I’ve been collecting all the little things I find; all the tiny pieces that are slowly unveiling the story of this house to me. I’ve been taking pictures of the different textures, wallpaper, and materials.
Today we are visiting:
On the floor we find the crazy linoleum that only a mother could love. As in my OWN dear mother who is in love with this pattern. Actually I am, too. It has an exotic kind of Moroccan feel to it.
And it has a magic power. Anything that you drop on the floor becomes instantly invisible. I’ve gone so far as to lay my head sideways on the floor Tonto style in futile attempts to locate lost vitamins and the like. Poof! They’re gone. Bryan says its awful and it makes him queasy if he looks directly at it.
There are two different style of brick paneling used.
One as the backsplash to the counters. Slick and shiny vinyl wall covering chosen for its “realistic” brick appearance and ability to repel water.
The other is the backsplash to the oven and refrigerator. This is thick fireproof wall board. It feels like thin brick, but it is wallboard. I’m sure it was chosen for it’s fire retardant capabilities. The fact that it is above a greasy stove and cannot be easily washed without a commercial degreaser and a hotsey was obviously overlooked. Thankfully what cannot be cleaned can be hidden behind the refrigerator. It took a little begging, but Bryan (my partner) wedged himself into a narrow crawl space under the house and routed the gas pipe so I could swap their positions. The refrigerator I purchased was too large to fit under the cupboard, so there was really very little choice. Realistically they work much better in the swapped positions.
Please note the chimney cover. It’s from a wood fired oven that used to sit there. When I tried to clean it I discovered that it still accesses an old chimney – a sooty old chimney.
Please not there are THREE different kinds of wood paneling – luckily similar enough in color, but two have ridges and one doesn’t.
Homemade counter tops of waterproof wall panel and metal corner edging.
The pattern on the countertop was textured. Each white “tile” was raised and the gold “grout” was recessed. This makes cleaning it quite the endeavor. Especially when it hasn’t been for so very very long. The corner edging hadn’t been caulked, so the collection of goodies around the edges was… I”m wordless here. Feel free to insert one if you like. Otherwise move along and think on it no more. That’s my plan.
In a stroke of luck the original beadboard and trim appear to be perfectly preserved by the thick layer of Harvest Gold that also coats the cupboards. I’m sure it felt like the height of style in 1973 – the year I was born. It’s wide appeal seems to have dimmed some in 40 years. Initially I was repulsed. Bryan worries when I say it has grown on me. And after a trip to Armadillos in La Salle I think they may have been decorated by the same person that did this kitchen. Truly – if you want to appreciate Harvest Gold just hold something cobalt blue next to it. Or maybe I’ve just been staring at it too long.
This house makes me feel like an archaeologist. Slowly I peel back one layer of wallpaper to find the next. One layer of flooring gives way to another. I open a drawer and find a 50 year old Mother’s Day gift. I remove carpet and find more carpet. I remove that and I find floor coverings that were made to look like ornate carpet but are constructed of vinyl and cardboard. I pull back the carpet in the living room and find an untouched hardwood floor. In the dining room however there are 3 layers of linoleum beneath the pink carpet. The latest in a fantastic fiesta confetti pattern that I imagine on some level goes with anything.
I wonder at moments if this has value to anyone. If anybody really should be attempting to preserve the poor decorating taste of a Okie beautician named Ginger that moved here in the late sixties. I feel drawn into the story of this house. I can feel Ginger’s giddy pleasure at the fresh coat of pink paint on the stairs. I know how much she loved yellow. I’m sure she stared for hours at the pattern on the dining room wallpaper. Everyone comments on how awful and gaudy it is. Ginger thought it was beautiful and exotic. I can tell she loved this house, and I enjoy her company.