Thursday, March 31, 2011

Treasure behind the paneling

While the renovators were tearing out the cheap paneling in the rooms of the Vawter House, we came across a special wallpaper that sent me soaring back more than 50 years.

While most of the interior walls in my grandparent's house were of non-descript painted plaster, the walls in the living and dining rooms were special. I remember staring at the pale green and pink wallpaper that was almost dreamlike. On a rainy day (we were always outside in good weather), the colonial scenes of horse-drawn carriages and women in big hats would prompt stories to begin whirring in my head. The man and the woman in the scene were courting and ready to get in the carriage and ride away. The church, courthouse and plantation home looked exactly right. The trees in the scene reminded me of the huge oak trees in my grandparents' front yard. I guess this kind of daydreaming is what kids did before video games -- and TV.

A close inspection of the wallpaper would tell you that the vertical seams didn't precisely match. I'm sure my grandfather hung it and he was more into practicality than aesthetics.

I cut out a section of the brittle wallpaper, mounted it on plywood and framed it from some of the original dark-pine moulding in the house. This cutout will hang on one of the new walls in the Vawter House.

I'm told that through the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation a person can find the origin of just about wallpaper. It might be interesting to research the history, but to me the wallpaper is simply what dreams are made of.

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