Monday, March 21, 2011

Cleaning Closets

I'm working on another project with a shop up in Maine which unfortunately I have to keep under wraps for now.  You see, this blogging thing is a dirty business. When scoop-crazed followers get wind of future plans, the Blogarazzi come out and I get sent fuzzy cell phone photos of my projects before I see them.  "I'm touching your table!" the last one said. 

I made a clandestine mid-week trip up to Maine the other day for a progress check on the new project so I thought I'd stop at Old House Parts to see if they had a four-panel door that was perfect to replace the nasty luan door on the closet.  I found the perfect one!  

Wanna see?

Ain't she sweet?

I've decided to move forward with my plan to convert the dining room into a dining/study.  I'm excited about the possibility of doing more with the room than vacuuming up the dust bunnies--more like kitty tumbleweeds--once a week.  So before Sam comes over to replace the door, I first needed to clean out the closet to ensure he isn't crushed by the avalanche of crap I needed to hide in here to take my stunning blog photos. 

This chore turned into a bigger project than I expected.

Try not to be jealous but this closet is wallpapered with this stunning wallpaper.  Now available in my etsy shop.  (Not really.)  As much as I hate to part with this beautiful pattern, it just doesn't set the proper mood for the room.  So I started pulling it down. 

This easily pulls off to reveal another layer.

Under the fantastic floral is this tan botanical print.  The metal to the left is the air return duct from the upstairs.  

Here's a close up of it.  Not so ugly, huh?

And this easily pulls off to reveal another layer.

Now, why didn't somebody stop after this was put in and leave well enough alone?

I kind of like this pattern and this is in the palette of my favorite colors.


Here's a closeup of it that's better lit.

Unfortunately, this is all that's left.

I would guess this is 1940s.  Maybe even earlier.

This really wasn't what I had in mind when I
decided to clean out the closet.

It's kind of crusty chic, right?

So now what do I do with it?

I have a few ideas.


  1. I quite like it as it is. It looks like an old map. Perhaps you could peel it into the shapes of the continents!

    Love those chairs around the table.

  2. I am a new follower and get so excited when I see you have posted in my reader. The last two wallpapers are gorgeous and now you've got me on pins and needles with your "few ideas."

  3. I like the inside of the closet just the way it looks in the photo, with the patina of the old wall papers. I also like the single jacket & the metal boxes, but... I huess it is not a movie set(yet).

    The door is a beauty. 80% of our home is re-used/salvage.

    I am not lurking outside your cottage.

  4. you absolutely leave it as it is ... or you cut out that wall and use it as's awesome. I love it partially peeled with the cracks and yellowed glue. LOVE it. Please don't cover it up!

    What is it with blog stalkers these days! for real.

  5. LOL
    and, I know about this one too! Mainers like to talk;)
    got those fingerprints off yet?!!!!
    didn't think so.

  6. Isn't it something when you think you are starting just a normal clean out the crap job and it turns into a weekend affair. Love the last layer of wallpaper. Well its a good job done.

  7. I think it looks like a map too. Your closet reminds me of our stairwell. I just peeled off the paper and painted it white.
    I love your door! Can't wait to hear about the top secret project. So let's see all the stuff you had hiding in the closet.

  8. Steve - I gott a say (and I might be crazy here) I kinda like it as is???? At first glance I thought you might have come across the original version of the map wallpaper. What a great find. In our house the only portion of the original pine floors that we could salvage were in the bedroom closets. It's kind of fun to be able to peek in the closet and see a little house history.


  9. I too thought map. I like it as is. And once you put crap back in the closet you really won't see much of it. I think it should remain as house history. Love the door. They don't make them the way they used to. Well, they probably do, but it would cost you an arm and a leg.

  10. I adore the third wallpaper layer. I guess it true, "what goes around comes around".

  11. Closet cleaning meets archaeological dig -- I love it! I think the wallpaper is beautiful. I'd paint the baseboard and shelf white and give the wall a coat of clear glaze for a bit of sheen (and cleanliness), but otherwise leave it alone.

    P.S. I'm inspired to clean a closet now. Yikes.

  12. Great door! Iike the wallpaper too. I had the same color and similar pattern under layers in my living room. I like that color. Can't wait to see what you do with it. I really love that dining table. Can't wait to find out what your secret project is.

