It’s embarrassing but true. As a red-blooded, card-carrying citizen of these United States of America, I had never been to Colonial Williamsburg before this summer. But let me tell you: it was worth the wait.
I loved everything about it. I loved how accurate it was. (When my husband visited as a kid in 1976, the thinking was that these 18th-century houses were decorated in a Colonial Revival style: kind of fancy, pediments over doorways, lots of furniture. NOW we know that the furnishings were much simpler, so the interiors were re-done. Excellent.) I loved the goofy interpreters in their costumes, with their “good day”s and unfortunate footwear. I loved the little street plays acting out the issues of the day. I loved the hokey, expensive carriage ride we took, much to the delight of our children.
And, as I’m sure you can imagine, I LOVED the wallpaper.
Check out the George Wythe House (which I now know is pronounced with, not whythe. Sorry, Benjamin Moore’s HC-143 Wythe Blue. I won’t make that mistake again):
Here, roughly, was the decorating thought process of the fancy people in 1770s Williamsburg.
- I am rich.
- I want people to know I am rich.
- So I will put wallpaper in my house.
- And to show people that I’m really, REALLY rich, I’m going to put the fanciest wallpaper in the most prominent rooms, where the greatest number of people will see it.
So straightforward. What can I get, do I like it, will it impress the neighbors. Those were the concerns.
The yellow floral wallpaper in the dining room of the Thomas Everard House was certainly impressive:
More on the amazing canopy beds at Colonial Williamsburg later, but I couldn’t omit the Everard House’s amazing blue, cream, and black wallpaper with its unrelated trim:
The Peyton Randolph House also had its share of fabulous wallpaper in shades of blue and gray:
Isn’t this wallpaper so quirky and fun? I call it, “Drunken Chinoiserie:”
Sigh. So much gorgeous wallpaper, so few rooms in my own house that can handle it.
Bossy color is a full-service interior design firm based in Washington, D.C. At bossy color, we design outrageously beautiful homes for fascinating people.