Ever since I moved into my shop premises in 2003 I have wanted to rip out the modern fitted cupboards and dressers that lined the walls and find out what lay behind. On Monday Dave and I did just that, removing three layers of chipboard and pegboard to reveal the original raw planks that have been there since the building was still a cottage. Behind these planks are the rough, thick bare stone walls. It has felt good to let the building 'breathe' again; at the base of the wall behind the skirting the wood was completely rotten and will need replacing. I am relieved that there appears to be no evidence of woodworm. What has been the best surprise is finding some of the old wallpaper - three distinct layers, all quite differently patterned.
The dilemma I face now is whether to leave this part of the wall exposed so that the wallpaper can be seen, or to collage over the top, as was my original intention, with the paper collage I created when I exhibited at The Country Living Fair a few years ago.
For all its historical interest it is not by any stretch of the imagination 'beautiful' and would to a certain degree change the interior character of my shop, being of a darkish hue while all the other walls are a pale blue or white. Covering it over again will help in its preservation. It is peeling off in a lot of places and exposing it will only accelerate this. But part of me thinks that I should leave it exposed and make a feature of it.
What do you think I should do?