Les Rives du Bosphore Wallpaper, Part Deux

This concludes the two-part series on our Joseph Dufour wallpaper restoration project. For the first part, please see our previous post.

We left off at the beginning of the restoration process. All the wallpaper would have to be re-adhered to the wall before we could repair the cosmetic damage. We did this using patience, hypodermic needles, archival paste, patience, tacking irons, burnishers, ladders, patience, and patience. The gluing process took up about half of the time allotted for the whole project. It was grueling and unrewarding, with a lot of labor and only the subtlest visual improvement. Much of it took place on ladders, in hot weather, and of course we were geared up in respirators, latex gloves, and long sleeves to protect from hazardous paint dust.

A view of the wallpaper's topography from the side. This was actually taken after much of the area had been glued down.

The wallpaper’s topography from the side. This was actually taken after much of the area had been glued down.

fixing wallpaper bubble

Melissa injects glue into the space behind the wallpaper. After this step, she’ll iron the area so that the glue dries faster and the paper smooths out flat. Flatter than before at least.

Fixing old wallpaper bubbles.

A view of the larger wall as it relates to the rest of the room, and Melissa on her ladder. The furniture and wainscoting have been covered in plastic to protect it from toxic paint dust and from our materials.

After 57 hours of gluing and ironing, ironing and gluing, it was restoration time. Our main adversaries were the water stains, visible mostly in the sky, but also in the water area. If there was any time left after fixing these, we’d devote it to repairing some of the other age-related damage, mostly just chips, crackling, and holes.

One big element to consider was the previous restoration. The more we got to know this wallpaper, the more previous restoration we noticed. The entire sky had been painted over at some point. We knew this not only from visual evidence like drips, large brushstrokes, and pale halo-ing around the trees and horizon area, but also from online photos of other examples of the same wallpaper. The original sky should be a pale vibrant blue rather than grey, and it should have clouds in it.

A few parts of the wallpaper were not original at all, such as the entire left margin of the smaller wall. Notice this guy appears to be talking to a bush.

A few parts of the wallpaper were not original at all, such as the entire left margin of the smaller wall. Notice this guy appears to be talking to a bush. Everything to the left of him is not original.

Antique Wallpaper

Nearly everything in this image is a later addition. This was probably done to fill up the space provided since this wallpaper predates the house by a hundred years.

Since it was not in our budget to remove the previous restoration, we’d just have to restore over it. Rather than try to achieve the look of the original wallpaper, we worked with what we had and just tried to make all the damage less noticeable.

Here is what the restoration process looked like:

katierestoration2 melissarestoration2Restorationmelissa2

And now for the before and afters.

bigwallbeforeafter

bigwallleft

bigwall10after

bigwall4after

bigwall5after

bigwall6after

bigwall8after

bigwall2after

leftcurtainafter

smallwall4after

smallwall1after

smallwall2after

I will leave you with a photo of a dear friend we made during this project. Mugsy we will never forget you, though you forgot us every day.

mugsy

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