  13. 'Crusty chic': I think it will catch on...

    Isn't it amazing doing domestic archeology like this?

  14. hey steve,

    i'm not real thrilled with the way it looks. we had tons of old wallpaper here too and in places it was cool but overall it looked awful. but hey maybe i'm missing something. whatever you come up with will be good so i know i can sleep tonight.


  15. Leave it as is?

    I can't wait to see what you do. This reminds me so much of my own home, but with 20-odd layers of paper...they just kept comin' was too much for me to be appreciative about.


  16. Oh my gosh, that door is beautiful. What a difference a door makes! The layers of wallpaper in the closet are fascinating. I like the original one. Can't wait to see how it turns out!

  17. Since my house was built in the 1980's { I am spending my life and savings to make it older ;) } I do not have the fun of such adventures { living vicariously through you and others}......If it is to remain a closet, I'd agree with the masses and say keep it (seal it)....but if , as I suspect, you have other plans, don't forget to call Anthropologie before you continue....they might want to use it to display their clothing in the next catalog......Thanks for continuing to share S.....k

  18. Steve,I love the colors of that final layer of wallpaper, too. Too bad it looks like a map, or just plain crap, depending on how you look at it. But I know, without a doubt, it will be spectacularly gorgeous when you get done with it.
    p.s. Thanks for your lovely comment about our new gate - coming from you, I'm really flattered!

  19. To quote Nancy Kerrigan, "Why, why, why" did they feel the need to wallpaper closets! My closets are wallpapered too, and they are going to stay that way! LOL!! I've got too much to do before I can tackle wallpaper in a closet! I can't believe there were so many layers! I'm sure your finished product will be stunning!

  20. I do not like shabby chic - having had no choice but to live with shabby stuff in an earlier portion of my life. However, it does look like an old map and if it were mine, I'd be tempted to painted some sea creatures and Poseidon, along with a legend that read "Here there be monsters!" It could be a surprise for snoopers :)

  21. OK Steve, I'm so busted!

    Here is my poem for you:

    I hopped a plane
    and went to Maine
    It's so insane...
    but I love to touch Steve's table

    good right?

    kelley ; 0 )

  22. Oh, the joys of blogging! You will just love looking back at this posting in a few years, once you've forgotten what a hoot your closet was looking with it's wallpapers and heating duct. It makes me feel a little better about the chaotic conditions that I live in. The last image is wonderful, with an atmosphere rather like a Magritte painting. And the wallpaper archivists will be proud of you!

  23. The tan print would make a great little strapless blouse especially if you whip up a skirt up of that green plaid.

    And the door is a great upgrade and you made the right decision to multi function the dining room!

  24. Dayum, Man...I think you just added three inches to your closet!

    Like many above...from the pics, to me, it looks like a funky map. If you don't keep it why not do that. A collage of maps...

    Your coats and pants will love it. Really.

  25. Hmmm, a closet redo.
    Looks like you have quite a chore at hand.
    Good luck, and I can't wait to see more!
    E + J

  26. Are you kidding me? That last image is a magazine shot! What a great find in a closet of all places. I love old house and their stories. I'm envious!

  27. That door is perfect! Amazes me that people went through the trouble of wallpapering a closet - 3 times! But after just reading your new post - looks like it's going to be 4 times! Can't wait to see the final reveal.

  28. Closet space is always a challenge no matter how large the space. If you have the budget it is worth hiring a local carpenter to redo your closets with wood partitions and even drawers.

    closet organizing Chicago

  29. awesome door. can't believe so many layers of wallpaper. I'm like you about the seagreen paper - like it...

    love your humor...


  30. i love (what is left) of that wallpaper!! it actually looks like a fresh, "new" retro pattern. i'm just wondering if there is a way to reproduce it...the colors are perfect, but age may have had a lot to do with it....

    i agree with some of the other comments in that it does look like a map, but i would have a hard time living with stuff peeling off the the back of my closet...i guess you could put a sealer over it if you wanted to preserve that look.

    anyway, whatever you decide will be great..everything you have done in your home has been understated fabulousness!!

    nanne in indiana by way of alabama

  31. I recall stripping off layers of wallpaper only to find it was holding the plaster on the wall. Luckily yours looks intact.