I'd love to be reporting on kitchen progress, but I'll be honest, I need to give myself a kick up the backside with it. I started to feel really despondent that I couldn't get the tiling done and so I lost interest. Which has left me feeling really low. A half done kitchen really doesn't look good. But I'm glad to report that things are moving again ... though I may not be finished for Christmas as this is my busiest time of year. So I'll be able to report more in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I promised you more on the hall, stairs and landing. Look what we found under the layers of wallpaper ...
This is possibly the original wallpaper from when the house was first built in 1865. And it's part of the reason that removing the wallpaper was such a difficult job to do. You see, back in the 19th century wallpaper was stuck to the walls with an animal-based glue made from bones, and it created a strong bond - just ask Mr B&T! In fact, did you know that the first references to wallpaper paste was in 1858?
Wallpaper didn't become popular until the mid 1800s because it had previously been prohibitively expensive. However the removal of a wallpaper tax (yup, wallpaper was taxed - in the early 1700s the tax was 1d per yard which is approximately 75p per metre) alongside the invention of mass production instead of block printing by hand helped it to become a popular decorative material. And floral motifs were the most popular. Interestingly, initial mass production printing processes couldn't print in a range of colours, which is probably why the wallpaper we uncovered is in shades of brown.
One section of wall had the wallpaper intact, and for a few weeks we convinced ourselves that we would keep it. But in truth it just wasn't in good enough condition. So sadly we stripped it.
The other interesting thing about the walls in the hall, stairs and landing was what was underneath the wallpaper. The original plaster was scored in a tile pattern, as you can see in the photo. And the most intriguing part is over the arch on the part of the landing that goes to the bathroom. The fact that the arch is scored in this way suggest that the original plan was for the plaster to appear to be blocks of tiles or possibly even marble. We did a bit of research, and there was a trompe l'oeil technique to paint walls as if it was marble blocks. This was because wallpaper had been so expensive.
And again, we had a very short time where we considered keeping this and working with it - but there were too many issues where lighting had been put in over the years. So the decision was made to wallpaper, and I was shocked when Mr B&T agreed to my choice. Lemurs. More on this next week.