Friday, May 3, 2013

Wrap Your Home in Flowers and Bows

The day after closing, my husband and I met with our contractors at the new house and assessed the work we need to do before we move in.  We knew we were buying a fixer, but I don’t think we realized the gravity of the situation until we saw the house empty.  The previous owners had lived in the house for 51 years, and I don’t think they had redecorated since the early seventies.  I feel like we're in over our heads, particularly when it comes to wallpaper.  Everyone who has come through the house- from the electrician, to the painter, to the ADT man- has commented on the previous owners' fetish for wallpaper.  They couldn’t get enough of it, and their choices were bizarre, to put it mildly.  

For example, here is the first floor powder room:

Notice how the paper extends to the ceiling, and wraps around the steam pipe?  They must have run out before they could cover the toilet.

Here is a close-up of the pattern: 

Don't adjust your screen; it actually is black with day-glo flowers.  Try finding hand towels to match that!

And this is my ugly blue kitchen, which really deserves a post all its own:

Unfortunately, we are not taking down the wallpaper in this room because we are planning a total kitchen renovation within the next five years.  But we’ll see how long I can live with the Burpee motif:

This is the dining room:

It's hard to tell from this picture, but in person you can see the stark outline of the previous owners’ breakfront and buffet.  It’s a useful guide.

I call this print Exodus in Flight.  I imagine the birds are working their way toward the window, attempting a furtive escape.

The foyer is enveloped in deep merlot:

  This is probably the least offensive of all the papers, which is fortunate because…

…it extends to the upstairs hall.  The painters estimate it will take one full day just to strip this paper.

Welcome aboard the guest bedroom:

We have a cruise liner theme going on in here.  Bon Voyage!

My house is like a gift you unwrap from the inside.

For the previous homeowners, wallpaper wasn't enough.  Most of the bedrooms have borders, too:  

And in case you think they forgot to paper the closets, they didn’t:

 I think the botanical print in the hall bath goes nicely with the maroon toilet, don’t you?

This is the master bedroom:

The room is huge, so there is a great quantity of wallpaper.  Even more than we bargained for, it turns out:

Their love for wallpaper runs beneath the surface.  Paper on top of paper: The gift that keeps on giving!

When we pulled at one loose corner, this is what happened:

Luckily, we hadn’t yet formed an attachment to either print

And, finally, this is Minnow and Peanut’s room:  

Minnow is actually fond of this paper because blue is her favorite color this week.    

Thankfully, they had enough bows for the closet, too:

I think the bumper sticker on the mirror sums it up.


  1. Wow, I remember when that bow paper was popular...20 years ago? Tons of paper, but so much potential. Have fun decorating/remodeling/making it your own.

  2. Grandmom and Poppie would be happy to see "the blue bird of happiness" on your wall. You are Blessed! Love, Mom

  3. I first read this on my phone... and I couldn't wait to get to my computer and see the pics in greater detail! I think the owner of your home might have been the twin sister of the owners of ours! we also had wallpaper on the ceiling, outlines of old furniture, and three toilets none of them were white. You will quickly forget how crazy it was though.

    And obviously its really easy (and inappropriate) to spend other people's money... but I would definitely take down the paper in the kitchen. If I had to live with the orange flowers in our kitchen I would have ripped the whole kitchen apart by hand in the middle of the night. I think you can survive your blue kitchen longer if there aren't crazy flowers on the wall... our ikea island also helps with limited working space in kitchens of that era. I've lived with ours for 3 years that way!