Kelly Rae Roberts' Genius & Beautiful DIY Layered Wallpaper Treatment

doorway wallpaper hallwayDuring the recent full-house renovation of artist Kelly Rae Roberts' 1911 home, her husband John started the awful chore of removing wallpaper, peeling off layer by layer, from a few of the bedroom walls. As the peeling continued, Kelly Rae found herself smitten with the look of all the layers, particularly the layers in the bedroom that is to become the nursery for her baby boy on the way.

"Was it crazy to be daydreaming about keeping these walls with their tattered worn patchworked look?" Kelly Rae wrote. "They're so dirty and likely unsafe for babies and mamas but what if ... ?"

Well, Kelly Rae got to find out "what if?" and the outcome is so lovely amazing.


Kelly Rae took her layered wallpaper daydreams to twitter for opinions and advice. The verdict: trust your instincts, keep the walls, deep clean them, seal them, and all is well.

So she drove right over to the renovation house, made her case to John about the layers, and convinced him to keep them! "It will make the loveliest nursery when we're done. I just know it," Kelly wrote at the time. "I have a vision, people. I really, really do."

Here was the room before renovation:

bedroom empty

And here are the layers of wallpaper that John began to uncover during renovation:

peeling wallpeper layers bedroom

So John commenced with the peeling. He scraped the walls intentionally but randomly down to the original layer of green paint, leaving layers of wallpaper showing through here and there. It's important to note that he wore a hepa mask for the entire job to reduce any inhalation of possible lead particles as it's extremely likely that the original layer of paint (the green) has lead in it.

John then lightly sanded the wallpaper down a bit and wiped down the walls with lead dust wipes similar to this product. For safety sake, he then used an oil-based sealer (as a water-based sealer would have reacted negatively with the old wallpaper paste) and sealed the entire thing so it's safe. They also decided to keep the chair rail molding and painted below the wallpaper ("Carrington Beige" - Benjamin Moore Paint).

"The effect is magical, looks like a map," says Kelly, "and I'm so glad we took this risk!"

And here is the room (soon to be nursery!) with the finished wallpaper treatment:

bedroom wallpaper peeled layers

wallpaper bedroom

wallpaper nursery DIY

Can you believe it? So completely gorgeous.

What do you think of Kelly Rae's wallpaper vision brought to life?


Images via Kelly Rae Roberts


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