It’s been a few weeks since I officially kicked off the bedroom renovation and –woof– so much has happened. I don’t even know where to start… if you’ve been following on Instagram stories, you know the gist of it: we started removing drywall and found… more paneling, then sooooo much wallpaper. 19 different kinds of wallpaper to be exact. Nineteen. And nothing quite prepared us for what we found on the ceiling…
(Brace yourself, none of these photos are edited or Pinterest-worthy at all!)
We started by stripping paint off the window trim and removing the crown moulding. From there, it was demo time. Sean didn’t really trust me with a crowbar, to be honest.
We found… #SHIPLAP. That’s right, the other Joanna’s favorite thing. I was really excited about this discovery because it felt like the perfect bungalow touch for the room. The rest of the house has been stripped down so much by the previous owners, that I’m always looking for ways to add more charm back into it. A white shiplap ceiling would be the perfect touch for this project! So we started removing the ceiling panels, scraping away even more wallpaper, and removing 1,000s of nails. Not gonna lie, this unexpected discovery just about doubled the amount of work we had planned to put into the room (and pushed back our timeline by 2 weeks).
Originally, the plan was to simply skim over the existing walls to smooth them out. My drywall crew decided they were in such bad shape that they needed to come down and we had to start fresh. Sean and I did the demo work mostly because I wanted to swing a sledgehammer, but also to save some money.
I’m so glad we decided to do the demo ourselves! I had no idea how much I’d learn about my house during this project, but it was amazing. Every day that we worked on the room, we found something different. The best discovery though, by far, was the October 1919 edition of Ladies Home Journal. It’s the only thing we found with a date on it and really helped to put into perspective some of the patterns of wallpaper we were finding. Sean’s sister happens to be an archivist, so she actually tracked down the exact edition of Ladies Home Journal and sent me a link to read the full article (read it here)!
After this process of stripping part of my home down to the bare studs, I’ve really developed a deeper emotional connection to this house. It really feels like home, more so than ever before. I’ve seen it’s guts and inner workings… I’ve corrected the awful things previous owners have done to it… I’ve selected quality materials and finishes that will do this 1908 bungalow justice. All I want to do is put the charm and cuteness and love back into this tiny bungalow. I’m so proud of all the work we’ve put into it (and I know my grandpa would be, too). By far, this is the most physically taxing project I’ve ever undertaken, but it’s all going to be so incredibly worthwhile.
I honestly thought that stripping the wallpaper off the ceiling was the most physically taxing thing I’d ever done in my life, but that was until I started sanding it. This step of the process was absolutely brutal, you guys. I spent lots of evenings self-soothing with copious amounts of wine, ibuprofen, icy hot, and a fair amount of floor-crying. Sean was supportive.
My best friend Danielle put together this quick video chronicling all of my Instagram stories. I asked her to do it so I could always look back at how much we did, but I thought you guys would love it, too!
Lots of you reached out via Instagram asking for tips about homeownership and renovating a fixer upper, so here’s a list of all the posts I’ve shared so far:
- thoughts on my first month of homeownership
- my second month of homeownership
- essentials for the first-time homeowner + what I’ve learned after 6 months
- 1 year anniversary of homeownership + visual diary
Be sure to stay tuned. I’ve got lots more about this bedroom makeover coming your way!
Video by Danfredo Photo + Films.