When you live in a small house, it's great to find places that can serve more than one purpose.

Remember my dining room closet that had many layers of wallpaper?  That closet normally holds my vacuum cleaner, a few vintage suitcases that act as storage, a few coats, and my freshly laundered shirts until I have time to iron them.  

And remember my post on Wallpaper in Your Closets?  Well, when I did that post, I already had something up my sleeve.

I fell totally head over heels for this 1940s Fox Hunt wallpaper.  I don't think we had this exact print but I remember the den in my childhood house having wallpaper similar to this.  I was lucky enough to snag the last double roll of this fun print.  And I've been champing at the bit (pun intended) to find the time to finish this project for a few months.

I had assembled a bunch of things as inspiration for the dining room a few months ago but I couldn't show them because it would have given away the surprise of the wallpaper.

First, I had to trim off the selvage edge.  When my grandfather taught me how to wallpaper, I remember that we used to overlap the edges, but I don't recall him trimming these off.  Perhaps he spared me the agony.  I used my four-foot level as a straight edge and a razor blade to carefully trim off the edges.  Thankfully I only needed only three strips.  What a pain!  I can't imagine trimming enough wallpaper for an entire room.

This ain't no prepasted version.  I had to mix the paste -- yeah, that's a mixing bowl and a big old paint brush -- apply it to the back...

...and book the wallpaper to let it absorb into the paper for several minutes.

The smell of the paste and the wet wallpaper took me right back to an eight-year-old boy wallpapering the downstairs bathroom with my grandfather.  I don't think I've experienced that smell since that time.  It's amazing how an odor can be so instantly connected to a memory.

It was tough working with this old paper, probably due in part to the paper's fragility after 60 years.  I ripped the first piece but since it was off to the left of the door, I pieced it back together and prayed the glue would hold it tight while it dried.  It did.  The other two pieces went pretty smoothly.  The whole thing took about two hours.

The wallpaper is still wet but I couldn't wait to start setting up the closet.  I took the bench from my bedroom upstairs and stacked the vintage suitcases.   I love how the original paint on the upper shelf pretty closely matches the color of the bench.

One of suitcases holds files, papers, bills, receipts, tax documents, etc., and the other holds hats, gloves, gloves and umbrellas.   I've recovered the bench with a brown plaid RL fabric.  I was planning to use the vintage box on top but when I went shopping today, I found the perfect tray.

And here's the final product.  Since I don't have the space for any kind of sideboard or serving table in the dining room/study, the closet is the perfect place to set up a little bar when friends come over.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out.  The wallpaper seems perfectly at home, like it's been there for many years.

And I think it's the perfect little surprise that makes a house unique.

I had a lot of fun doing this...and it's another project I can cross off the list.