How to Remove Wallpaper Without a Steamer

November 4, 2015

How to Remove Wallpaper Without a Steamer If you remember from the before tour of our new house, you’ll know nearly every inch of our place was covered in wallpaper. The old lady who owned the house before us had a deep love of wallpaper. There were only like 15 different patterns going on and even a border on the ceiling in the kitchen, but who’s counting? Task number one after we closed on the house was remove all the wallpaper before moving in. A tall order. I search endlessly on the internet to find the best way to remove wallpaper, the suggestion was always a steamer. Joel and I bought ourselves the best rated steamer on amazon, plus our realtor gave us one as a home warming present. We thought we were set to rock and roll off that awful 80’s wallpaper, but very long 3 hours into the job and only a few sheets off wallpaper removed we were desperate to find a quicker, less tedious way, and one without the scalding heat of a steamer. It was the last weekend in July in Minnesota and we were baking in our kitchen trying to take that damn wallpaper off.

A good friend of ours, who is also a residential painter, stopped by our house to see the place after we closed and laughed at us with our steamer. He told us were doing it all wrong and said he’d come help us that Saturday to show us a better way. And thank god he did! He showed us how to easily remove that pesky wallpaper without a steamer. It was wonderful, well, as wonderful as taking down wallpaper can be.

How to Remove Wallpaper Without a Steamer

(Links to the specific products we used)
Large pump sprayer
– Fabric softener
Wallpaper scoring tool
Wallpaper scraper tool
Painter’s plastic roll
LOTS of patience

Cover your floors and baseboards with the painters plastic roll to protect from water, plus it makes for easy cleanup. Also tape off any outlets to keep water out.

Score the walls with the wallpaper scoring tool. Don’t push too hard because it will tear the wallpaper to shreds, which makes it rip off in tiny chunks. Instead, just medium pressure to knick at the surface. This will help the wallpaper absorb the water mixture allowing it to soften the adhesive on the backside of the paper.

Fill your pump sprayer with warm to hot water then add a generous amount of fabric softener, about 2 caps full. You don’t need a special fabric softener brand. I would just suggest a scent you like because you’re house is going to smell that way for a while. The fabric soften is essential, because it helps the water cling to the paper and helps to soften up the surface quicker then just plain water.

This is were that patience comes in. Spray the scored wallpaper from top to bottom, then wait. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. What we did was work in 2 rooms at a time. We sprayed one bedroom then moved to the other bedroom and sprayed that one. Then, returned to the first bedroom and sprayed again. The key to this step is letting the wallpaper soak to soften the glue behind the paper. Try to pull the paper too early without enough water and time to soak and you’ll just end up taking off the decorative finish, leaving the paper backing and glue still on the walls. And that’s a huge pain to remove. So, be patience. Spray. Let soak for a bit, then repeat about 3 to 5 times depending on the wallpaper. It will take time and you’ll want to rip it off early, but wait. Seriously. You’ll know when you’re ready to start pulling at the wallpaper when you can super easily peel up a few corners on different sheets around the room with just you thumb and no pressure.

STEP 5: 
After you pull off the wallpaper you’re usually still left with a little bit of glue on the walls. We sprayed them again, only about once or twice to soften the remaining glue, then with the wallpaper scraping tool,  scrape off the leftover glue. It was messy and kind of gross, but a necessary step before you paint. If glue is left on the wall’s surface paint will crack and flake off. We learned this the hard way in one room.

That’s it! The process is simple and the tools are cheap, it just takes time and patience. So, grab a beer, pump the tunes and start soaking that wallpaper. With the help of 2 friends, we got through 5 rooms in a weekend, which was amazing because it took Joel and I about 7 evenings to remove the wallpaper from our kitchen with the steamer method!

If you have old plaster walls like us that don’t have the best texture after removing wallpaper you can prime them with XIM Peel Bond Primer. It’s a clear gooey paint that dries clear that will help seal the walls and helps to level out the surface. It won’t work miracles but it worked great in our kitchen where the plaster was cracking slightly and the walls were overall is rough shape.


