In my previous Discovery post, I detailed the layers of wallpaper on the west wall of the second-floor servant’s room. After getting down to the original layer of paper, I was curious as to what was under. And discovered this very curious finish. WHAT is this? WHY does it stop about 5-feet above the floor?
WHY is it striated? I stared at this for a long time. I just assumed it was some sort of wainscoting paint effect. But…then…
…oh! The striated paint was ALSO above the bare plaster, with white paint obscuring the rest. Huh? WHAT was going on? WHY was there a horizontal bare plaster stripe about 5-inches high running across the wall? Then…then…a thought popped into my head. And in a flash I knew JUST what I was looking at. And my heart raced.
Just as I now expected, there was a SECOND bare plaster stripe down a little lower, and…
…a third such stripe down a little more. There were no additional stripes below. Have you figured out what all this means?
It confirms that the 1894 blanket closet (drum roll, please) HAD BEEN BUILT! While the drawing shows “Draws” (drawers), what had been clearly built instead was deep shelves. These would have likely been 1×12 boards resting atop 1×5 boards nailed to the walls. The shelves stopped short of the floor by several feet. Was this so luggage could be stored? Then the walls were cheaply painted with a coarse brush. In 1929, it seems that the blanket closet and servant’s closet were removed, with the latter being replaced by a much shallower closet, extant today.
Confirmation about the current closet not being original is confirmed here. To the right you can see the striated paint. It continues BEHIND the wall to the left. Note, too, how the plaster to to right is a different color than the left plaster.
Additional confirmation is the tell-tale plaster repair on the south wall, showing the original location of the closet wall.
The west wall today. The “shrunken” closet is left, and the lost blanket closet is right. The open door is the original door to the blanket closet. Is the closet door (left) the original closet door, just simply repositioned? That would make sense. The closet will soon be gone, and its door will be, yet again, relocated, to the second floor hall, recreating a door opening covered over in 1929. On this wall will be my new 5-foot x 5-foot shower.
I was quite moved by all this. I rested my fingers upon the 1894 striated finish, closed my eyes, and floated back in time. What I was touching had not been touched or seen in 92-years. Out of the billions of people on Earth, nobody knew this finish even existed. Nobody. Something had vanished…but has now returned to light. And, the history of the house is more fully understood.
The ceiling of the blanket closet also has the striated finish. The closet and room ceilings do not.
The new shower will take up 83-inches of the west wall (5-foot wide shower, 18-inch-wide seat, and 5-inch wall to the north), starting in the corner. So, some of the west wall will remain exposed. I plan to remove all the wallpaper, fully exposing the striated finish, and see if the white paint covering the upper wall can also be removed.
Then, I will print out a card explaining the history of the wall, insert this into a glass frame, and screw it to the wall so after I am long gone people will understand what they are looking at.
All this just thrilled me. It is an incredible discovery.
Something lost…has been found.