Approximately 40,000 years ago, an early caveman picked up a rock and drew a picture on the side of his cave, so one might say that adorning the walls of our homes isn’t exactly a new idea. Having something lovely to gaze upon while having your dinner was a good idea 40,000 years ago, and it is a good idea today.

Fast forward to Early America, when muralists were hired to replicate a lovely countryside vista or Italian palazzo on the walls of wealthy homeowners. in the late eighteenth century, paper was able to be produced on a long continuous roll, and hand-blocked wallpaper was then born. By 1850, roller printer technology had been introduced into American manufacturing and finally allowed for mass production.

Wallpaper sales hummed along steadily until two World Wars and the Great Depression demanded that resources and income be diverted to more essential items. 

The post-war dream of owning your own home hit full-steam in the 1950s. People who had never owned their own home, intended to stay in their new spaces for a lifetime and couldn’t wait to personalize them.  Wallpaper became a tangible part of that American dream. Often similar homes sprung up all in a row on new suburban streets, and people wanted to distinguish their homes from their next door neighbor. Since plaster walls were still the norm during this time period, the smooth wall surface easily accepted a fresh roll of paper without sanding (as new sprayed-on drywall-textured walls currently demand). Dining rooms, bedrooms, and family rooms all got wrapped in patterns of the day. Was it just my aunt that even wallpapered her powder room wastebasket?

Now, with wallpaper taking on a modern twist, it can also be applied in non-conventional areas.  With graphic patterns and interesting textures the world of wallpaper has gone beyond the more predictable, floral patterns.  These new patterns are a dramatic addition when applied to the back of a bookcase, a dining room ceiling and even, perhaps a whole powder room.....wastebasket, optional.......







May 26, 2017

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