An Historian's Decorator Tip

Grand Canyon, AZ
I'm not one to usually give decorator tips, but my husband and I have been planning out how we're going to be redoing our bathroom. I felt I had a neat idea that we both actually agreed on. I have a lot of ideas that I like, but no clue how to execute them in a way that makes the best impact in our home. I'm a bit challenged there, but I have always liked the idea of using antiques or real, original artwork for decorating our home. I just don't like the idea of buying something that hundreds of people have also purchased at one of the big box stores because it's "in style". I guess I've always rebelled against the "in" thing, so it shouldn't really come as a surprise that I feel the same way about decorating in my home.

So, some things I like decorating with are well-executed real oil paintings (yard sale scores!), photographs (mostly my own since it's a hobby), various inexpensive antiques, and lately - vintage postcards.

When thinking of how we'd redo our bathroom, I had thought of a nautical style but it's so overdone, so I scrapped that idea pretty quickly. I really like the textures of iron and rope from the nautical style though, so I tried to think of a way to incorporate those things. Since we live surround by woods, enjoy camping, and my husband has a rich background of scouting, I thought it would be cool to do a vintage scouting theme for our bathroom. My husband loves utilizing his knot-tying skills, so I thought of using a shadow box frame and having different scout knots mounted inside (like you see in nautical-themed decorations). This would serve a dual purpose. Not only would it be cool to look at, but our son will be going into Cub Scouts soon and he'll have a visual to help him remember his knots!

Then came the idea of the vintage postcards. I had seen a vendor at my new favorite antique mall haunt that has thousands of postcards, all nicely organized by state. (You are so awesome, whoever you are!) I thought it would be neat to find vintage postcards from different state parks to frame and put on our bathroom walls. I wasn't sure what I'd find, but I thought it would be fun looking through them. Any excuse to go to the antique mall, right?

Boy, was I surprised by how many stunning vintage postcards there are out there! I tried to go for the ones from the 30s & 40s that look like paintings. I love the colors and how artistic they look. They're all printed on a nice linen-like paper too. I also tried to find ones of places that either my husband or I have visited.

Here's a sampling of what I found. Keep in mind that my camera doesn't really do them justice!

Cedar Breaks, UT; Salt Lake, UT; Petrified Tree Forest, AZ; Mt. Timpanogos, UT

Alpine Loop, UT; Lower Falls, Yosemite National Park; Logan Canyon, UT; Royal Gorge, CO

Hoosac Tunnel, MA; San Fransisco Peaks, AZ; Royal Gorge, CO; Mt. Shasta, CA
We haven't been to any of these places, but the postcards were beautiful.

I was really struck by the beauty of these two:
Stunning colors!
Beautiful, dramatic moonlit scene
And then I found this neat train one:
Rockville Bridge, PA

I was really excited when I studied it a bit closer and found this:
Postmarked 1943, Stamped with "Buy War Savings Bonds and Stamps", with a Statue of Liberty stamp that says "Industry & Agriculture - FOR DEFENSE". WWII stamps - so cool!

 Postcards have turned out to be a really neat way to decorate our old 1900 farmhouse. Mounted on parchment paper with photo sticky tabs, they fit perfectly in 4"x6" frames too! Good thing I still had a bunch of those lying around. :-)


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