Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Big Ol' Living Room and TONS (maybe even literally) of Wallpaper

This spacious room had ceiling to floor and wall to wall drapes, as did most of the rooms, but there was something hidden in this room.  Something some of the grand kids didn't even know was there, and something we uncovered within the walls.  Come along on the adventure to find out what it was hiding behind those Hawaiian print drapes and lurking within the walls.

This room had several layers of wallpaper as seen below.  The first thing I did was take down the drapes.  Believe it or not the red flower wallpaper pictured below is actually a match to these drapes!!!  The wallpaper that was up with these lovelies was the yellow and green stripes.  Next I pulled down the top layer of paper to reveal the apples.  It helped to rid the room of the musty OLD odor it had, but I dug deeper.  I was on a mission to discover the history of the home.  I saved a sample of EVERY layer of paper from EVERY room.  My initial intent was to make a collage for each room.  But after peeling back the layers I soon discovered this to be impossible due to the large patterns and almost mural like scenes.  These are the layers from the living room.
top layer
2nd layer

2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th layer

6th layer, probably from the 20's

7th and original layer, from 1916!
  There were 9 layers of paper on the staircase walls which is located just south of the living room.  I soon discovered these layers provided a nice insulation!      These are the layers found under the stripes and apples.
4th layer
3rd layer
5th layer

5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th (original)
Now the REAL work on the living room started when I was away at a friend's house celebrating New Year's Eve.  I THOUGHT I was going to come home to some work COMPLETED on the bathroom, BUT this is what greeted me!  The plaster was all down from the ceiling and walls of the living room.
Notice the colors of the wall above the window.  The top was white then there was a gray stripe and a turquoise color under that.  It took me a year to figure out the gray stripe was the concrete that had been originally decked out with a picture rail!!

When the time came, Wayne had a little help hanging the new sheet rock.  Because I could not get all the wallpaper off and we did not want to disturb the base boards, we covered the concrete walls with 1/4 inch sheet rock.  We were able to set it on the baseboard and glue it to the wall.  That helped to provide a little bit of that insulation factor we lost with the peeling of the paper.  

Wait...wasn't there a HUGE window here somewhere?

My sister Nancy flew out about a month after we moved into the house.  I put her to work on the staircase stripping 5 layers of paint.  This was one of the first jobs we tackled, and it was the LAST to be completed 5 years later.  What a long drawn out process it is to strip paint from antique molding!


Now... the finished product!  After 5 years of stripping several layers of paint from the woodwork, it has now been restored to its 1916 glory and the diamond windows have been hung back in their proper place.  Notice the built in bookcase to the right.  It had been covered for decades under the drapes and it was a surprise to some family members to see it existed!  As I worked on the restoration of the built in I discovered photos of the Marshall family, as well as the Atwoods who were the original owners, that had fallen through some cracks and found their way UNDER the bookcase.  There were also several Christmas cards addressed to the Atwood's from the late 1920's and early 1930's there as well.  

The porch swing,  was found in the crawl space under the house.


Double pocket doors put back in place!

The staircase is visible in the background.

Another pocket door put back in place, originally there were double doors, but we had to hide duct work and were unable to put both back in.
Here is a view of the living room looking into the dining room and mud room at the back door.  We tried to keep the home as true to it's original construction as possible, but with several additions that took place in the 40's, 50's and 80's it was hard.  I hope we did it justice and that THIS old house will be around for another 100 years!


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