Up until we finally became true homeowners just a few months ago, I had been fantasizing about fixing up an older house for years. I can think all the way back to the trips my brother and I would take with my mom when we were kids — to garage sale after garage sale…and open house after open house, logging ideas, getting inspired, and imagining creative ways to make a house a home. I think it’s fair to say we all loved these trips — the colors, the possibilities, and the endlessly entertaining notion that you truly can transform almost any space. Recurrent among my favorite fantasies has always been the act of picking out a choice wallpaper to perk up a nook or a cranny once I finally had a house of my own.
So, listen. There are 2 things to know about wallpaper. The first thing to know is, as decorative items go, it’s not cheap. Knowing this, I had been socking away $20 bills in my “wallpaper” envelope for quite a while before we moved, hoping it would soothe the burn. Wallpapering is a difficult skill, so on top of the cost of the paper (which is a bit pricey per roll, I won’t lie), the best advice I got was to also hire a professional paper-hanger to hang it. (“If you are going to spend the money for the paper, you might as well hire a professional to hang it right,” my mother said, and so did the clerk at the wallpaper store.)
The second thing to know about wallpaper is, it’s totally worth it. You may already know my motto: there are few problems a can of paint can’t solve. And I do firmly believe this. But then there’s wallpaper. Wallpaper is a whole different ball game. Wallpaper is not about solving problems. Wallpaper is about enhancing your life.
This bathroom was not a problem to be solved — it just needed a little pizzazz.. The fixtures were sweet, the wainscoting was in nice shape, and the old claw-foot tub was in perfect condition. But, it needed some freshening. The paper went on the top half of the walls and I painted the wainscoting to match the trim — a soft cream. Then, we installed a sweet little chandelier, and I painted the ceiling petal pink. A few coats of paint, a few rolls of Amy Butler’s Field Poppy in Sunset, and a little bling, and we were good to go.
The beauty of of it is, a little really does go a long way. Wallpaper makes for such a dramatic effect. I’d go so far as to say, it almost harkens to a different time period…in my imagination it’s a time when people made bolder style choices and were prepared to live with them for a long time. A time when feeling a little formal — at the dining table, in the entryway, while bathing — was not such a rare thing. Long dinners, long baths, long goodbyes — I think people used to make time for those things, and a bold, bright bit of paper on the walls was the backdrop for this kind of lingering. Around this house, we still have to remind each other to logoff during certain hours and mute the phone ringers, but I’d like to think, in some small, colorful way — we have set the scene for such time-taking. I hope so, anyway.
Now, if you will excuse me. I believe it’s time to draw my bath…