Thrifting Finds to Make Emily Henderson Proud

October 18, 2015

Thrift Store Finds | Kitty Cotten Thrift Store Finds | Kitty Cotten Thrift Store Finds | Kitty Cotten

Lately, I’ve had this thing for brass candles sticks. Whenever I go to the thrift store all things brass is always on my list. This past Friday, I found those adorable ducks at a thrift store near our new home. The duck bust bookends make me very happy! I’m a lover of all and any brass animal figurine. A new thrift store fascination for me is handmade pottery. After taking a pottery wheel class a last weekend with my mom and sister, I gained a new appreciation for handmade pottery. It’s hard to create something beautiful on that wheel! Trust me and the big pile of crumpled clay ‘masterpieces’ I made.

Lifestyle, Video

Minnesota State Fair

September 18, 2015

For all Minnesotans the State Fair marks the ceremonies end to our hot, humid blimp of a summer we have. This summer has gone by WAY too fast! I remember the summers between high school and college seemed like they took foooorrrreeever. But now, they seem to slip between my fingers all too quickly. I will say this has been a really exciting summer for Joel and I. I mean, we bought our first house! I’m not complaining the lease bit, just feeling that strange youthful nostalgia that comes with your late 20’s. That’s a thing right?


Master Bedroom Mood Board

September 18, 2015

Master Bedroom Inspiration

I’m so excited for this room! Right now we are sleeping in the guest bedroom while we wait for our new KING SIZE bed to arrive in a week or two. The all caps was me squealing with pure joy. I can’t wait to sleep like a starfish in our new mega blob of a bed. I’ve been dreaming about it. So, for this glorious new master bedroom, I’m hoping to create a calm, warm, rustic vibe that makes ya want to cozy up to warm cup of tea and dive into the next big young adult novel series or just straight pass out in that marshmallow bed of linen. Over the past few months of house hunting, my decor taste has been shifting, which is making purchasing furniture and such decision impossible for me. Like most of the internet, I was totally hook link and sinker on midcentury modern EVERYTHING. I still love the lines of midcentury modern furniture, but I’ve been craving something different. About this time, my good friend introduced me to the HGTV show Fixer Upper. I binge watched like 4 episodes in a row sipping on rose, of course. Oh, Joanna Gaines you had me at shiplap. I mean, she just does that whole rustic yet feminine farmhouse look soooo good. I may not be ready for the total farmhouse look, but I’m loving some of the details and overall casual vibe. So, this is my hipster spin on the rustic farmhouse look for our master bedroom.

Bedroom Decor | West Elm, Anthropologie,  Nate Berkus

NO.1 Patterned Sheets || NO.2 Rug || NO.3 Ceiling Fan || NO.4 Linen Duvet Cover || NO.5 Nightstand || NO.6 Extra Long Pillow (because Emily Henderson knows best)

Spaces, Video

Fixing Up The Place

September 17, 2015

We’ve been living in our new place for about a month now. Unfinished projects are everywhere… paint and hang doors, dining room shiplap walls, porch ceiling, but this unfinished mess is all ours! I thought it would be kind of neat to chronicle our fixer upper so here’s just the first video in what might be an endless playlist of YouTube videos for your enjoyment. That is if you like this kind of thing. Yes you say? Well go on over here and subscribe.


Our First Home: Before Tour

August 5, 2015

We bought a house! After what seemed like a million showings and open houses we found the perfect house for us. It’s a one story 3 bedroom, 1 bath rambler, with a basement ‘full of potential’ in South Minneapolis. It’s biggest drawback at the moment is it’s down right UGLY. Literally all but one room is covered in 90s wallpaper. I think I counted a total of 13 different wallpaper patterns! But Joel and I see potential and really love the neighborhood. We’ve had about a week to work on the house and it already looks a lot different then these before photos, but still has aways to go before we move in mid-August.

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

Yay! The only room without wallpaper! Our plan in here is to paint the ceiling, walls and trim. I know HUGE job, especially the trim work, but I really think painting the trim will completely change this place for the better. Also, I paint the fireplace brass parts in a matte black and paint the brick of the fireplace white. Joel’s not completely convinced on painting the brick, so we’ll see about that one after we move into the place. We are also going to refinish all the hardwood floors in the house. There are other smaller projects I’d like to do in here once we are moved in, like replace the tile under the fireplace and entryway.

