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Frieze and Wainscot trim

In peeling off multiple layers of wallpaper in a Craftsman style 1920 home, it looks as though there was trim nailed on the walls at a regular chair rail height and also a frieze trim about a foot down from the ceiling. Does anyone have ideas on how these walls would have been decorated? Historic color combinations?

Re: Frieze and Wainscot trim


I believe what you are referring to as a frieze is probably a "picture molding". These had a rounded top edge upon which a hook would hang with fine cables down to picture.
This allowed the arrangement of wallhangings with having to dry nails into the plaster.

Homes of this age typically had higher ceilings. The area above the picture molding would often be treated as ceiling, thus lowering the appearance of the ceiling. Wallpapering above the chair rail would have been done commonly, as would also many "faux" techniques. The area below the chairrail would commonly just be painted in a coordinated color. "Dusty", dull colors would have been typical for this era; dull greens, mustardy yellows, dusty rose colors, etc.

I would not be surprised if you have wall sconce lighting fixtures on the walls. Double push button light switches would have been used back then also. Unfortunately, you might also run into knob and tube wiring. This is not good as modern wiring cannot be connected to it legally.

Re: Frieze and Wainscot trim

Thank you for your reply. I haven't run into any wall sconces yet but you are right about the push button switches. Luckily, the former owner had the whole house rewired and the knob and tube wiring is disconnected.

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