Paint wallpaper v. strip wallpaper v. replace walls?
We are renovating an apartment built in 1916. The walls are plaster with wallpaper that has been painted over many times. I think there is only one layer of wallpaper (several layers of paint including lead paint), but can't be sure. The condition of the walls varies from room to room. Some have peeling wallpaper, others have bubbling by the molding, and others look fine except for the regular seams that you can see under the paint. The state of the plaster is a bit of a mystery. I really, really hate the seams and want all the painted wallpaper removed. We've had three contractors look at the space and they all have different views on what we should do. One thinks stripping the wallpaper is a terrible idea and assures us that a good painter can paint over the wallpaper so that no seams show. If I don't want to paint over the wallpaper, he thinks we should consider tearing out the plaster walls and replacing them with drywall (which appears to have been done in one of the bedrooms).
Has anyone done any of these options before? I'm worried that the plaster underneath will end up being a mess if we strip the walls but I don't want to paint over everything just because it's the cheaper/easier option (especially if the seams stay!). Ripping the walls out seems extreme but maybe would be less of a project them stripping the wallpaper and repairing the plaster. I'd appreciate any advice or personal experiences. Thank you!
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