Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Guest Room Progress

Last week, I posted an admittedly ambitious list detailing the projects we hope to accomplish by the end of March.  One of our first goals is to fix up our guest bedroom so that we have a hospitable place for overnight guests to stay.  I'm excited to share the first set of "Before" and "After" photos.  We still have a lot of work to do in this room, but we're pleased with the progress so far. 

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Papered House Project List: Jan-March 2015

We have a lot of painting in our future...

I've always been a compulsive list-maker.  I make lists of books I want to read, restaurants I want to try, places I should visit.  I tend to be a tad forgetful and the list-making helps me feel as though I have a fighting chance of keeping everything in order.  Even if I'm just going to the grocery store for three items, I force myself to make a list lest I forget something (As luck would have it, I often forget my grocery list at home.  Oh, the irony). 

Restoring our home will be the largest project that my husband and I have undertaken, and it's bound to be a work in progress for quite some time.  When we look around the house at the unfinished projects and see all the work that still needs to be done, it's easy for us to feel overwhelmed and discouraged.  Separating the projects into small, discrete tasks has made the restoration feel more manageable.  Thus, we created a project list for the next three months.  And unlike my grocery list, there's no chance of me forgetting the items on this list.  It would be pretty hard to overlook the peeling wallpaper in our family room or the grimy grout in our bathroom (ick)!

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Our Retro Kitchen

When my husband and I started researching our home, we had a strong hunch that our kitchen dated to the 1940s or 1950s.  We didn't have any concrete evidence, just a vague conception of what a retro, post-war American kitchen would look like: white cabinets, Formica counters, linoleum floors, cherry red accents, and kitschy wallpaper. 

In other words, we thought that many 1940s or 1950s kitchens had looked exactly like the kitchen in our new home.  It turns out we were right.  Here's our kitchen, in all its retro glory.

And here is an ad I found in the Retro Renovation kitchen gallery for a 1940s kitchen by the company St. Charles.  The St. Charles kitchen has white steel cabinets, chrome handles, a tile backsplash, black/red linoleum floors, and cherry red Formica counters edged in chrome.  Unless my eyes deceive me, the wallpaper features an assortment of happy, singing vegetables who are performing some sort of jig. 

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Friday, January 9, 2015

The Vintage Wallpaper - First Floor

One of the defining features of our house -- and the reason we named this blog "The Papered House" -- is the variety of vintage wallpaper found throughout the home.  I'm a bit of a wallpaper nerd, so perhaps it's unusual that I'm thrilled to live in rooms covered with old, dated wallpaper.  Not all of the wallpaper is our taste, but I'm embracing it and learning as much about it as I can.  Here is what we've discovered thus far about the wallpaper on our first floor.

Living and Dining Rooms (Originally the Double Parlor)

Our house is arranged as a side-hall with double-parlor, which seems to be a popular style for our area.  The foyer and staircase are on the left side of the house.  To the right of the entry hall, French doors lead to two rooms which are joined by pocket doors.  When the house was built, these rooms most likely served as the home's front and rear parlors.  The front parlor would have been the most formal room in the house, as it would have been used for entertaining visitors and important guests.  The rear parlor would have been used as a less formal gathering space for family members.  In other words, the front parlor was the equivalent of a modern living room and the rear parlor was the equivalent of the modern family room.  The rooms would often have been decorated similarly, so that the decor would appear cohesive when the pocket doors were opened.  In case it helps to see a floorplan, the first floor of our home looks remarkably similar to the layout of the Gallier House in New Orleans.

But back to our house.  Although these rooms would have been used as a front and rear parlor, we're using them as a living room and dining room, respectively.  For reasons I'll explain in a future post, this just works better with our lifestyle and furniture.  Currently, the wallpaper in both rooms is a scenic landscape with shades of brown, mustard yellow, and metallic gold.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

When One Door Closes, Another 30 Doors Open

In the Summer of 2014, my husband and I were under contract on a property that we thought would be our dream home.  It was a historic farmhouse from 1780 situated on 2 beautiful acres in central New Jersey.  The house had a newly remodeled high-end kitchen, 4 spacious bedrooms, and was plumbed for 2.5 baths.  The original 18th-century structure had been expanded over the years, but in a manner that was tasteful and in keeping with the original house's character.  Most of the home's historic features were intact, including exposed beams, plaster walls, wrought iron hardware, and pumpkin pine wide plank floorboards.  The lot had a small babbling brook, an apple tree, and a red barn.  The house needed a lot of work, but we could see the potential.  We made an offer, retained a real estate attorney, and went into contract on the house.  We were excited and ecstatic.

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