top of page

Interior Decorator

Jason, Victoria, Australia
March 2007

The following story happened to me a few years ago when I was studying in university.

My friend had bought an old house, dating from the 1890's in Yarraville, an old inner city suburb of Melbourne and I begged him to allow me to decorate it for me as I adored interior design and old Victorian houses. (Melbourne has more buildings in that style then any other city except London apparently). I wanted to keep the original style throughout the house but my friend wanted it modernised so as it was his house I went his way.

We tore up the old kitchen (I almost cried when the original fireplace where the wooden stove and oven once sat was demolished) and we bought some magazines that we bought from the hardware store and some paint samples. As he and his girlfriend selected the colours for their home I tried one last time to appeal to keep the house in it's proper style. (This was out of character for me as I never stand up for what I want.) but after a while I gave up and selected a good feature wall colouring, a green, lighter green marbling on one wall in the living room. (green is my favorite colour and my friend wanted to please me I suppose). As we painted the wall strange things started to happen. First one of the pencils we used to mark on the walls where pictures were going to go, wouldn't sharpen and it was a brand new pencil. We left it on the floor and went to get a new one. When we came back someone had taken the pencil and scribbled all over the feature wall and written a note on the wall in neat calculated script. "Highly unsuitable. repaint" The pencil was not only still blunt but shattered into splinters as though it had been run over by a car. My friend blamed me (as I didn't want to modernise the house) but I pointed out that I was with him the whole time.

As we continued the house began to feel oppressive and depressing. We painted my friends room which he shared with his girlfriend and that night he couldn't sleep. His girlfriend decided the next day to move into the second bedroom (it was a three bedroom house) and I asked if I could move in and have that room. they agreed (on condition that I help pay the bills) so I did. I remodeled that room to suit my tastes, a Victorianate oasis in a modernised house. I re-opened the fireplace (which had been sealed over with drywall in the 50's) and got a new cast iron hearth and wooden mantle, painted the room a mid- toned green and constructed wood panels to match the floor (which was hardwood) My furniture from home (I lived with my family 'til then) was put in, my colonial bed, oak desk, bookcase, my two paintings and my wall mounted flintlock pistol... essentially a typical Neo-edwardian gentleman's room.
With this done (in only a week mind you) the room became very warm and friendly and my friends started spending all their time in my room. They said it was because the room was finished but I knew it was because the house wanted it. I told them that but once again it was put down to prejudice towards the "Old Fashioned" My friends started to change my mind as more and more things started to happen.

The kitchen was the worst.

We bought a glass topped stainless steel table which broke whilst we were bringing in the chairs. We took it back and got it replaced but the replacement also broke. The house grew more oppressive and slowly I started sneaking in Victorian style furniture. In the entranceway I put an old victorian side table and nailed the original wood paneling back up. (which had taken us hours to get down) the next day the entranceway was cheerful and you could feel the tension as you stepped from the entranceway into the lounge which it was connected to. Still my friends wouldn't listen to me when I told them there was something going on (I don't know why I knew it there just was). The final thing happened when my friend came home from work one night (He works afternoons so he can go to Uni during the day).

He entered the entranceway to see a young woman in the dining room (which we were planning on turning into an informal lounge) He at first thought it was his girlfriend so he ignored her and went to walk through into the kitchen. The woman was suddenly in front of him. She had spots of paint in her messy hair and on her face and was wearing a long simple dress, also covered in paint. She stood there staring at him for several minutes. My friend was frozen with fear and couldn't move. The woman was very angry and the room felt very warm. Then she disappeared and the negative feelings throughout the house grew worse. (except in my room and the hall). The next morning he woke me up very early and asked me if I knew any good antique stores and could I re-do the house in it's original style. He told me what he had seen and for some reason I was pleased. The ghost had done me a favor in a way.

We hadn't had the bathroom or kitchen done yet so it wasn't too expensive to have a claw foot bath put in the bathroom and the kitchen done in whitewashed colonial pine. The feature wall was painted over and we trimmed the walls in rolls of nice wallpaper trim and replaced the heater in the fireplace with an original fitting. The more we did in that style the happier the house became and eventually I gave my friend and his girl their room back and I moved into the room they had left.

Something tells me that the girl who appeared to my friend once lived in this room because it sometimes I feel a warm presence in the room with me as if it is saying "Thank you".

Jason, Victoria, Australia
00:00 / 01:04
bottom of page