Wallflowers

And swirls.  Gilded geometric patterns.  Trees sprouting from the minds of men long gone. Welcome to the third *wall* post of the week.  It couldn’t be helped.

Like these forms, my husband & I have fallen into a pattern – not of shapes or colors, but of morning conferences.  Once the kids are off to school, we commune w/ the house & each other, laying out plans for the day (and ensuing days to come).  We were up in the attic an hour ago, when we came upon this cache of wallpaper.  Hidden beneath all that wood!  In the bottom of a cooper’s barrel.  We were searching for trim for the dining room.  The former owner – God bless him- was a collector, and saved every scrap we’d need.  They’re flaking, still w/ the hand forged nails of the Georgian period.  We’re not sure where each of them goes, but thankfully the peeling paint matches, and piece by piece the puzzle takes shape and the picture begins to emerge.

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11 thoughts on “Wallflowers

  1. I don’t recognize any of those wallpapers. You might check out the age of the paper. Mom and Dad did dabble in wallpaper samples, early on, when, as a young couple, they dreamed of completing the unfinished rooms as dining and music rooms, as you are. But the children and lack of barn storage called for those rooms to become the children’s ‘messy room’ and the other, storage for chests, highboy, wheelbarrow, lawn mower, bikes. As time passed the messy room became Dad’s studio and the music room, still storage of other items and for air drying clothes. Besides finding mouldings in the attic, you’ll find some beside the arch in the cellar. We worked hard to salvage every scrap since Dad did, too. The old mouldings have milk paint on them. I remember our scraping the fluting in my room as we finished that room to be the guest room when my Grandmother Maddox was coming to visit from Rome, Georgia. The only way we got that milk paint off was to scrape it using dental hygenist’s tools. Since I was 6 yrs old, my height then was perfect for dealing with the lower regions while Dad or Mom worked higher up. Before Dad bought the house, several families had lived in the apartments the house was turned into during the war: WW1 or WW2 or Civil War? Once the house started filling up with antique furniture and paintings from Dad’s business- Antiques and Fine Art, later picture framing & art supplies & Art Restoration (shop in town for the latter that got moved out to the house in the end), restoration came to a halt. I’ll show you photos of the massive books Dad had for his interests and historical records. What books we girls did not take went for auction and brought a tidy sum. Staff from the Tate House came in before we closed up the empty house, to take samples of the wall paper left on the walls anywhere in the house. That person was writing a book about old wallpapers. Stop by the Tate House museum, across the street from the old house, to research Georgian building features, or the Maine Historical Society. Mention Dad’s name and you might find out what books he used for reference. Kate

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  2. My participating in the scraping of old paint didn’t last long as the fine chips flew off everywhere, especially toward my eyes. As a little girl I tried wearing goggles but I couldn’t see what I was doing. I became more of a hassle ; Dad didn’t want to worry about me but, get the paint removal done so that He and Mom could paint before Grandmother arrived. I don’t think that 54 yrs ago he was concerned about mercury in the paint; and then again, maybe he became aware of such and, in his gruff manner, removed me from the danger. He had a formidable task before him, dreams to research and carry out, yet a family to provide for, too. Difficult. We children grew up, involved the family/house/neighborhood in our experiences, developed our own interests and moved away. Life continued; and the house watched, nurtured the occupants and visitors, and always welcomed us home. Now, the Dole house welcomes your unravelling of the mysteries left by generations of residents. What joy for your family to write more history!!!!!!!!!!! Kate

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  3. Kate, thank you for sharing all this wonderful history!! Hope you had a great weekend!

    Connie, I KNOW! PS: I will try to keep that positive attitude as I yank weeds all day! I’m off!! xo

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  4. Again, Abbie corrected me. I didn’t bother to look up milkpaint; Ab did. Milkpaint was made at each homestead using milk (everyone on farms had cows) and lime (commonly found locally) and color pigment. No lead until oil based paints were eveloped. Kate

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