Our next project was in a home that been purchased from the founders of MacKenzie-Childs, a decorative furnishings business in Aurora, NY. The original owners had decorated their house in the unique style that was characteristic of their hand-painted pottery and furniture. The new owners wanted to make some minor repairs on the interior of the house, but keep the decorative finishes that the previous owners had used and also add some of their own touches. The rooms had artwork painted on the window trim and wallpaper with unusual patterns.
We repaired the wallpaper in a bathroom and repapered the walls of a guest bedroom. We were able to fix the existing wallpaper in the bathroom without using any new paper. Literally all of the wallpaper seams in the bathroom were peeling. Several sheets were falling off the wall. When the customer and Tom went into the bathroom, she said, “It looks like this paper needs to be torn down. But I really love it, can we save it?” Tom said, “Yes, I think I can perform that miracle!” We were able to fix the existing wallpaper in the bathroom without using any new paper. We had to prep the wall by cleaning off the old paste and patching some spots. Then we had to carefully wash the back of the wallpaper and apply fresh paste. Tom made a paste specifically for this purpose—it was made to get tacky faster, so the paper adhered quickly to the wall. This was done to prevent damage to an older wallpaper. I asked Tom how he made the paste, but he wouldn’t tell me his recipe!
The bedroom wallpaper had a birdcage and curved branching pattern that was tricky to match at the wall corners, and the project was further complicated by the walls, which weren’t straight up and down. The room was twisted—in one spot the wall was eight feet, in another it was eight and a half. So the wallpaper had to be cut to accommodate this difference and match at the corners. And the result was…a perfect match! We also had to adjust our measurements to get the pattern even between the bedroom windows.
Tom said there was a trick he uses to accomplish just this sort of wallpapering challenge. I asked him what it was, but he wouldn’t tell me that, either. You’ll just have to see the results for yourself!