Wallpaper Caper

Recently, when I tried to replace the wallpaper in my kitchen, I learned that "Sometimes it's right to do the wrong thing."

It all started with Hugs and Kisses. As kittens, they'd scratched and clawed at the old grass cloth, shredding it into bits and pieces, so--in anticipation of a family visit--I decided to do what I'd been putting off for a year, I'd repair it.


Four times, I visited the Paint and Design Center and lugged home four times that many tomes, seeking the perfect wall covering. When I couldn't match the original, I considered another grass cloth with a similar look and texture--at least that's what the sample (this one the size of a business card) led me to believe.

For several days, that little sample moved about my kitchen, catching the rays from the lights overhead. It stood upright on the stove; it reclined on a shelf above the sink; and it sat atop a picture frame. "That's it," I finally decided.

I measured the walls, then drove to the store and waited for Linette, the girl who'd been helping me. "How much?" I asked.

"One thousand, eight hundred, sixty-two dollars and fifty cents," she said, after consulting her adding machine.

"Couldn't be," said I. "My kitchen's small. You sure you did that right?"

Linette's cool. She didn't blink an eye at my rudeness, and she gave me some names of wallpaper putter uppers. "Maybe their estimates can beat mine," she said.

The two charming Irishmen, both part time singers and fiddlers, came out the next day at 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM. Their estimates were a bit lower, and since they happened to be friends, and I couldn't decide which one I liked better, I hired both of them to do the labor together for $500.

I ordered, then waited forever, it seemed, for the wallpaper to come in. And once it did, I picked up the package, brought it home, poured a glass of wine to celebrate the Grand Opening, undid the box, and pulled out the 2½ rolls. . . Oh Vomit! Oh Curdled Milk! Oh Cottage Cheese! (Thats how it looked--bland and lumpy, nothing like the sample). No way did I want THAT on my walls!

I was disappointed and depressed, even more so when I returned the paper the next day and left the Design Center close to $700 poorer. Yes, they did give me a refund (I was worried they mightn't) but they kept for themselves the price of the partial roll and 25% of the total cost. That's fair, I guess, but I kept regretting how long it had taken me to earn that money.

There's a happy ending to my story, however. On my way out of the Design Center, I picked up a few paint swatches, thinking maybe I should paint the walls instead . . . so that's ultimately what I did.

I removed the wallpaper myself (no easy task), had my handyman replaster the walls, and then I painted them. The paint didn't match the swatch ("Here I go again," I thought) so I mixed in another color. The end result is Tang! It's Abba! It's CocaCola Fizz! It's perfect! Every time I enter the kitchen or walk past it, I'm amazed at how good it looks. I'm happy, I learned some lessons, and I saved some money . . . sort of.

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November 25, 20120 found this helpful

I love your kitchen, it i so beautiful! The heart shaped chair is awesome and the paint job is wonderful! Very peaceful color!

You did a good job and I love how the story ends! :)

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November 25, 20120 found this helpful

It looks really good! Sorry you lost out on the money but the outcome is great! Lesson learned. (I would probably still double-check their policies to be sure they're posted somewhere and they're fair.)

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November 26, 20120 found this helpful

Love it!

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November 27, 20120 found this helpful

Great color, not salmon but salmon's cousin terra, I think.

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November 27, 20120 found this helpful

Looks great. Paint is a life saver sometimes for sure!

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November 30, 20120 found this helpful

Your walls are a beautiful color! You did an awesome job! I made the mistake of picking out a color that was darker than I imagined it would be. (Those tricky paint swatches!) Thinking I would Love it, I bought four gallons. Tried making it lighter; turned it a plum color; pretty, but too dark. Ended up selling it at a friend's yard sale to recoup some of the loss. Learned that in the future to buy just a quart of the color to try it out, or now, they even have little bottles of paint samples you can buy. It was worth it though; valuable lessen learned and I was happy with the end result of the new paint I got. So I think your kitchen in that gorgeous color was worth every penny! :)

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December 7, 20120 found this helpful

Oh that's nice, I need to paint all my rooms, but I don't feel like it.

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