave woman down the block decided to forget about it and just wallpapered and painted over the old stuff so she wouldn’t have to deal with the plaster repair.

    I don’t know if that would work for us…ours is a bit thick already and has a texture to it. Unfortunately. Luckily, they left spare pieces in the attic for experimenting on .

    Maybe if you could get a skim coat back on, then cover with plaster backed linen or canvas? They sell it, and it IS paintable. I;ll try to send aling the name of the vendor ehrn I had it.

  2. heather

    Believe it or not, the walls actually look better in the photos!

    Now we have a new dilemma. The walls are a plaster and sand (?) mixture which gives it a nice texture that is going to be hard to replicate. I’m not sure what we will end up doing with the walls.

  3. Jo

    Just discovered your site through a link from the House in Progress site. I was fascinated by the pictures of your fireplace paint-stripping project as that’s what’s going on in our Chicago bungalow living room now (though on hiatus until the winter’s over & I can open all the windows again). But I couldn’t find any commentary on that project — would love to know what you’re using & how long it’s taken. I believe I’ve spent several hundred hours on ours (perhaps a slight exaggeration) & have killed thousands of braincells in the process, too! The paint’s about 95% gone but that last 5% is pretty stubborn. Your dining room looks magnificent, by the way.

  4. heather

    Hi! Thanks for your message. House in Progress is a great site. We used off the shelf paint remover from Home Depot, 3 gallons of it. Basically, we put it on the fireplace and used razor blades that are usually used for removing paint off of glass, to strip off about 16 layers of paint. This was very effective since the surface of our brick is smooth. It took about 3 days and a box of razors to get the majority of the paint of this way.

    We still have a thin layer of paint residue on the brick. I have tried using steel wool and a little paint thinner in a corner and that seemed to work well. It didn’t fade the color of our bricks. We still have more work to do on the fireplace but have put that on hold for now. :)

    Other people in our neighborhood have had great success using a product called Peel Away 7 on the rough brick and stone fireplaces.

    Best of luck with your house!

  5. Jo

    Hi Heather,
    Thanks for answering my questions (though I didn’t see your response for awhile)! We have been using Peelaway 7 & it worked quite well on the top layers of paint. The problem has been that the brick on our fireplace is the soft, wirecut kind that can’t be scraped or even brushed with a metal brush. So after the Peelaway seemed to lose effectiveness, it’s been: apply meth. chloride stripper, wait, scrub with natural bristle brush & detergent or TSP solution, and then pick out remaining bits of paint with dental pick. That’s why it’s been so slow.

    You might want to try something similar to get rid of your remaining residue. Good luck.

    And (1/22 post), I agree you do need to splurge once in awhile on something like that antique light fixture. It’s beautiful!

If you would like to select an image to appear next to your comment, go to Gravatar.