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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Show & Tell Friday: Parlor Transformation

This picture above was taken in  late summer of 2006 when the hubby and I first came to look at what is now our house. Our Queen Anne-style Victorian was built in 1886-1887 and like many Victorian homes, went through many owners over the years. This was how the front room, which I believe was originally the formal parlor, looked with the previous owners' furniture. They, unfortunately, were not interested in Victorian decor, antiques or anything else like that, and it was in-comprehensible to me why someone would buy such a lovely Victorian home and try to make it look like a condo! Luckily for us, they didn't want the house anymore and were anxious to sell it. We closed on the house September 29, 2006 and moved in!

I brought all my antique stuff in.......the secretary, the settee'.

......my parlor chairs and also a Mandel upright phonograph c.1916 (not pictured).....but still, those blue walls were just wrong and even though the colors were pretty, it was just NMS! (not my style!)  I decided that I needed to do something to make it really look like a formal parlor in a Victorian house should look! We contacted a professional wallpaper-hanger who had done reproduction Victorian wallpaper in several historical homes in our area, but the cost was more than our modest income could handle. I really like the historic room sets and art wallpapers by Bradbury & Bradbury.

I mean, wouldn't this just look fabulous?????  However, the thrifty and budget-conscious Midwesterner that I am realized this was something out of our league (at least for the time being!) and that I, being crafty as well as thrifty, could apply an oft-used subterfuge done by many a Victorian home owner.....STENCILING!

I chose my color palette ( and changed my mind about seven times on the paint colors) and hunted down some very beautiful Victorian stencils that would give me the look I wanted. I found them online and they are reproductions of historic stencils. Then I went to work. The project was begun inJune of 2008. ( I had to wait until all the hulla-balloo of our wedding in spring 2007 was over and done with and a few other more important projects, like replacing some electrical wiring, adding some more outlets, replacing a toilet in the upstairs bath and getting the exterior of the house re-painted, were done first!).

Work started............

I did all the masking and draping and then primed and painted the bottom part of the wall, then Erik helped me with the larger areas, since he's 6' 2" and those ceilings are way tall! We didn't have a tall enough ladder for me to reach...although later I had to borrow one when I did the stenciling!

Painting done............

In the above picture the color looks really yellow, but it's actually a really light green. We used Sherwin-Williams paint and the color is called "Honeydew". It is actually very similar to the light green color of a ripe honeydew melon. The bottom color is called "Great Green".

I think I took these pictures in late afternoon/early evening, which is probably why they look so yellow. This room faces east. I work full time, but because I work 9-10 hour days, I only work 4 days a week. Fridays are my day off, so this was what I did every Friday. This part of the project didn't take long. It only took me two Fridays to finish!

Stenciling begins............

I wanted to do an all-over, very subtle damask pattern on the lower part of the wall. Here I have the center pieces done.

 ....and with the "fill-in" parts done. I also have the chair rail border done in this picture also. This same decorative border is also along the top of the wall, but inverted.

Working on the dado.

This picture with natural lighting shows much better the actual color of the wall. There are also gold leaf accents on some of the scrolls and flowers, but it's hard to see in pictures. The picture below you can kind of see where the gold leaf is ( the areas that look sort of 'frosted'). It's much prettier in real life!

Stenciling finished, but awaiting the arrival of picture hanging rail! Again, not the best lighting in these pictures...plus I was getting weird shadows on the ceiling, which make it look like there are dark streaks on the photos.

The stenciling took the longest time to do ( of course!) and was very tedious and pain-staking (mostly because I worked very slowly and carefully).Some of these stencils are actually two piece stencils with a design that layers over another one, which also added extra time.  With working at my job, other house duties and obligations, not to mention needing to be in my flower gardens on just about a daily basis, I worked on the stenciling on my days off and whenever I had a spare hour or two, so the stenciling took me about three and half months to do.

Better pictures here.......
(the blue tape on the wall is marking where the picture hanging rail was going to be placed.)

Picture hanging rail in place....and new lace panels on the window.

I have many more pictures to hang in here, but I'd like to get more fancy picture hangers like this one, and they can be a little pricey.

We had the painting, stenciling and the picture hanging rail (which Erik put up for me, although I painted the rail and put gold leaf on it as well!) done by October 2008. So, all in all, this project took me about 4 months! 
Next in line for this room; some ultra-awesome Victorian style curtains, which I hope to sew myself, the crown molding along the top of the wall and ceiling needs to be re-painted badly and also to finish putting up pictures on the walls. I'm also considering doing some stencils on the ceiling!

Thanks for hanging in there with me during this long post! Be sure to check out all the other wonderful Show & Tell Friday items this week hosted at Cindy's My Romantic Home.


dishdiva said...

Good morning! I don't know what your profession is but I think it should be stenciling!! Your work is so precise, and absolutely beautiful. Your home is well on its way to being stunning.
Thank you for sharing!

Mimi said...

Katie, that room is stunning!...I don't think I would have the patience to do that much stenciling. I am inclined to like the stenciling better than wallpaper, crisper looking. Have a great weekend!

vignette design said...

What a great transformation! I love the stenciling! --Delores

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