There are two schools of thought on wallpaper: love it or hate it. I tend towards the latter. Using the makeshift shower in the seventies bathroom of the maison de chasse has done little to change my mind. Imagine looking like you have the worst case of dandruff ever because the ceiling comes tumbling down each time you turn on the water. Imagine being surrounded by fake tiles of brown and beige wallpaper, which you feel compelled to peel off each time you take a shower. Enough already! Surely the château has more refinement to offer. One exception to my self-imposed wallpaper style rules would be ‘papiers peints panoramiques’, the panoramic wallpapers of the 18th and 19th century, which are works of art in themselves. I love the elegance of these silk hand painted designs, the narrative of beautiful chinoiseries or oriental landscapes unfolding around the walls of a room.
Alas at Lescure we have no such roomscapes. Only two rooms and a couple of large cupboards have wallpaper, and they’re not exactly murals of outstanding quality. Still, I agreed to take the house as it is and to uncover its beauty even when it’s not immediately apparent. So, I discover that the old-fashioned red design in the future library actually looks fresh and modern against the crisp white of an antique radiator. Next, I’m pondering vintage florals, trying to enjoy a romantic nod to the past, but really thinking it’s all too manicured, prim and pretty. Until it dawns on me that even in autumn the paper transports me to Lescure’s summer, into a lush landscape with pink roses and blue cornflowers. And every time I open a cupboard door, the peek-a-boo of blooms makes me smile. Turns out that if you take the time to really listen, simple wall coverings tell a story too, of life at Lescure and the people before us. Not exceptional, but magical nonetheless.