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Wallpapered Ceilings in Victorian Houses

Let’s stargaze like it’s 1885!

As seen on episode 2 of our HGTV show
Who’s Afraid of a Cheap Old House?

What’s one trend we definitely need to bring back, especially if restoring a home from 1885?

Wallpaper on the ceiling!

Many people are surprised to find that many houses from the late Victorian era lack crown molding. Why is this? Because at that time, people relied HEAVILY on wallpaper to help decorate and define their spaces. Some grand Victorian homes were outfitted with wallpaper “room sets.” These coordinating patterns would decorate the walls, the ceiling, and all the nooks, crannies + transitional spaces in between.

The images below (credit: Bradbury & Bradbury) depict traditional Victorian rooms outfitted in room sets. You’ll notice how many coordinating elements are at play to add the effect of wild dimension. Victorians lived by the adage, “more is more!”

Committing to that level of purism can be intimidating for some people; we often have better luck easing our homeowners into historical design by nodding subtly to it. In Enrique + Meghan’s house in Worcester, New York, we worked with interior designer Jennifer Salvemini to decorate the ceiling with a reproduction wallpaper depicting a star pattern and produced by one of our favorite companies manufacturing reproduction papers: Bradbury & Bradbury. Bradbury is, in fact, the original maker of reproduction room sets, which it’s been doing now for almost 50 years.

An excerpt from their website:

When Bruce Bradbury started the company back in 1979, those who wanted to recreate the fanciful interiors from the last quarter of the 19th century had little, if any, choice. In response, Bruce created the now-legendary line of roomsets that has set the standard for Victorian interiors for over two decades, simultaneously inspiring the rebirth of the art wallpaper industry and helping to make color and pattern fashionable once again.

We chose the pattern “Persian Star Fill” in the “Cadet” colorway, which according to their website “can be used for panels, enrichment or anywhere you want to add a celestial touch or peek at the night sky.” Sign us up!

Don’t you just adore how this room came out? Some absolutely wonderful companies played a role in making it happen! Big props to GreenRow for the gorgeous curtains and chairs, Venus for the beautiful floral painting (framed expertly by FrameUSA), Juniper Print Shop for providing other art throughout the space, Spoonflower for the tablecloth, and This and That Delhi for the whimsical stars on the table!

Dining rooms are for stargazing!

See the complete interior transformation of this incredible Queen Anne in the recap of Episode 2 of Who’s Afraid of a Cheap Old House?

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