Somehow, the last room we got around to renovating in our house was our master bedroom. Maybe it was because it needed a lot of work, maybe it was because we typically keep our bedroom closed off anyway, but we slept in a mess of a bedroom for nearly 7 months before finally doing the first thing to improve it.
Well, that’s not exactly true. We did install this ceiling fan early on (which we love), and we had the floors refinished. The ceiling fan was a necessity, though, having moved in June.
Beyond that, though, we didn’t touch a thing. In fact, we set up all our furniture in the middle of the room, away from the walls, anticipating that we would paint it soon. You see, we didn’t really intend to neglect our bedroom. It just sort of happened that way. Anyway, all that to say that finally, in January, we decided to take it on.
We had picked out a paint color a while back. Somewhere we’d seen this moody navy blue in a bedroom and decided that’s what we wanted. So we went with Ralph Lauren’s Sullivan and bought a gallon when it was on sale. Only problem was that the walls were in terrible shape in there. We have plaster walls, and they’ve survived the nearly 80 years of the house’s existence really well in the rest of the house, but somehow in the bedroom, they just really showed their age. These two pictures show the condition of the walls and trim a little better. It’s hard to tell, because they’re all white, but trust us – if you could have been right up to them, you’d see the holes, dents, and flaking plaster.
So, the first step was to set out patching holes and smoothing out the walls as much as possible (after clearing the room of everything but the big stuff). We used joint compound and a putty knife, then sanded to smooth out the surface. We used caulk to seal all the gaps between the picture railing and walls and between the baseboards and walls.
The North-facing wall had lots of cracking plaster, so we decided to scrape all of the loose flakes and sand down the remainder to get a nice flat paintable surface. But, we were unpleasantly surprised to find wallpaper lurking underneath!
That’s right. Instead of ever stripping the original wallpaper, someone had instead skim-coated a thin layer of plaster over it. We were annoyed! Now, we had to scrape the entire wall, plus we had the unpleasant task of stripping wallpaper awaiting us.
Once we scraped all the loose plaster off, though, we were left with a brittle and firmly adhered wallpaper (brown with tiny blue, silver and pink flowers, to boot). We soon found out why no one had stripped the wallpaper to begin with, and it became pretty obvious that unless we wanted to tear out the plaster, we wouldn’t be stripping it either. You have to understand – this wasn’t like ordinary wallpaper. It was like newspaper adhered to the wall.
So, a new plan was in order. Our newest plan was to scrape all that was loose, sand the rest smooth, and prime over the rest to prepare it for paint.
Using Kilz oil-based primer, we applied a thick and even coat over the freshly sanded wall. The Kilz was very thick, acting as a glue almost, so we felt pretty sure any wallpaper that may have eventually flaked off would be safely stuck to the wall.
Once the wall was primed and ready to go, all we had left to do was scrape and sand the trim before applying fresh coats of paint all around. More on that soon!