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How to Remove Wallpaper

Posted by Alicen on July 30, 2012

Have you ever had to strip a room of wallpaper?


It isn't pretty.  In fact, it can be extremely messy, especially if the wallpaper is stubborn and doesn't want to budge from the wall, which seems to happen the majority of the time.


Recently my husband and I re-did a bedroom in the house for our son's nursery. To start out, we decided to get rid of the floor to ceiling floral wallpaper that graced every single wall of the room.  The project was a total beast.  Whoever wallpapered 20 years ago must have used some amazing glue.  Here she is in all her wallpapered glory before the project started.....




I learned that it's not worth buying all of the expensive gadgets, tools, and sprays from the home improvement store that will supposedly make completion of your project so much easier and faster. They won't.  Save your money- you really don't need that much besides a few basics.  Here's what you'll actually need:


1. Vinegar, Water & A Spray Bottle

Get a spray bottle, fill it up with hot water and about 1/2 of vinegar or so.  Spray the walls down and let them soak for twenty minutes or so.  The vinegar seems to really help soften up the wallpaper so it's easier to pull off.  Keep spraying as needed.  Vinegar will be your best friend.  


2. Plastic Floor Covering

Protect your flooring!  Tape down a plastic covering on your floor before starting.  Wallpaper glue (and vinegar for that matter) can be nasty stuff, and you don't want it staining your carpet.


2. A Plastic Trowel  

Chances are you're going to have some difficult spots and a lot of scraping will be involved.  Pick up a plastic trowel for about .50 cents.  Metal trowels are expensive, hard to use and it's easy to hurt yourself (or the wall) when using them.  Plastic trowels are a dream and they get the job done nicely.  


4. Fingernails.

Okay this sounds gross, but long fingernails are actually really helpful.  Sometimes you need a little more man-power than the trowel when you are scraping, and long fingernails are the ticket.  Just be prepared to clip them once you're finished because they'll probably look pretty weathered and jagged. 


5. A Couple Old Rags

After you get the wallpaper all off, make sure you scrub down the walls SEVERAL times with an old wet rag before applying a paint of coat to the wall.  You don't need any fancy sponges- an old, ratty rag works great!  Often it takes a few wash downs before all of the wallpaper glue is actually off of the wall.  (If you don't get all the glue off the wall you might have problems with paint down the road.)


6. Lotion

Your hands are going to kill afterwards.  They'll probably feel like sand paper for a few days, so it's a wise idea to make sure you have some good lotion on hand.  



What tried and true tips do you have when it comes to removing wallpaper?



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5 Steps to Success When Picking Up a Paint Brush

Posted by Alicen on July 17, 2012

Paint trends come and go, and if you're like me, picking out the paint color is the very hardest part about re-decorating a room.  Once you have the right paint color, it seems like everything falls into place, but until then... it's a nightmare.  


Getting it right the first time is important.  Recently we re-painted a room in our house that I thought was a pretty gray.... it ended up looking like lavender.  And while I can appreciate the color lavender, I didn't want it on the walls of my little boy's nursery.


Here's my advice when it comes to getting it right the first time:


1. Turn to the Experts

Go to an actual paint store.  As helpful as other places can be, it's just not the same as going to people who work with paint and paint professionally every single day.  Nothing beats it.  Personally, I love Benjamin Moore Paints, but there are other great paint stores out there as well.   


2. Sample Multiple Paint Colors

If you're like me, once you decide to paint a room, you're anxious to get it done!  Don't make a rash decision though because chances are you'll get it wrong.  Picking the perfect paint takes patience, and time.  Purchase a handful of samples you think could work, and paint a square of each sample on every wall of the room you'll be painting.  Then check out the colors during the day- different lighting can make a color look completely different on your wall than it did at the store.  Do your homework!




3. Don't Skimp on the Taping Job

Taping is probably the most painstaking, yet important step when painting a room.  Don't get sloppy- take the time necessary to make sure your tape job is perfect- that way you won't have to clean up mistakes later on.  Remember, patience is a virtue!


4. Two Coats of Paint is a Must

Two coats of paint is better than one for a multitude of reasons.  You get better durability and coverage, full solid colors, and you won't have to re-paint for twice as long!  It also helps to avoid missing spots or having other colors bleed through.  Don't stop at one!

5. Love the Color You Pick

Unless you like re-painting every year, don't do anything too trendy or crazy, because chances are it will be 'out' soon.  Make sure you pick a paint color that you'll be happy with for a long time.  



As for right now, subtle, subdued colors for the walls are totally hot- think grays, browns, sage greens, creams, etc.  Go with a color that is rich and warm.  

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Crazy for Canvas

Posted by Alicen on July 11, 2012

One of the hottest design trends of the season is to hang bare canvas pictures (without glass or picture frames) on the wall.  Whether it's an original piece of art you found at a flea market, or family photos printed on canvas, I think they look so natural, simple, and beautifully uncomplicated.  Most importantly, canvas prints allow the viewer to focus solely on what's most important- the art!



RC Willey showroom floor




RC Willey showroom floor




via pinterest




via lonny mag




via apartment therapy




Jean Allsop Photography via decorpad




EJ Interiors via decorpad




via lonny mag




via lonny mag



Can't wait to get my hands on some canvas pictures!

Do you have any canvas pictures hanging in your home?




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Design Your Way: Heather's Houseplants

Posted by Alicen on July 7, 2012

Today our Design Your Way guest post is by Heather Mildenstein.  Heather has a husband and two small boys.  She is a talented photographer, baker, and crafter extraordinaire.  Be sure to check out her lovely blog, the Coterie.  Thanks Heather!


What makes your home, your way?


I think one easy and simple element to making my home, my way are houseplants. I love them! They're such an easy, and usually pretty inexpensive way to give any home, or room a little touch of personality.


I have plants everywhere. They're all different shapes and sizes. My personal favorite are succulents for a few reasons. First of all they give my house more of a modern feel, which I love. Secondly, they're really low maintenance and are very easy to care for. You only need to water them once every week or even two weeks. It's a beautiful thing. You can find tall plants for lonely corners that need height, and you can find cute, short plants for shelves and countertops.


So when you're in need of "just the right thing" to add a little coziness to your house, simply go pick up a few houseplants that you love and enjoy!














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My Baby's Safari Nursery

Posted by Alicen on July 2, 2012

I've loved decorating all of the rooms in my house, but my very favorite was my baby's nursery.

There is something so magical about planning and decorating a nursery for 9 months, just waiting with anxious anticipation until you have a baby to live in it!


From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I was having a boy.  Once we got the confirmation from the ultra sound, I knew that I wanted to do a nautical or safari theme for his nursery.  I decided to run with the African Safari theme, and I'm so glad I did.

An amazing friend (and RC Willey designer) came over and helped me put it all together.

I LOVE it.


Here are some photos:


















How have you decorated your nurseries?


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