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

This is the worst room in my opinion. I mean there are 3 different wallpapers going on and there is even a border on the CEILING! Seriously the lady who lived here before was really, really into wallpaper, and likely had some decisions anxiety picking her favorite patterns, and said screw it, I’ll just use them all everywheeeeree! We want to replace the floor, maybe tile or hardwood, not sure yet. Paint the cabinets, change out the lighting situation, replace the counter tops and add a backsplash. Down the road we will also need to replace the appliances, especially that ancient fridge.

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

The top one is the master bedroom and bottom will be our guest bedroom meets my office area. Again, we are going to remove the wallpaper, paint trim, remove the carpets to reveal the hardwood floors which will all be refinished. The bedrooms are the only spaces I feel I have a solid design idea, but that’s for another post!

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

I feel like the photos of the bathroom some how make it look better than it really is in person, because in person this room is a total mess. We are tossing around ideas of what we want to do in here, but those will be bigger scale plans and probably won’t happen until after we move in. My bathroom pin board is swelling with drop dead gorgeous bathrooms I’m pretty sure we can’t afford, but a girl can dream about lovely marbles, double sinks and brass fixtures right?!

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

This is technically our third bedroom, but was used as a dining room by the previous own and we want to keep it that way. Wallpaper must go, paint that trim and refinish those floors and we’ll be in business. I really like the chandelier, so just clean it up a bit and it will look great again, but maybe new faux candle things…do they even make something like that?

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis

This will probably end up my favorite room in, or technically outside, of our house. It’s a spacious 3 season porch, but it’s rather ugly at the moment. We will be taking down the drop ceiling, then probably figure out what we can do next to make this place more open and inviting. I want to paint it a soft white and make this our go-to entertaining spot when we have friends over. Dreaming of comfy lounge furniture and a dining spot.

Before House Tour | Minneapolis

Brace yourself ladies and gents, cause our basement is pretty rough. The carpets are disgusting and that paneling has to go. Our vision for this space is an additional living room meets rec room, another bedroom and a 3/4 bathroom. The space is all there for our vision, I think, it’s just the budget is lacking at the moment so we will gut it and then be patient until next year. I might work on sprucing up the laundry area to be a little friendlier, which pretty much means clean up the cobwebs, add a outdoor runner and possibly paint the walls…we’ll see.

Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour | Minneapolis Before House Tour

So that’s it folks! The grand before tour of our new home. I can’t wait to start showing some after photos in a month or two! If you want some sneaky snaps of the spaces as it progresses follow me on instagram! Thanks for reading and staying tuned in during this busy time for me. I really wanted to post more regularly, but planning a wedding and purchasing a fixer upper house is as time consuming as you’d probably guess, so thanks for hanging in here! Can’t wait to have real space for an office and YouTube videos again!


Wedding planning has begun…Let’s catchup

June 16, 2015

a and be bridal Minneapolis | Kitty Cotten

It’s been an embarrassing long time since I last posted here. So, it’s about time we catch up! Exciting stuff has happened in the past two months along with plenty of stressful hurdles to to navigate. As many of you know Joel and I got engaged, but that was back in August 2014 and not much has happened on the wedding planning front. Well, actually I didn kinda sorta try to plan a wedding here in Minnesota, but it just never felt right. I was overwhelmed and our families were getting antsy. Then about a month and half ago Joel and I were driving somewhere and I threw an idea at him, “What about we get married in Costa Rica?” Keeping his eyes on the road he said, “Sure.” In all that exciting glory we committed to a destination wedding. So, in the past month or so I’ve crazily planning a wedding in Costa Rica!

Destination wedding in Costa Rica | Kitty Cotten

But it wasn’t all adorable sloths and stunning sunsets. Halfway through, I panicked. I’d picked a hotel and reserved a wedding date at a place I just didn’t love. By now we’d told most of our family and friends the hotel, so changing it felt like a really big deal, but I knew in my gut it wasn’t the right place. A very stressful week ensued of endless pro’s and con’s lists of other hotels until I found one that was just right. So far my style of wedding planning has been a lot like the story of Goldyilocks, which is funny because I wouldn’t consider myself an indecisive person. But a people pleaser…definitely.

