According to the Garden Club of Virginia’s website, “Each spring visitors are welcomed to over 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks during ‘America’s Largest Open House.’ This 8-day statewide event provides visitors a unique opportunity to see unforgettable gardens at the peak of Virginia’s springtime color, as well as beautiful houses sparkling with over 2,000 flower arrangements created by Garden Club of Virginia members.” Garden Week Tours in Richmond are scheduled for Thursday April 28th and Friday April 29th.
One of our client’s homes, Janet Deskevich, is a beautiful stop on this tour. Aside from the gorgeous garden, her home features her Grandmother’s wallpaper, which we installed, repaired and enriched.
In the 1950’s, Mr. & Mrs. Moses Nunally commissioned the Gracie Wallpaper Company to design a hand painted wallpaper for their dining room in their home in Richmond, Virginia. The scenic wallpaper consisted of approximately 20 panels that were specifically designed for the Nunally’s dining room, taking into consideration the wall dimensions and placement of doors and windows.
In the summer of 2005 after Mrs. Nunally passed away, her granddaughter, Janet Deskevich, had John Nalewaya of New York remove the twenty panels of wallpaper in hopes of having them re-hung in her home. Because the paper was originally hung on canvas, the paper and canvas were removed together, numbered and packed between foam board and acid free rice paper.
In January of 2009 Mrs. Deskevich contacted Jeff Ragland of H. J. Holtz and Son to see if he could look at the feasibility of hanging the scenic wallpaper in her dining room. Jeff picked up the packaged scenic wallpaper and brought it back to the shop so it could be laid out and inspected.
This project involved three challenges. One: could the scenic wallpaper be hung in a different space than it was designed for and look acceptable? Two: could the fifty year old panels be repaired from damage that they suffered from wear and tear and through the process of being removed from Mrs. Nunally’s dining room? Third: we had never re-hung antique wallpaper that had been removed!
Measurements were taken of the Deskevich’s dining room, paying very close attention to wall dimensions and the locations of doors and windows.
Once Jeff realized the scenic wallpaper would work in its new home, we began the preparation of the room. The walls were primed with an alkyd oil primer/sealer. Muslin was hung vertically followed by blank stock hung in a horizontal pattern. While taking an inventory of the panels, it was found that many of them had tears, paint drips and areas where the paper had started to come off of the canvas. Other panels had holes that were cut out for sconces and electrical switches.
On February 16, 2009 the first pieces were hung. Although this was a wallpapering job, we used the artistic talent and eye for color of our craftsmen, Jeff Ragland, Dannon Featherston and Shane Legano to paint in the pattern on areas where color had been worn off over the fifty years or where an electrical light switch was located. They used watercolors and watercolor pens to match and touch-up the existing 50 year old graphics.
This project was very unique because it took many different skills; design skills, artistic skills, knowledge of color and last but not least wallpapering skills. Thankfully, because of the talent of our craftsmen all of the challenges were met, while exceeding the customer’s expectations. Stop by the Deckevich’s home at 5400 Matoaka Road during Garden Week in Richmond to see for yourself.