Decorating


S: I’d been writing to Warner’s about getting a flat and we got married at the end of September and it was getting closer and closer to the wedding and we thought we were going to have to move in with my mum and dad, but then we got allocated this one bedroom flat on Warner Road…

B: Number 31.

S: yeah, four doors away from where Rob lived. And it had been rented by an elderly lady and it was all in pink and cream and things like that, and it did need redecorating, and I remember when we went to see it I cried, because it wasn’t anything like my first home that I wanted, you know I was looking forward to moving into this really brand new property, and Rob and his mum said ‘oh don’t worry we’ll get it decorated’. And the Warners were going to come and re-paper it, and we asked if we bought our own paper would they put that up for us, which they did. I mean we had to do quite a lot of the repainting, but they always did redecorate.

B: I can remember a lot of the guys, who used to work for Warner’s, whether they were the plumbers, or the decorators, you know, they were faces you knew, because they used to push the handcart up the road, with their ladders, and their cement on, or whatever they were doing, they used to push these white, well I call it a trek cart, because it’s the sort of thing we used to have when we were in the scouts. They used to push that up the road with all their stuff on.

It was Lincrusta wallpaper, and when you tried to take it off, it was always underneath wasn’t it, and you had to scrape it. And I can remember anything you did in Warner’s you had to get permission for, didn’t you. Number one, you weren’t allowed to paint the outside, no way. That would have been the worst cardinal sin, wouldn’t it, to have painted the outside. And even if you put a shed in the back garden you were supposed to get permission, weren’t you, I’m not sure everybody did. If you wanted to panel the doors, because it was quite fashionable in the 60s to put hardboard over the doors, to make them flush, and if you moved out Warner’s would come and inspect it and charge you for defacing their doors, and things like that. And if you had an electric point put in, which Mr Wood used to do for us like, he wasn’t an electrician, he was an undertaker actually! And a good carpenter and that, and he- “yeah, I’ll come and put you a couple of points in” He put points in for our fridge on the landing, you were supposed to get permission for all of that but nobody did.

Bob & Sylvia, Keith Road


We had this- is it Anaglypta wallpaper? You know when you paint over. Well when we were being refurbed, we came in to say goodbye to the place that we knew, and we took some of the wallpaper with us, and there must have been at least 15 coats of paint, over and over and over again, it had been painted. And underneath the wallpaper there, and that wall there, “Donny Osmond”, “I love the Jackson Five”, “David Cassidy” so it must have been when the Anaglypta or whatever it’s called, wallpaper went up. So it must have been like ‘74, ‘75. And my sister and I were allowed to write on the walls, and it was so funny just peeling off the wallpaper and finding more and more “David Cassidy- you are my hero!” It was so weird to find all that, memories again, of everything.

Sue, Cornwallis Road


We had five layers of wallpaper when we first moved in that we had to unpeel, and it was really interesting, it was like sections of history of interior design. We had papers from the 70s, really loud mustard and orange colours, then all different types not just colours but materials, some were really thin, some were just a film, then we got to the last one which was very exciting, and it was a very very dark, sort of almost like card, paper, and it had very very dark bouquets of flowers, all over the walls, and it was very exciting so we managed to keep big sections of it, and we treasure them. Now it’s all white, except for one green wall in the nursery, one splash of colour.

Marta, Seymour Road


When I moved in the walls were covered in all kinds of horrendous wallpaper, very patterned, and friezes that went along it, and more strips that went vertically. All that had to come off, and then it’s been simplified greatly, and now there’s no pattern on any wall now, it’s all blocks of colour, and any pattern comes from the curtains, the fireplace tiles, pictures on the walls, it’s completely unrecognisable.

The furniture was all bought especially since moving in here. I never had any antique furniture before, but since moving in here all the furniture I’ve bought tends to be of that era, so it’s about 1890 to about 1910, Arts and Crafts, English, Oak, William Morris inspired.

I wanted something that was of the era but not living strictly in the era, so it’s not as heavy as all the Victorian clutter, but I wanted nice pieces that are quite me, even though my background is Pakistani, where you wouldn’t have this kind of furniture. My parents would just look at this and be aghast that I’ve got old furniture, they wouldn’t see any beauty in it, they wouldn’t see any craftsmanship in it, but for me it was really important, it kind of embodies the era of the flat and the kind of people that would have lived here.

Iqbal, Winns Avenue


After my first marriage broke I was a bit down and I like changes, and I painted the whole house. We painted so many times, so many different colours, we did this room with a kind of beige, and the doorway was strawberry red, and the other room was lime and lemon, yellow and green. And the kitchen was orange. The bathroom was kind of.. the bathroom has always been white hasn’t it? Yes, always been white.

Gnanamani, Leucha Road


I think it was the.. the banisters were covered over, it was kind of like solid, and I can’t remember now, but maybe Ritchie was kind of like tapping, and realised it was hollow, and so he punched through it, and realised that the original banisters were there! It was like such a good present, it was this additional thing, so we proceeded to rip it off and found these really nice spindles, covered in years and years of varnish. It took us days trying to get the varnish off. And then we did the wallpaper, and I wish we’d kept a sample, a bit of it, because we had layers and layers of wallpaper, and it was really good to see which era those papers came from, and what kind of people may have lived here because of the taste in patterns and colours, it was really fascinating.

Edna, Elphinstone Road


I haven’t changed much apart from the paintwork, I was quite lucky that there was no woodchip, but the person before the person that I replaced I think had quite a violent sense of colour, because I could see that the person before me had gone round and tried to paint everything white, but you could see I think this room was dark blue, so I had to go over the ceiling about another three times to get rid of that, and behind the radiator you could see it was dark blue, so there were some quite vile colours going on. Coming up the stairs I’ve got a kind of creamy coloured carpet, on the staircase and across the hallway, I’ve got what I assume are original floorboards that have been polished, not by me, by someone before me, which I like, they’re a bit knackered and old looking but I quite like that.

I’ve got a dado rail in the hallway which I’ve painted in aubergine, and the wall below is a kind of biscuity colour, and the wall above is a very pale taupey, kind of purple browny, yeah taupe, is probably the best description. The radiators are also dark purple, that’s a bit of a theme because I do like my auberginey purples.

In the living room the ceiling and the wall down to the picture rail is white, then 3 of the walls are something called Hay, it was either Farrow and Ball or the William Morris one, so it was one of these Edwardian colours which I thought really worked well in the flat for obvious reasons, it fitted the timeframe of the flat. Then the fireplace wall is the colour of yoghurt when you put in blackcurrants and strawberries which I really like, so you could just call it pink, but I think that would give the wrong impression.

Carol, Hawarden Road


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