Trimz Borders -- A Border for Every Room

Vintage wallpaper borders are a great way for homeowners to add interest and a little pizzazz to any room. A few weeks ago I got a chance to add to my collection. Though the seller first thought he might have around 200 for sale, he quickly realized there were a lot more than that-- and I ended up buying around 2,000! Now I literally have a border that will compliment the theme of almost any room in a customer's home.

I am excited to share a few photos of my borders with you. I will be adding these and many more to my website in the coming weeks. I really love the graphics, colors and styles of these particular borders that were manufactured in the 1940s.


How to use Vintage Wallpaper in Your Home-Part II

My next idea in the ongoing series of how to use vintage wallpaper in your home is vintage wallpaper as framed art.

I like to use old picture frames that I find at rummage or estate sales. I clean them up and if they are in decent shape, I use them as is. If they are too rough looking, however, I simply slap on some neutral white paint.

After I spend days trying to choose a pattern (I have a problem making decisions), I just use wheat paste to fix the wallpaper to a piece of heavy-duty cardboard that is cut to size. Easy-peasy! And a great look!


How to Use Vintage Wallpaper in Your Home

In upcoming blog posts, I want to share with you a few ideas or suggestions on how to use vintage wallpaper in your home. First, of course, would be to hang it on the wall.

Use it as a focal point, by wallpapering the whole room or just an accent wall.

Next post, vintage wallpaper as framed art.


How Rosie's Vintage Wallpaper Collection Became a Business

You know how some of the best things that happen in life come from totally unplanned or unexpected situations? Well, it was in this way, eight years ago, that I left the house as a stay-at-home mom and suddenly ended up, a few short hours later, surrounded by a whole lot of paper and an agreement to bring it all home with me. And it was in this spur-of-the-moment decision that my vintage wallpaper business was born.

Several years before this, our third child was born and I quit my job to be at home... because, let's face it, having three children under the age of 5 was a bit hectic. But by the time all three were in school, I was beginning to think about what I would do next. Although I was keeping my options open, I had enjoyed my time as a stay-at-home mom and really hoped to continue that by finding a work-from-home type of job.

Now my husband is a "collector" (which, in my opinion, is just a nice word for hoarder) and, among many other things, is interested in fishing baits. One day, he mentioned he wanted to visit an old hardware store in a small town close to our home. He was hoping they might still have some old baits and I agreed to tag along. As my husband was talking to the store owner, I was browsing up and down the aisles, looking for nothing in particular. All of a sudden, something tucked away in a dark corner caught my attention: several rolls of wallpaper, dated mostly from the 1980s, along with a few older ones with bright patterns turned right side out. Finding the older ones very unique, I picked out about six rolls to buy. As I was making my purchase, the store owner said, "If you like old wallpaper, I have something to show you..."

My husband and I followed him into a dimly lit back room, where there were six large cardboard bins full of vintage wallpaper. He laughingly said he would make us a great deal if we would buy all that he had. Taking his offer literally, my husband and I went home, did some research of our own, and decided to return the next day to buy a truck load.

One of the first patterns that caught my eye.

Another pattern that caught my attention.
After I had success selling several of those rolls on Ebay, my husband said we should go back and buy all that he had—which was stored in three different buildings and estimated to be around 50,000 rolls! Wondering how this gentleman acquired such an overwhelming amount of wallpaper in the first place, we soon learned that he was not the original owner. The original owner had been in the wallpaper business since the early 1900's and apparently kept many patterns in stock. Then, as years passed and patterns became outdated, they were moved to the back of the building (or to another building) to make room for more!

This is one of the three buildings that we collected wallpaper from.  (I wish I had taken more photos!)

