New Life for Old Timber

“Apparently the house has no lines that are plumb, nor any that can be defined as the shortest distance between two points. The great projecting timbers are generally boxed in, but some have been plastered over and cause an irregularity along the top of the walls. To make the paper fit into these uneven places, and to match the pattern over the many bulges and cavities of the old plaster required all the patience and ingenuity I could muster.

One neighborly mother of a large brood strolled in one day with a baby in her arms to remark that the walls would always look pockmarked. But new walls would have wiped out the agreeably old textures and Helen often came to help place a rebellious strip of paper, especially when they were being hung in the stairwell reaching from the ceiling of the second floor to the wainscoting of the first. Long strips sometimes have an impish way of curling up and pasting themselves in positions other than those intended.

“We followed a general plan of contrasting warm and cool colors, which allowed one to pass from a gray room to a yellow room, or from cream to one in pale blue and white. Most of the rooms open into each other and these contrasts are stimulating to the eye, especially on a sunny day. This plan also made it easier in the first place to decide upon a choice of paper.

As the years passed the closing of the house in winter caused much of the paper to peel off, and after repeated attempts to make it stick we abandoned the paper for paint, retaining the general color sequence. Oddly enough, the one room which has remained intact as I originally hung it is the parlor, and it is the only room in which the overall pattern did not get matched correctly. Fortunately no one seems to notice my mistake. Although it was obtained locally, many have supposed the paper to be that of an early period……”

Our excerpt from “New Life for Old Timber” stops here, but Nelson continues his narrative with amusing and affectionate portrayals of his new friends and neighbors as well as more description of the house renovation and restoration.

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