Eventually we hired a teenager to come in a few weekends to strip paint. After a month he finished, and it looked... like shit. Not his fault. Beneath the oogly white paint was about an 1/8th of an inch of varnish. We knew we had to call in the big guns. Guys who, literally, had bigger heat guns than we did.
While we'd stripped most of the front and dining room already, the kitchen remained. Our kitchen contains all the worst decisions ever made in this house. The woodwork was not only painted, but painted a sickly avocado green. The wallpaper had kitsch value, which wore out after a year. The cabinets are ho-hummy; the stove needs to be replaced with one that doesn't have a small oven on one side and a warming area on the other; and the fridge is too damn big for such a little room. Eventually we want to break out the back and expand, but after receiving a quote from our contractor on what that would cost and involve. we're not doing that anytime soon.
So we decided to just pretty up the kitchen as best we could, and we began by having the wood work stripped and stained and varnished. The workers have been coming in for the past three weeks, and this past week they made real progress in the kitchen. The people who owned the house before us were pretty nice folks, but I have to question their mental competence.
Back door before
Back door after
Door hardware: hinges, door knobs, and strike plates.