The inside of the building. The upper landing was full of wallpaper, as was the back room and the second story.
Our kids were a big help!
Thankfully, the owner was very lenient and was willing to give us plenty of time to move the wallpaper. Most of it was unsorted, unboxed, and stored on shelves or in bins. My husband had a full-time job, and although we tried to make a trip once a week, it took us over a year to haul it all back to our home. And even after that initial obstacle, the work was far from over. Once home, it was a long process of sorting wallpaper patterns, counting stock, and taking pictures of every pattern—but I loved every minute of it. It was so exciting to uncover a roll, see a new pattern, and imagine the possibilities.

A pattern with lots of possibilities!
Through the years, as my business has grown, I have learned many things related to vintage wallpaper. Most importantly, however, is the feeling I get every day I do business: It is just as exciting for me to ship a whole box of wallpaper to a movie set decorator as it is to ship just one or two rolls to a homeowner. Because, all in all, I really love vintage wallpaper and I am lucky enough to be able to share all of those great bits of history with my customers.

One of my favorites.
As I look back now, I can’t believe a whim to tag along with my husband could result in me discovering something I didn’t know I was searching for. Life is funny sometimes.


Vintage Wallpaper Frieze

It's interesting how decorating styles of the rich in past centuries were often admired and then (cheaply) replicated by the middle-class. The more I learn about the history of wallpaper, the more I see this trend. For example, the difference between a frieze (pronounced freez) and wallpaper is that a frieze is meant to run horizontally around a room, usually above a plate rail and came in widths of 9 inches, 18 inches or even 36 inches.  They appeared in the 18th century, but became very popular in the late 1800's through the 1920's as a way for the middle-class to imitate the homes of the rich.  A frieze was sometimes used alone above a painted wall, but more commonly was seen with a simpler style wallpaper, such as a small pattern or stripe. The friezes themselves were very elaborate and dominated the whole wallpaper scheme.

Example of an elaborate frieze.


Vintage Wallpaper with Poodles

I began selling vintage wallpaper over eight years ago. One of the most common requests that I have had through the years has been wallpaper featuring poodles. Who knew? Anyway, I just came across this roll and I am excited to share it with you.

You can find this roll for sale in my Ebay store, along with many more unique patterns. Dont' forget to visit my website if you need patterns with mutiple rolls. www.rosiesvintagewallpaper.com


Vintage Wallpaper with Cherubs

I have lots of single pattern rolls in my vintage wallpaper collection and have decided to list some of them for sale on Ebay. The pattern below featuring cherubs is one of my favorites. I am not sure my photos do it justice!


Always Ready to Buy More Vintage Wallpaper

If you ask me, a person can never have enough vintage wallpaper! That's exactly what I was telling my husband as we were making the twelve hour drive to Virginia last weekend to buy another 650 rolls. I am not sure he was entirely convinced, but I persuaded him enough to at least come along to help carry and load it all. And now that we are back home, I am sorting through it and finding some very rare and unusual patterns.

I am so excited to add these rolls to my collection! But now the real question is...will I be able to part with some of the most gorgeous wallpaper patterns I have ever seen?


Vintage Children's Wallpaper-Rocking Horse

I am excited to add this cool, vintage pattern to my collection! It's not often that you find rocking horses on vintage wallpaper. And although I have only one roll, it would perfect for a feature wall in a child's room or baby boutique!


A Lovely Suprise

I walked out my back door today to find a great surprise in the doorway of my shop! Our UPS guy had delivered a couple boxes of wallpaper that I had ordered a while back and then let slip my mind. Guess I had a senior moment and somehow forgot such lovely wallpaper was on it's way!

Maybe I get too excited, but opening a box of unseen vintage wallpaper is like Christmas for me.

 I can't wait to unroll each roll to see the pattern.

As I look over the wallpaper, I like to think about its history. The seller told me these particular rolls were found inside an old trunk, in the attic of a 1900 Victorian home. I love trying to imagine what room each pattern would have been used in. Included in this batch is a cabbage rose pattern, which would have decorated a bedroom, a fruit and ivy pattern for a kitchen, and a couple of simpler patterns that may have been put in a parlor and finished with a dado and an architectural border.