My mom and I were never afraid to tackle any kind of project. We would strip paint, (using that horrible stripper that would take the meat off your bones and most of the paint you were trying to get off of what ever object you were working on) sand and re-paint or stain anything we felt like needed a little sprucing up. We did chairs, tables, book shelves and old china cabinets. If we found an old wooden piece of furniture, we would go at it without a thought.
Bob could find things along the road – cast offs, drop offs or just junk – bring them home and Mom and I would start a new project. Anything looks better with a new coat of paint!
My family also has a long history with wallpaper. Now I realize that some may scoff at the idea of wallpaper, but I personally have loved it all my life. I can still remember my Mamaw re-papering her Waco, Texas dining room with the wildest bird print – that may have been the start of my love affair! We also have a saying in my family that if you can do a wall paper project with your spouse and remain married, it is a true test of the marriages longevity.
So as with all things ‘shack’, there were many projects calling out for my mom and me. We decided to wallpaper the dining room.
Now if you recall, the dining room was the first room we entered upon discovering the shack. The door faced the south and fell in when touched. It was there Bob fell in love at first sight. It was a small room, the door opened to your left and against that left wall were the hall tree with an old foxed mirror from Bob’s familys home in North Carolina and a small pine china cabinet Bob and I found at a flea market in Springdale AR. To your right was the table -a large harvest table we found in Neosha, MO with lots of mismatched chairs. Windows at a little higher than chair rail height were along the south and western wall. Bob had cut a pass thru into the kitchen next to the kitchen doorway where you would take a step up from the dining room level.
The walls were not square or plumb and the ceiling had a strange slope to it, but not consistant across the small room. A perfect candicate for wallpaper!
Mom and I scoured the wallpaper books filled with wonderful samples of exotic papers. Any color of the rainbow- stripes and patterns, birds and animals, foiled and flocked! After much consideration, we found an open vining pattern with a white background, vines of deep green punctuated by the occasional pear, plum or peach. Just fresh and charming for a little country dining room. I then choose a deep green almost black paint for the wood trim around the windows and doors.
Mom stayed in the guest room the night before our project began. And after sending Bob off that morning, we got underway. We believe in lots of wallpaper paste, so we mixed a bucket full, figured our starting point and where our pattern match would fall and made our first cut. Now Mom and I are not that precise, but she is really good with the razor and straight edge. It just became more and more apparent that straight would not be a big consideration with this project. Each piece was a different length and the pattern match was becoming more and more a guessing game. We did take down several pieces and started over a couple of times. And there was plenty of wallpaper paste on the paper, walls, on our clothes and in our hair!
But by the end of the day, the paper was up – and stayed up! The only place the pattern was mismatched was in the western corner where the window frame camouflaged the mistake. A great success in our book!
And this little dining room saw many happy meals with friends and family. Laughter and love also papered these walls each time we sat together at the table.
Until next time….