Tuesday, 20 July 2010

A Tale of Several Wallpapers ..

So began the task of stripping the "dining room" .. When the house was built in 1900 until (probably) the early 1980's our dining room was the kitchen. I am not sure who thought it would be "okay" to wallpaper over the entire wall of tiles and think it would look acceptable! However it did provide me with an interesting afternoon removing said tiles and finding 3 or 4 layers of wallpaper on top and several layers underneath!

On top we had a fairly plain anaglypta wallpaper dating from the early 1990s (I think) and this had been originally white, then mint green and finally a rather "miserable mushroom colour".

In the mess of wet wallpaper, it's hard to be entirely accurate, but under that it seemed we had a plain white with small flowers on, some inspiring 1960s print full of bunches of grapes and glasses and carafes of wine! It was a shame not to have been able to get any of this one off in one piece, but here it is in situ ...

The tiles were so laden with layers of paint, it's a wonder they even stayed on the wall, but here you can see them in their full and glorious 1970s brown!

And I discovered the room had been split into two, with what would have been a scullery becoming the small kitchen area later and the other end containing a range and space for a large table. The scullery end right back under the wallpapers and tiles was originally a deep maroon red and the other end a dark green.

In a cupboard next to where the old range once stood was some lovely almost "oriental" style wallpaper. I have no idea how to date this .. maybe the 1940s?

And before I finished stripping this room back completely, I found these "2 lovelys":

So many layers of pattern hidden in the dark for so long!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Something special about an old house ..

Although a 110 year old house is not really considered "old" in the United Kingdom (my in laws live in a 600 year old house and the "new wing" was built 400 years ago!) There is still something special about being able to live in an older property. My husband dragged me round to view several 1990s builds and gave up after seeing me utterly fail to get in the least bit excited about any of them! And then we found "Fairlea" and after a long and arduous struggle with trying to buy it (discounts for the new damp course, discounts for the lack of a proper loft conversion etc etc!) we finally moved in about 6 weeks ago!

Now it begins ... Renovation and research and all the time pondering who might have lived here over the past 110 years, what the house was like when it was built, and if we might find something interesting under the floorboards, or under the wallpaper as we start to make it the stunning house it deserves to be ...

It's a fairly plain and solid "old beast of a house". We asked our solicitors if the previous owners had handed over any of the old papers and we were delighted when she sent us what she had, in the post. We discovered more about the reason for it's plain and solid exterior and why it has been largely unloved. It was built by the landlord of this block of land to accommodate tenants and until the late 1970s was only ever occupied by tenants.

It had also had it's ground floor converted into a flat in the early 1970s and was then knocked back into one house sometime later ... and we're cursing that the original Victorian spindles and yule posts for the entire house weren't kept as now we have a mixture of old and new .. testament to it's splitting and rejoining!

Anyway, the dining room is the first to be sorted out ... As this used to be the old kitchen, it's a mish-mash of tiles and wallpaper and even a wall, that has been tiled and then wallpapered! Stay tuned for my post on a century of wallpaper design! Or "what I found" under the first layer ..