So now we know what the plaster underneath the wallaper looks like. It's really not in bad shape at all. There are some hairline cracks, but nothing wide. No chunks falling off. It's a little bumpy and uneven, but if I look half that good at 80+ years, I'll be overjoyed.
My dilemma now is whether or not to continue removing the wallpaper/liner. It's stuck to the plaster *everywhere*, and it takes about an hour to uncover 4 square feet. The room is about 17.5 feet by 11 feet. With 7.5 foot of wall from ceiling to molding, that equals 345 square feet of wall (1 wall is paneled with heaven-only-knows-what under it, so I didn't even add that one in). Subtract for windows and doorways, and I'd venture to say we still have at least 220 square feet of wall. That's 54 hrs of wallpaper stripping. Plus the stairway and upstairs hall, which adds maybe 50 square feet of wall space.
I feel like I'm taking the easy way out (which I would be) if I cover it all with Nu-Wal, but I don't think I have the time to de-paper the living room, stairs, and upstairs hallway. Since they all flow together, there would be no way to Nu-Wal some of it while leaving the original plaster in the rest. In a way, it would still be historically accurate, since the walls were originally covered before painting. I just don't know... I'd never rip the plaster out, but is it acceptable to cover it in order to expedite the process of having a finished room?
It's definitely cheaper to strip it and paint it. My heart is telling me to have "virgin" plaster walls, but my practical side wants to see a new room ASAP. But restoration isn't about ASAP... It's about patience, love, and hard work. It's about peeling off the crap to uncover what things whould look like. And they shouldn't look like Nu-Wal. They should look like plaster.
In other news, I found the plaster ceiling underneath the acoustic ceiling tiles. This is the plaster I was expecting on the walls; it's cracked, textured, and kinda scary. It's also punctuated by "furring strips" every 12 inches. The reason furring strips is in quotes is because they aren't real strips. More like chunks. They're about 3/4" thick and maybe 1" wide. Solid wood. They're nailed down with what look like roofing nails. What were the previous previous owners thinking?!