While I didn’t have a lot of wallpaper to remove when I moved into the house (thank god), the stuff that was there challenged me. Instinctively, I bought and tried a slew of wallpaper removal products that were on the shelves at my local DIY stores. Without getting into details of what products I tried and which worked better than others, I’ll say this: Water worked best.
My ultimate success was achieved by scoring the wallpaper (typical scoring tool used), soaking a large sponge in warm water, and then proceeding to “wash” the wallpaper and wet it as much as possible (keep a towel on hand to limit how many drips reach the floor). Once the paper had absorbed the water, a flat edge scraper was the only tool I needed to cleanly strip the paper from the surface. I tried this technique on both plaster and drywall successfully, and can also report that it worked on old (circa 1970’s) wallpaper and newer (early 2000’s – featuring much stronger glue) wallpaper.
Anyways, here’s a photo I snapped to show, side-by-side, how spray remover worked compared to water after soaking for 1 minute:
Everyone knows a tree that’s begging for a treehouse. Pete’s dream tree lived at his parents country house in Western NY. He decided that it was time to act on the dream once I began to disassemble the existing deck that was on the back of my house, as I had a lot of extra lumber laying around — little handy-girl was going to get her own fantastic recycled treehouse using the scrap lumber from my demo project! The tree he had in mind was blessed with 5 strong branches growing outward, and after doing some quick sketches and measurements, we figured that this was something we could do ourselves (with his parent’s help and permission of course).
The first thing he planned to do was to cut one of the 5 branches down to serve as a base underneath the main platform. Once that was down, we could really begin to identify and mark where the other branches would have to be notched to support girders and joists (note: each branch was very thick and healthy – we wouldn’t have notched into them if we couldn’t rely on their strength). The girders sit snuggly in the shallow notches, and were then nailed and bolted into the tree.We decided early on to try and cantilever one edge of the treehouse (cool balcony) and because none of the deckboards I had salvaged were long enough, his parents sacrificed an old swing set to serve as essential framing.
The joists of the treehouse base went up just like the joists on the deck were installed – the hangers supported many recycled 2×6 boards, and created a solid and level (very solid, and very level) frame that would come to support the floorboards.
The old deck on the back of my house had been stained red, a color which neither of us really liked… so when it came to laying the new floor on the treehouse frame, we decided to use the un-stained underside of the floorboards. Many of the boards went on effortlessly (custom cut by Pete), but the edge at one edge required quite a bit of extra work in order to make sure the floorboards were properly secured to the joists. In the end, it really turned out looking beautiful.
Building the ladder and handrails were our last steps – the railing posts and rails were easy – all materials were reused from the railings on my old deck. The ladder was also a quick afternoon project, although I must point out that we did buy new lumber for it because we didn’t have scraps that were the correct length. The ladder is secured to the tree, the treehouse, and positioned soundly on a level cement step in the grass.
It turned out nicer than I could have imagined – it’s very solid (not only able to hold handy-girl, but many adults could fit up there as well). The final structure measures 10-feet off the ground, and is 12′ long, end to end. The width of the balcony end is 8′, and the other end is 6′ wide, meaning that the total size of the treehouse is about 84-square-feet. Not shabby.