I recently stayed at a Bettina Network Hedge School and enjoyed every minute, but came home exhausted.
Every home is different and offers a wide range of experiences so I decided to take three days – combine this trip with my vacation – and see what this is all about.
Once you’ve stayed in a Bettina home you become a member of Bettina Network Lifestyle Community. I love that part because I now have a password and can access parts of their web site. I can add events to Bettina’s Menu of Events or I can generate a calendar of events for the city where I am staying. Their events are not the kind you find in the entertainment section of newspapers or other kinds of media. Many are known only to the locals and in the right city that is a great find.
I wanted to learn about upholstering a room in my house. This was something I read about years ago in a beautifully written novel and never forgot the description of the house.
I traveled to another one of the Bettina homes a couple years ago and heard about this house which helps you look at different ways to make your house, not airtight, but as economical in using heat as possible and the one thing I heard was this house was upholstering its walls.
I know cold comes through windows and sometimes I realized how cold the inside of the outside walls of my house can become so I thought that would be great. So, knowing very little about what I was getting into off I went on a real journey of discovery.
My first day was spent sightseeing around town. That was great, but my attention span for those kind of things gets lost quickly. I need to do something “real” to keep going , so the second and third days I stayed at the house instead of roaming around. A woman, who was a guest at breakfast talked about what upholstering walls was all about. She was there to help with a bedroom and talk us through the process. The family had done this before and will finally have all of their rooms upholstered, I was glad to be around for the second and not the first try.
I saw the padding that would be used and the beautiful brocade material that would be put over the padding. I was over the moon. This was going to be really special.
We started by measuring and cutting the padding to fit all the different walls and over doors and small cubbies in the room. I realized right away this was going to dramatically reduce my heating bill. It would be really difficult for the cold to penetrate into that room. It would take a couple days or longer, if at all.
Stapling the padding to the walls took the rest of the day and I was kind of tired, but very proud of my work.
We had tea in the late afternoon and talked about the history of this wall upholstery – it was the precursor of wallpaper. Most of the very upper class homes had upholstered walls. The poorer folks – like myself – had to paper their walls, which really gives no benefit beyond aesthetic. This wall upholstery gives aesthetic as well as insulation.
the next morning – my third day – my host family suggested I might like to hangout, tour a bit, do nothing, but I was ready to go and wanted to see this through to the end as quickly as possible. They cautioned that I might get tired since I really was not accustomed to such work. I didn’t want to hear any of that so after breakfast and a visit with an Interior Designer who the family knows and works with we were ready to go.
I could not believe how beautiful the material.
We had the measurements from the day before when we put up the padding, so we moved along pretty quickly cutting and stapling the material to the walls. The staple gun we used has a pot belly contraption which hooked into the upholstery staple gun which was made especially for doing upholstery work. The pot belly thing seemed to be for the purpose of giving more power to force the staples into the wall.
As we talked to the Interior Designer she described other ways to do this wall upholstery. One was to put framing around the walls and staple the material to this framing. The family, however, wanted to do this by stapling directly to the wall. Their walls were plaster and built before 1900. It was a time when, in some buildings, plaster was mixed with marble dust and it made for a very strong plaster wall. If they had wall board as walls they would not have been able to do the stapling directly onto the walls – and – we were stapling close to the doors and windows so that also provided a substantial surface on which to attach the material.
This is very brief from what I learned at that house. I have a notebook full of information which I will keep close because I am going to upholster all of my walls and hopefully my next winters heating bill will drop by half.
When we finished putting the material onto the walls we used a beautiful braid and that was our finishing look for this project. The braid blended with the material and gave everything a very professional look.
All in all it was three days well spent. I stayed in a beautiful room – great breakfast – met a couple of people who did this wall upholstery as their vocation – and I was ready to go to work. Only when I got home I realized I was completely exhausted. I spent a couple days recovering because we did some hard work. It was fun – we joked quite a bit – talked a lot – I felt as though I had known this family for years by the time I left for home – and I got over my tired in a couple days. The same kind of tired I would have experienced from a vacation, but on this “vacation” I came home with some real learning, new friends and an understanding of what some people do for a living. I didn’t think anyone did this, but whatever you are looking for there is someone someplace who is an expert.
I hope Bettina Network Hedge Schools grows into a huge, magnificent Network so I can try many of their homes. What I love most about Bettina’s is that it is a corporation that is greed-free. They will contribute to this world as well as take what they need to survive and grow.
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Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.
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