After a 62-hour stint of decorating, pausing only to eat or sleep, I’ve learnt a lot.
One of the main things being that television programmes like ‘60-minute makeover’ can seriously take a long walk off a short pier.
For a long time I have found myself cringing at such shows anyway, seeing the bobbly wallpaper and crooked pictures glaring at me from the screen.
Especially as it is shown as all smiles.
Tell any of my family to ‘open their eyes’ in a room like that and they’d be checking the finish on the woodwork before you could cut to the before and after images.
But the reality, obviously, is quite different.
And when you decide to remove an entire house’s collection of textured wallpaper in one weekend – it is very different indeed.
‘All of it?’ friends have asked, with faces that give you the impression they’re already thinking of calling the men in white coats.
But there was method behind our madness.
Already knowing we have to get the plasterers in to rid us of the porridge-esque ceilings downstairs, we wanted to be able to get a quote for all the work that needed doing.
The only trouble being that while textured wallpaper covers a multitude of sins, it can also make you want to blaspheme.
However, having spent nearly four months in the property without being able to do anything (due to rewiring) we were raring to go and a little bit naive.
Saturday we stripped.
‘So where did you do?’ asked my mum on a mid-afternoon phone call. ‘The lounge or the hallway?’
‘Yes,’ was my response ‘and both of the bedrooms’.
It was beautiful. And lots of peeling – to the degree the childhood me with PVA on her fingers could only dream of.
What’s more, you could see where you’d been.
Where there had been white walls in an array of floral patterns, stood grey and light terracotta naked plaster, while our bedroom was a sunshine yellow.
Of course we ached, and I
was pretty sure one of my arms was longer than the other by the end of the day, but it was so satisfying.
We even got things back to normal(ish) so we could settle down with fish and chips in front of the rugby.
That’s enough said of that.
Then Sunday’s task was to go around and scrape off all the bits that were stuck definitely to the wall. And Monday saw us sand down the walls – removing the swirls of wallpaper glue – and the skirting, and the doorframes, and the picture rails.
It wasn’t so much fun. Of course we knew what we’d done, we could also map every imperfection on the walls, but it didn’t really look different.
In fact the main signs are on my hands which look like they’ve been in a bare-knuckle fight and lack fingerprints.
But it has to be said, I’ve never felt like we’ve owned that house more.