When we bought our house, most of the walls were a drab, off-white color. During our first demo project a few years ago, we expected that we’d find layer upon layer of paint over the plaster walls, but what we didn’t anticipate was the four to five layers of vintage wallpaper under the plaster! As the mystery unraveled (or…fell off the walls), we learned that plaster walls must have been a luxury back in 1910 because only our living/dining room had them. The rest of the house consisted of wallpaper over shiplap wood siding. (At some point, someone took it up a notch and plaster was added over the wallpapered rooms.)
Above and below are a sampling from our recent demo. This is what we found in the kitchen under all those layers…I knew our house had a feminine side.
And below is the old vinyl that was under the astroturf-esque carpet in our old back porch space.
Apparently the living room once had pink walls!
In 2006, when we tore out some cabinets to install the dishwasher, we found this old newspaper used as a shelf liner .
The bedroom demo two years ago uncovered another set of surprises. The wall paper in this space was also installed directly over the shiplap siding and then lath and plaster was added afterwards.
Despite the headaches that can come with an old house, it’s so interesting to discover its past life and think about the people who lived there and what was happening in the world at that time. I’m a little sad that we have now opened up every nook and cranny and there is no room left for surprises.
Maybe we should add our own…for the next 100 years.