August 23, 2004

archaeology, wallpaper and DIY

Task to patch and decorate the back wall of my 1902 terraced cottage.
1. Start: digging through the 1" of multilayers of wallpaper and paint; through (among others) the dark floral papers, the 1950's mini-prints, the green paint, the brown and orange wallpaper, cream paint and 1980's laura ashley. Who were these people that put up this stuff? All, I guess, thrilled with their own efforts to transform what was there before.
2. Then – hitting the bedrock – the old (and crumbly) plaster underneath the century of decorative additions. Thinks – the last time a person saw this bit of wall was before the first world war – wonder who that was, what happened to him…..
3.Then – patch, repair, plaster, paste up textured paper to cover ‘imperfections’ – easy? Don’t ask! Sufficient to say that the venerable wall is now in the process of shedding the wall covering applied (with considerable unladylike language) on Saturday. It is beginning to balloon away from the wall, the edges curling back and the whole thing, frankly, a complete botch….
4. What would all those competent wallpaperers of years past think of the sad state of the wall they loved (or at least cared enough about to decorate)
Sorry guys! (guys, in this case, includes any non-blokes who may have had a hand in the evolution of this wall of 20th century taste…).
Back to the concept stage I think….

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