It was another busy weekend at Biohazard Manor.

We’re down to the wire to get all of our major repairs and cleaning finished, so Jack and I put in some long, hard hours over the past couple of days.  On Saturday we started our day by fueling up with a big breakfast at our favorite local place, The Jem.  If you live in the Philly ‘burbs and haven’t been there yet, you need to check them out for breakfast!  It’s fantastic — packed with 50s memorabilia, owned by a local man named Tony for the past 40 years, and full of regulars who have been coming here since it opened.  Tony is an incredibly nice guy, and he makes the rounds greeting customers at their tables whenever he can.  And the food is classic diner fare, and lots of it for super cheap.

Jack power-drinking his coffee to get ready for the day


And preparing to house down his massive breakfast scrambler


But the best part of the Jem is their scrapple sticks!  I know scrapple is one of those things you either really love or really hate…  but the Jem does it right.  They cut the scrapple into skinny sticks and deep-fry them like french fries, so you get more crispiness in every bite.  OM NOM NOM.


Anyway.  Jack spent the weekend fixing yet another rotting wall that he discovered (if anyone knows a good real estate attorney, we’d love their contact info so we can get some advice on how to handle all of these undisclosed “treasures”).  I can’t even post about that because I’m so frustrated, so I’ll post about a couple of our accomplishments.  Accomplishment #1 was in the kitchen…  now that we have everything scrubbed, we’re ready to start unpacking our dishes and cooking stuff.  But we really wanted to line the shelves and drawers, because despite the cleaning we just didn’t want our eating and cooking stuff on those surfaces for now.  The problem: I just couldn’t find shelf paper that I liked.  It seems like the shelf paper you get in stores falls into one of two camps: non-stick (which we’ve used before, and it moves around too much), or adhesive but boring (solid white or wood grain).  I was really dying for a fun cheery pattern.  After searching a bunch of stores and coming up empty, I thought I was going to have to do an online search and wait a week or two for everything to arrive.  But THEN — I had a discovery in Target, and created a shelf paper hack!

While I was in the home decor section, I came across this: rolls of removable wallpaper!


I figured I’d give it a try; the patterns were fun and colorful, and they were adhesive but not permanent.  The biggest issue was cutting it all down to size, because the rolls are sized for walls instead of drawers.  It took me 6 hours to do the entire kitchen, around 40 drawers and shelves.


But I think it was worth it!  Much cheerier (and cleaner) than the original surfaces!

IMG_1568 IMG_1567

Accomplishment #2 – more cleaning.  This weekend we tackled the window screens, as well as the waffle-pattern covers on the ceiling light fixtures in the bathrooms.  If you’ve read our other cleaning posts, you totally know where this is heading.  I’ll just post 2 things here for you to enjoy:

First, let’s play “guess which screen hasn’t been cleaned yet”.


Next, here’s where we discover that the bathroom light fixture covers aren’t actually yellowed with age, just with nicotine.  This is another one of those “we have to take video for proof” moments.  😛

We used up 8 bottles of full-strength LA’s Totally Awesome cleaner this weekend.  (There were a lot of screens and light covers.)  And yes, Jack is using a power-spray bottle in that video…  our hands started cramping from squeezing the trigger on the cleaner bottles, so we had to get a little help.

So much to post in the coming week!  Lots of decorative stuff is going to start happening — carpet, wallpaper, etc.  It’s all starting to come together!

11 thoughts on “It was another busy weekend at Biohazard Manor.

  1. Your posts are so fascinating to me since it seems what you are going through is so parallel to what we are going through right now. We had all the same ‘fun’ with the “hidden treasures” ranging from hidden floor drains to just about the most horrible electrical wiring this side of the Mississippi….ugh. I didn’t post about all that crap…..but trust me – I get it!

    And ha! I had the EXACT same problem with our kitchen/bathroom shelves and drawers too….I could not find any liner I really wanted to use…..I also cleaned the cabs for hours and hours, but I just felt they REALLY needed some kind of liner too. I finally gave up looking for interesting stuff and just lined it with some of that non-stick plastic stuff ….that yes, DOES slide around 😦 …… I will definitely have to keep the removable wallpaper you found in mind, I LOVE the look!


  2. Zabadu says:

    As a former smoker, I can say “yeah, that’s disgusting”, but what is even more disgusting to me is that in all those years, no one bothered to wash anything! Apparently, the maid shirked her duties!! I saw that wallpaper at Target and couldn’t figure out what I could use it for….and now you’ve shown me! Thanks for that!

    PS: Your orange kitchen is right up my alley. Honestly, other than cleaning, the only change I’d make is a stainless fridge to go with the awesome ovens. Well, and probably a fun backsplash? Hmmmm….


    • I know, I think the biggest issue is not that people smoked in the house (I mean, the house was done in the 50s after all), but that no-one looked around at some point and went, “hmmm, that windowsill is brown but is supposed to be white”. Jack and I aren’t the cleanest people in the world, we’ve been known to avoid vacuuming until the tumbleweeds of cat hair are bigger than us… but come on, there’s a limit!

      And thanks for the kitchen comments, we love it too! A few simple (non-structural) improvements are coming, and once we can save our pennies a new fridge is DEFINITELY on the list! The current one is from the 1980s and is not in great working order.


      • Zabadu says:

        Check out your local used appliance store. I’ve never bought new, and never had a problem. Craigslist too! I got my GE Spectrum self-cleaning oven in perfect working condition for $50!


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