Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hey, Diddle Diddle

I'm procrastinating. Having finished running a zillion statistics at work today, I thought I'd totally be ready to scrub some recently de-papered walls this evening, but laziness has set in.

So instead, I'll entertain you with photos of the 6 (or more) layers of wallpaper we just took off the walls in the room formerly known as the Animal Room. Now I'll attempt to start calling it the Sitting Room. We'll see if anything besides Animal Room will ever stick.

So - from the bottom up:

We found this layer of paper barely even readable on the walls - and of course it's the prettiest one. We think it dates to 1940, because someone signed the wall underneath (thanks Hal Hayden, who wrote "Papered March 29, 1940" in pencil)! I'm touching up one of the photos of this pretty "Lantern" paper, possibly to print & frame and keep in the room:

Recolored (bright!):

There was a very light, thin, very easily destroyed layer that might have been even lower than the lantern, or it might have just been that one wall had one paper more than the others (some walls in the room are old, old drywall - not plaster - so some reconfiguring happened). It looks like some kind of orchid or ladyslipper. The orange ink ran a lot and I couldn't get more than this much without destroying it:

Next was this one, which we called "Polka Dots". It seems to have been coordinated (I guess!) with this border at the top of the walls:

Next was this which we called "Bamboo Flower". Kind of dated looking - like maybe late 1950s?, but not too terrible. Decent muted colors, I guess.

Then we get crazy. As if the plaid & animals combo wasn't enough - guess what was right under that plaid-animal scheme? Nursery rhymes. Yup, scenes from your favorite tales plopped right atop bright-ass yellow stripes. I don't know where the cat & the fiddle is, but Mr. Humpty is there, prompting us to bust out in "The Humpty Dance" several times. The paper was a bit vinyl-ish and my guess is that this is from the late 60s to early 70s. Go disco Humpty! It also was graced by a striped border at the top - probably not a historical shout-out but just dumb luck. In case all the stripes and characters weren't enough for baby to look at, throw some stripes up top to freak him out.

Then - drum roll - the infamous Animals (one wall):

And Plaid (other three walls):

Don't worry, we kept a small piece of each of these for posterity.

What do we learn from following the wallpaper trail? 1) The reconfiguration of the room happened a long time ago, maybe even shortly after 1940. 2) People's style sense has steadily declined since 1940, culminating in possibly hallucinogen-inspired melanges of totally wacked subjects (crazed, orange Burberry meets a zookeeper's feverish nightmare? They're watching me, I know the tigers are watching me...)

The neat thing is that almost all of the previous wallpapers featured the yellow-orange-red warm tones, and we'll be doing the same with a warm brown-tan. Apparently it works in there - well, when not smeared across a psychedelic plaid jungle.

OK, now I'm inspired to go scrape the remaining glop off the walls and get them ready for their triumphant return to classiness.


Jennifer said...

It's always so neat to look at the layers of wallpaper... it's about the only fun part of taking it down!

Kristen said...

Ooh, I agree with Jennifer - it's like an excavation. Also, I think that my pediatrician's office had some of the jungle wallpaper... freaky.