The 'residence' part of the building was originally plastered while the 'store' and its associated storage area were finished with beaded planks. Unfortunately most of the plaster in the building had completely failed by about 100 years ago and any remnants of original wallpaper on the plaster walls was lost. Except original ceiling plaster, surviving areas of plaster were remarkably thin so it is not surprising that as horse hair in the plaster deteriorated, it began to fall off the walls - particularly as settlement in the centre of the building sheared the plaster keying.

However, as the use of the store areas transitioned to residential they were wallpapered and those layers survive. Furthermore, the corners of the plastered rooms had wooden corner covers to 'dress up' the structural timber frame uprights and though originally painted, these were later wallpapered with the plaster walls and there layers of early wallpaper did survive.

Master Bedroom

With the narrowest floorboards and the most extravagant chair rail and casings, this was the highest status room in the house. Unfortunately this room was such high status that the structural uprights were originally notched so as not to require corner covers meaning there were no corner covers to preserve the wallpaper.

Apparently the master bedroom was gutted in the 1970's or 1980's and nothing survived of the original wallpaper

Dining Room

The dining room was drywalled - apparently in the 1940's. This drywall was also applied over the corner covers. Before drywall, there was evidence of wallpaper being applied directly to the lath after the plaster had failed, and a fragment of newspaper under this wallpaper was dated 1888.

Remarkably there were at least 13 layers of wallpaper on the corner covers. Originally the corner covers were painted with a 'faux' double layer of white and caramel - presumably to create a fantasy oak finish. The bottom 2 layers were primitive block patterns (the 12th layer being quite complex), with the bottom layer being particularly primitive - just blue.

Figure 1. Bottom layer of dining room wallpaper

Drawing Room

Similar to the dining room, the drawing room plaster had failed at some earlier date and wallpaper was applied directly to the lath. Like the dining room, it was apparently drywalled in the 1940's.

Though the corner covers were originally painted white and then salmon pink with the plaster, 15 layers of wallpaper were identified. The bottom 4 layers were on crude paper and the bottom layer was a block-printed green and burgundy pattern.

Figure 2. Bottom layer of drawing room wallpaper

Upstairs Store

The upstairs store is a gold mine of wallpaper and we are delaying stripping of this wallpaper as the bottom layers are extremely early for Ontario. The 2nd layer of wallpaper we have dated to 1840 using underlying newsprint, and the bottom layers are on small panels of primitive paper. The guess is these are either 1818 or 1825 and if they are English they will probably have customs stamps on the back. If anyone wishes to volunteer to recover these wallpapers from the walls, please contact us.


The planks of the south side of the store was drywalled in 1956, and under that were many layers of wallpaper. The north side of the store had been plastered with wooden lath and there appeared to be fragments of only one layer of wallpaper. On the planks under the wallpaper on both sides of the room were newspaper fragments from 1853.

The first layer of wallpaper in the store is a block print in green, white and burgundy. On top of that were 17 other layers of wallpaper to 1953.

Figure 3. Bottom layer of store wallpaper - 1854


The kitchen wainscotting was originally painted drab and later a water-soluable forest green. Originally it is likely that the walls were painted. At some point the bullnose of the wainscotting was chopped off and wallpaper applied over the entire wall to conceal the wainscotting.

33 Layers of wallpaper were removed from the kitchen wainscotting and corner covers. Curiously, the bottom layer of wallpaper on the corner covers matched that on the wainscotting suggesting the bullnose was chopped away quite early.

Figure 4. Bottom layer of kitchen wallpaper.

Except the west wall, the walls of the kitchen were covered by drywall in the 1940's. The west wall was covered by narrow vertical tongue and groove planks. Under these planks were layers of wallpaper and intact plaster, applied in 2 coats with a putty layer. However the wallpaper on this wall began with layer 17 found on the wainscotting dating to about 1904 indicating this wall had been re-plastered at that time.

All the surviving original plaster in the rest of the building was quite primitive, applied in 2 coats without a putty coat, and with a rough surface.