When Annika Hinds decided to redo her little sister’s bedroom in Sandpoint during the pandemic, she found a surprise under the carpet: 70-year-old Spokesman-Review newspapers. And then she was surprised again: Video of her discovery went viral on the social media app TikTok.
Hinds posted a TikTok video of the discovery last week that has since garnered over 3.4 million views on the app, where users post short videos.
During quarantine, Hinds has been creating TikToks as a creative outlet, mainly for her interior design skills. Before her newspaper discovery went viral, she had about 10,000 followers. Now she has over 100,000.
“It’s one of those things that you think will never happen to you and then you’re like, wait, that many (people) have seen the inside of my house,” Hinds said.
The hidden archive of decades-old newspapers was discovered as Hinds, 21, was preparing for sister Juliet Jennings’ 13th birthday. She planned to decorate her sister’s room to fit her new teenage status.
The Sandpoint house where Jennings and their mother, Molly McCahon, live was built sometime in the 1920s, McCahon said. McCahon inherited it from her father, Dan McCahon, who bought the house in 1981 and died last year.
The family hadn’t made many changes since they moved in, but the carpet was “getting old and yucky and it was stressing me out,” McCahon said.
So when Hinds, who works as an artist and a photographer in Portland, offered to take on the project, McCahon said she was thrilled.
Initially, the pair thought they would put linoleum over the subfloor. But when they pulled up the carpet and the old linoleum underneath, they discovered not only beautiful hardwood floors but vintage newspapers in mint condition.
“I saw them and at first I just kind of thought, who would put newspaper under their carpet?” Hinds said. “All of a sudden I started noticing all this old ad artwork, and it was really beautiful.”
The women took some time off from the renovation to read the stories and look at the hand-drawn ads.
“It was really cool to just read stories about people in Spokane and my hometown, Sandpoint,” Hinds said.
One article was about Lake Pend Oreille with a photo of people sunbathing on City Beach in Sandpoint, something Hinds has done dozens of times.
“We kept most of them, and I framed some and put them in the finished room,” Hinds said.
Not only did Hinds and McCahon refinish the hardwood floor, but Hinds painted a mural of a mountainscape on the wall.
Hinds has always been an artist, following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Dan McCahon. He was a painter and filmmaker who worked primarily on documentaries.
“I have a lot of art in my genes, too,” Hinds said.
The mural is one of a few Hinds has painted recently and showcased on TikTok.
“Quarantine hit, and she just needed a creative outlet, stuck in her house,” her mother said.
Hinds has been gaining thousands of followers by posting home decor tips and tricks to redecorate with things around the house or small painting projects.
“Annika, she has always been an artist,” her mother said. “Everywhere we ever lived she needed to paint, or do a painting, and move everything around a thousand times.”
Hinds said the projects may seem like they take just a few minutes, but Juliet’s bedroom remodel took the better part of a week.
“The TikTok makes it look really fast and easy,” Hinds said.
They didn’t purchase anything new, but rather used leftover paint they had on hand and rearranged furniture.
As for the old newspapers?
“We kept most of them and I framed some and put them in the finished room,” Hinds said.
Hinds and McCahon aren’t quite sure what made the newspaper TikTok so popular, but both believe it had to do with its intersection of interests, including woodwork, history, home decor and local news.
“It just tied me closer to my home, and I already feel a really strong connection to my house and my neighborhood and my hometown,” McCahon said. “It just sort of tied it all together.”
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