Saturday, July 23, 2005


I have a secret talent. Not many know it, but I can wallpaper, and I really like doing it. One can make it a persnickity and tedious job, but fussing over it just makes the wallpaper surley and hard to manage. That's where I come in- I am not persnickity or tedious about anything. I put a piece of wallpaper up and fit it to the space. Not too much fiddling to make it perfect. My compulsive personality makes me uninterested in taking lunch or bathroom breaks. I want to work till a room is done. I suppose the thing I like best is the visual reward at the end. Wallpaper transforms.
One of my dear friends moved into a home last summer which required much work, cosmetic and otherwise. We painted whatever stood still, including our children if they slowed down too much. One room we did not attend last summer was her bedroom. The walls remained drywall and the trim and doors raw wood, and at the beginning of this summer, I asked if she'd like to paint there. She mentioned wallpaper. It wasn't long until I included wallpaper in our every conversation, because of my secret passion for it. I dragged her to my favorite wallpaper store and she took many samples home. She made a delightful choice- a marblely antique white with pressed leaves, but it had to be specially ordered. In the mean time, she decided to redo the ceiling in a fern and swirl method. A couple of days we got together and painted trim.
Yesterday, we worked from 2:30 pm till 11:00 and put up the wallpaper. As we worked, we found that instead of the cabin look we thought the leaves on the paper might produce, we both realized the style was straight out of a gorgeous old victorian home. All her bedroom furniture is antique from her grandma, and it was the perfect fit.
We had one tense moment in the process. My friend dared to ask that we take one difficult piece down that was part around a window and then curving around a corner, and try again. She had stepped on my cardinal rule of not fiddling too much. Starting over on a new piece is persnickity and tedious, and I simply won't do it. Okay, you may think, this is HER room, and she can do as she pleases. I told her she was on her own with that piece if she started over. I mentioned how sometimes wallpaper runs out if giant long strips are wasted. She opted to work with me to make the piece work with me. We didn't need to go to therapy together and work through my stubborn streak afterall.
When we finished, the room was so cozy. Her husband said, "The room looks as it should. The furniture and wallpaper go together well." She is going to hang mirrors and pretty bunches of spices today. I'll have to drop by soon and see the finished effect.
I love transformation. I love changing something for the better. It's my joy.

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