Location shenanigans aside, I found the most beautiful wedding dress at a and be bridal in Minneapolis! I wasn’t sure if I’d wear an actually bridal gown, but when you find the right dress you get this wonderful ‘I can’t wipe this smile off my face even if I tried’ feeling. I’m smiling at my computer just thinking about it. How’s that for cheesy.

Below is a peek at the invitation I made for our wedding, which I’m patiently waiting for printed version to arrive in my mailbox. I can’t wait to share with you guys all the details, DIY’s, and mostly the lessoned I’ve learned trying to plan a wedding. Up next, will be our ‘engagement’ photos. I put engagement photos in quotes, because sometimes I think engagement photos are way to corny and weird. Spoiler alert: there are no hearts, chalkboards or balloons. Thanks for sticking in here and reading this longwinded post. Let’s hang out more!

a and be bridal Minneapolis | Kitty Cotten a and be bridal Minneapolis | Kitty Cotten Destination wedding in Costa Rica | Kitty Cotten

Style, Video

Spring Break Lookbook

March 25, 2015

I have to admit I’ve been mentally packing for our trip to the Dominican Republic for about the past month, because I’m a crazy over planner and serial organizer. I mean, I live by my packing cubes. I’m such a dork. Anyways, I decided to put my type-A personality to good use and make a fun, short spring break lookbook video pairing 9 outfits as inspiration for your next adventure in warm weather! This is my very first video lookbook posted to my youtube, so let me know what you think and if I should do more of them in the future! Now, on to the outfit details of each look. You’ll see lots of repeat multi-purpose pieces in each outfit, so all you’ll need is a carry-on to pack!

Spring Break Outfit


Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
T-Shirt – American Eagle ($25)
Shorts – Levi’s (similar pair: $54)
Tortoise Sunglasses – Amazon ($5)
Bucket Bag – TJ Maxx (similar one: $49)
Bracelets – MadewellBauble Bar  & J.Crew



Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
Flamingo Print Blouse – Madewell (similar one: $72)
Shorts – Levi’s (similar pair: $54)
Tortoise Sunglasses – Amazon ($5)
Bracelets – J.Crew & Bauble Bar



Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
Blouse – J.Crew (similar one: $79.50 on sale)
Shorts – Levi’s (similar pair: $54)
Black Sunglasses – Amazon ($10)
Bucket Bag – TJ Maxx (similar one: $49)
Bracelets – J.Crew & Bauble Bar



Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
Black Sunglasses – Amazon ($10)
Tank Top – Forever 21 (similar one: $14)
Shorts – Target ($20)
Bucket Bag – TJ Maxx (similar one: $49)



Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
Kimono – Target ($23)
Tank Top – American Eagle (similar one: $35)
Shorts – Levi’s (similar pair: $54)
Bracelets – J.Crew & Bauble Bar
Tortoise Sunglasses – Amazon ($5)



Tortoise Sunglasses – Amazon ($5)
Tank Top – Target (similar one: $28)
Skirt – Sheinside (similar one: $67)
Bracelets – Madewell & Bauble Bar



Black Sunglasses – Amazon ($10)
Bird Dress – Sheinside ($13)
Bracelets – Madewell & Bauble Bar
Bucket Bag – TJ Maxx (similar one: $49)



Panama Hat – J.Crew ($ 58)
Romper – Target ($25)
Tortoise Sunglasses – Amazon ($5)
Bracelets – Madewell & Bauble Bar
Bucket Bag – TJ Maxx (similar one: $49)



Black Sunglasses – Amazon ($10)
Romper – Forever21 (similar one: $25)
Bracelets – MadewellBauble Bar  & J.Crew

Travel, Video

In-flight Travel Essentials

March 24, 2015

I love traveling, but it can be stressful at times. Here’s a video with all of my must have in-flight travel goodies to make traveling easier and a bit more relaxing. The only thing I forgot to add to this video was a snack. I always have snacks on me when traveling! Subscribe to my channel on YouTube: