EP44 – February 3, 2018: Finding the Right Builder, Wallpaper Hanging 101, and The Walls of Death!


Did you know that wallpaper not only could kill, but quite literally has killed? In a strange historical story from wallpaper’s checkered past, we learn about one of the most bizarre episodes in decorating history. We’re also in the studio with custom home builder, Bob Snowden to discuss how we can make the best choices when it comes to hiring a contractor!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 044:

Building a new home or remodeling your existing home is often one of those projects that often require an expert. But when that time comes, we're faced with a tough decision: how do we find the right expert? There are so many out there, which builder or contractors is the one with whom you'll work the best?

We sit down with Bob Snowden from Snowden Builders and talk about some of the key qualities to look for when you're making your choice. And while he highlights some of the basics, he feels the main quality to look for is . . . .  Well, you'll have to listen to find out!

And by the way, the creepy intro music we used was a song for free use on YouTube. Here's the legal stuff: Medusa by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (httpscreativecommons.orglicensesby4.0)

I want to paper one wall in my 1/2 bath. What is the most important thing to do before I start and while I'm hanging?

It's a great question that came in on our Facebook page and we decided to give it the full, on-air treatment! Listen for the full response, but here's a quick summary:
  • Choose the right paper: make sure it's suited for a room that could experience moisture.
  • Size the walls: A lot of people skip this step, but it is very beneficial. It'll make it a little easier to put the paper up (the paper slips on the sizer and you can move it around). It also makes it easier to remove!
  • Start with a straight line: when hanging the paper, make sure you start with a straight line (use a level or some other method). Don't just assume that the corner is straight!
  • Get help: work with someone else! That means you've got a second brain on hand, a second set of eyes looking at the work, and more importantly, someone to refill your beverage when necessary!
  • Snap a new razor blade EVERY TIME you make a cut! This will help make sure that you don't tear the paper because of a slightly dulled blade!

This is easily one of our favorite segments of all time! It's a historical look at a crazy chapter in the world of decorating...

To summarize (without giving the whole fun story away), in the 19th Century arsenic was used to create vivid pigments that were then used in dyes and inks, on clothing, in paint, on food, and on wallpaper! Turns out, installing arsenic-laced wallpaper was actually a poor decision when it came to the health of you and your family! (Who would have thought!)

It's an interesting segment and is definitely worth a listen!

Shadows from the Walls of Death!

On the show, we talked about a rare book that you can view in the rare book collection at MSU. There were 100 copies produced in 1874 and now, only a handful remain. One of them is at MSU. Another is at the U of M. At any rate, the book actually contains actual arsenic-laced samples of the wallpapers that were common in the early to late 19th Century. It is a piece of bizarre decorating history you can hold in your hands! (And the pages are now encapsulated in plastic, so you're safe!) However, if you're not up for a road trip, here's a link to a beautiful full-color scan of the book! Check it out!
EP45 - February 10, 2018: Home Security, Ask RepcoLite, and Fighting the Winter Blues
EP43 - January 27, 2018: Selling Your Home In Winter, Extension Cords, Marine Varnish Question, The Perfect Light!