“Just Paint Over It”

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The previous owners of our house seemed to have a very strong belief in the following philosophy: If you no longer like or need something, just paint over it.

Don’t like the wallpaper? Paint over it!

Not using that nail anymore? Just paint over it!

The little end-caps on the tiny shelves? Glue them on, then paint over them!

I have no damn idea what they were thinking. No, scratch that – I know exactly what they were thinking: “By the time this becomes our problem, we will have moved elsewhere.”

Sunsabitches.

We have encountered their slipshod workmanship elsewhere in the house, and its impact upon us varies from mild annoyance to outright consternation. The latter was the case when I began trying to remodel The EngiNeir’s old office into one for me. Mike’s moved into a Man Cave down into the basement, and it seems to be suiting him well.

This gives me the room upstairs to turn my existing office into an entirely craft-oriented space, and have most of my computers and office-type things in the other room. The existing office/craft-room is so cluttered, it’s difficult to move about in, let alone do anything productive. I’ve been wanting to begin sewing again, but each time I look around, I despair and give up the urge.

I still need to throw paint on the walls in the new space, get some bookshelves (from my dad and step-mom’s basement, where they have graciously stored a heap of my stuff for, oh, three or four years now.)

A couple of months ago, I began attacking the delightful border at the top of the room, shown here in one of the photos from the real estate agent’s website:

I rolled over it with a Paper Tiger, sprayed it with CHOMP! – an enzymatic paste dissolver fluid. Roll, spray, peel, roll, spray, peel…son of a bitch. There were two layers of borders.

Not only that, but those jerkwagons had painted over the bottom one.

After about two hours, I was less than halfway done, and in quite a state of mind. I gave up for the time being, vowing to return. Someday.

Luckily for me, Mike Neir beat me to it – a couple of months later. He had the whole thing tamed in an afternoon!

Thus, tonight, as Mozart’s “Dies Irae” played in the background, I attacked the little ridge running around where the paint met the various layers of wallpaper with a foam block wrapped in sandpaper. It was quick work.

Now I just need to chisel the damn end caps off the shelf screws, yank those down, spackle the heck out of everything, sand it some more, put up tape, paint a couple of coats to get rid of the odious flaming pink and purple, and move my stuff in there.

Piece of cake! The end is in sight!

(But when I am doing the actual paint trimming, expect some whining.)

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8 responses to “Just Paint Over It”


  1. Ugh! I feel your pain! The old owners of our new house did the same. Our outlet covers and the outlets themselves have so many layers of paint that we had to actually replace some of them. Their other pastime seemed to be hanging things. There were more nails, screws, and empty holes in our walls than I can possibly count. We are still discovering more!

    • Erin D.

      It’s just crazy how many people take shortcuts that are so so SO STUPID. I’ll be replacing some of the outlet covers and perhaps the air intake cover that’s really, really thick with paint. There are also a lot of nails and holes. Good times, huh? 😉

  2. Ugh! After removing wallpaper in nearly every room of the house – I am not a fan. The previous owners left lots of surprises for me. Perhaps the biggest was the 4-5 layers of wallpaper behind the refrigerator. I found paper that would have made the 1960 blush. Yuck!

    • Erin D.

      UGH!! Five layers! Mandy, that sucks. We had something similar when I redid the second floor of my grandfather’s house. Our family built it back in the early 1800’s and wallpapered the living hell out of it for almost two centuries – EVEN THE CEILING! Getting one-hundred-year-old wallpaper off a ceiling was… unpleasant. 😉

  3. Michigan Heather

    I’ve just discovered CHOMP, too. So much better than DIF, imho.

    Luckily, our bathroom only has one layer of ugly wallpaper to deal with…

  4. Mel

    I’m trying not to think of all that needs to be done in this house. Once winter is over, I absolutely must put a vent fan in the bathroom, but I’m pretty sure – because there are *two* layers of roofing – that it’s going to entail ripping out the ceiling and replacing it altogether. And I’m just fantasizing about the day I get to redo the kitchen, except that that’s going to involve tearing out all of the cheap cardboard walls. Which will at least be less messy than tearing out plaster and lathing.

    • Erin D.

      Oh, argh – two layers?! Ok, you definitely have it worse than us. Redoing kitchens is hard work, but rewarding and awesome once it’s done. I’ve done it with plaster and lathing, and indeed – that SUCKED.

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