Several years ago, I had the pleasure of serving on the Board of Directors for the Indiana Music Education Association. It was a fun group of passionate people, and through it, I met Betty, who is now a retired choral director and all around lovely, spunky lady. We became Facebook friends, and she is one of the first to comment and lend her voice of support during this whole home restoration thing. ALSO, she introduced me to her daughter, who has a completely gorgeous Victorian of her own that I can drool over.
Many months ago, I came home from school to a package in my mailbox, from the wonderful Miss Betty. Inside, was a packet of wallpaper samples from 1932.
Oh, my word. I was speechless.
Please note that Mr. Markle, the wallpaper proprietor, also sold furniture, and was a funeral director. I love a multi-tasker.
Enclosed was a card, and Betty told me that she knew that I loved wallpaper, and she found this packet of samples when going through a family home. “I saw it, and I thought instantly you’d love to see these, even though they are much younger than your house.” She told me that when I was finished looking at them, I could keep them, pass them on, throw them away – whatever. She just thought that I would like to see the patterns, so she found my address and mailed them to me.
What a gift. Imagine how amazing the world would be, if everyone were so thoughtful. I literally laughed out loud at the idea that I would get rid of them…. of course, I instantly thought “How on earth will I incorporate these somewhere – they are amazing!”
My friend Jen loves to point out that I wasn’t aways this way, and I used to hate wallpaper. It’s true, but as most things in life, I developed a more mature taste and appreciation for things as my palette developed. I still hate tacky, awful wallpaper that clutters a space. But there are some amazing papers out there that I am in love with now. It’s hard not to fall in love with wallpaper in a Victorian, much as I think it’s hard not to like wood paneling in a cabin – even though you might hate wood paneling elsewhere.
Please, please read this. It oozes charm and will delight you. And keep in mind – this was the lowest point of the Great Depression. People were at their poorest, and this little packet wants you to buy an extra roll of paper, to make a “frivolous little lampshade.” I love it.
I’ll admit, reading this advice, it totally sounds like me. Remember when I used leftover wallpaper as drawer liners in the Laundry Room? I made 1932 advice a thing before I knew it was a thing.
The packet has all sorts of advice on how much to order and how awful dormer windows are…. all solid advice that is true today.
So, inside, were these. Feast your eyes, people.
What was happening in 1932 when these papers were in style? SO MUCH. You can read about it here. Herbert Hoover was President (and then FDR was elected), the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped, the first woman was elected to the Senate (Hattie Caraway for the win), the first technicolor cartoon from Disney was released, and the Michigan Marching Band debuted Script Ohio. I mean, that’s one hell of a year.
Did you click on the link about Senator Hattie Caraway? You should. Because it’s a good read.
She once explained her tendency to avoid speeches: “I haven’t the heart to take a minute away from the men. The poor dears love it so.”
Since I’ve already derailed this blog post in favor of 1932 trivia, here. Watch the cartoon.
I like the cartoon reference, because these wallpapers have some serious color.
I decided I wanted to select five to turn into art for the bedroom. Art is always hard for me, as creative as I am. I’m not too much of a painting gal. I love when art tells a story, or is three dimensional, or is just a bit different, like the map project I did in the balcony bedroom. So, these wallpaper prints are PERFECT – they have meaning, are vibrant, and are free / low cost to turn into art. It’s a no-brainer.
First, I took away the definite “Nos.” Basically, I kept the ones with the best color.
Here’s my final five!
Since I’m using gilded gold throughout the space, I decided to use gold frames. So I went to Goodwill, where you can ALWAYS find great frames with awful artwork for a few dollars. I found frames that were already gold, but if I found the right shapes and chunkiness, I just would have spray painted them.
First, I cut off the back.
And pulled all the staples out that were holding in the old art.
I used the art backerboard as a template, and cut a new mat from scrapbook paper.
Dryfit. I put the wallpaper right on top of the scrapbook paper. I didn’t cut it to create a true mat, which would be harder, and I don’t think is necessary here.
After super cleaning the glass, I put the back right back in place, and used glazing points to secure it.
So easy, for just a couple of dollars!
All the scrapbook papers were black, but I used some with pattern and texture to mix it up.
I loved this one the most because you can see the directions for matching the patterns on the paper.
So art deco.
These papers are fantastic, and I think they’re going to be amazing in the space. Betty, you are a gem.
This was such a fun project to do when I needed a moment away from the sawdust. I am a firm believer that you should fill rooms with things that makes you smile. And these make me smile.
I am smiling, too!
I hope you will also be framing the cover! It is great!
Totally cool project!
I’m a very late comer to your blog, but am enjoying it greatly. I got a chill almost from the article you posted above about using extra wallpaper on a lampshade or paper basket. Growing up poor, we thought it the height of decorating to find a “brand new” paper ice cream container to cover in wallpaper to match our bedroom. The containers were very strong paper with metal top and bottom rings… Thanks so much for stirring the memory. Your blogs are great and your work on your homes is amazing…