Friday, November 12, 2010

The Thrill of Discovery

When you renovate an older home, you often find yourself peeling away layers of history—a timeline of prior repairs and alterations that often uncover popular trends and unfortunate faux pas. Some of the discoveries can be scary (like mouse-chewed, cloth-covered electrical wires . . . just thinking out loud here) while others—glimpses of true beauty.

During a recent renovation of an upstairs bedroom closet I uncovered a jewel of a wallpaper when removing the end caps securing the hanging clothes pole. I was struck by how well the paper had been preserved and saddened by the carpenter's "T" mark that permanently defiled it as a document. I spent some time admiring the pattern: the naive floral design, the perfect hues of green and red, and the circle of off-white colored petals that seemed to mimic a daisy-patterned center. Laura Ashley and Ralph Lauren could have built an empire on a print like this. And, to a certain extent, they did. I tried to visualize the room freshly papered and took my hat off to the previous owner who had the good sense to choose it for this simple country bedroom.

But, now as I finish writing this post and having studied the image even more closely, I am convinced it is not a floral print at all, but a fruit print. Doesn't it appear that the red-shaped forms could be the tops of strawberries? And, the center floral design the bloom associated with the fruit-bearing plant? Would a strawberry-patterned paper still have been a smart choice in a bedroom. Apparently so!

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