2016. The Year-End Update. THE HOUSE.
Has there ever been such a year?
2016 is the year that the Heritage Trust Grant work commenced! This involved relining the miles of built-in gutters, installing new shingles on all the secondary roofs, restoring about 2/3 of the 42 stained-glass windows, and replacing rotted sills, rotted water-table trim, rotted sheathing, and rotted siding.
All this work should be complete by the end of January. Only a month late.
The other great effort was painting the Great North Wall. This was supposed to happen in 2015 but the Gods vexed me so and the scaffolding tower remained unclimbed. Sigh. Oh great sigh! But, the tower
was climbed this year!
2016 was also about a lot of discoveries! A lot! There were wondrous lighting discoveries, wallpaper discoveries, hardware discoveries, and doors and lost features and so many things! Golly, it was often quite breathless!
2016 began with a significant realization: the Cross House did not originally have gas lighting, but gas/electric combination fixtures. And the house may have been the first house in the city with electricity, or certainly one of the first. This realization came about because of a single gas nipple to the right of the parlor fireplace. I thought: WHAT is that? And then all hell broke loose.
The realization had a huge impact on my plans and I knew I would never install the gas lighting I had been collecting, or the early electric lighting. No, I would sell all these fixtures and buy only gas/electric fixtures. Today, most of the rooms feature gas/electric chandeliers, such as the parlor.
And a beauty it be. I love love love it.
First on the Heritage Trust list was the relining of all the built-in gutters, which Groh & Sons did.
Groh also installed new shingles on all the secondary roofs. Of vital importance to me was that the shingles on the curved portions follow the curve, rather than be installed in pie-shaped sections as they had been.
The porch roof and octagon tower are done. The finial on the round tower has been removed for restoration. The new shingles were selected to work with the 1920s cementitious tiles on the main roof. These will last till the end of time and it seemed unwise to remove them.
And, drum roll, please, the work is done! Oh baby, this is SO exciting! The finial is back! AND a finial once again graces the octagon tower, after it was recreated by WF Norman!
It was a dramatic, and very hot, moment when the finial was returned to its perch.
In February, a YouTube video of the Cross House was posted by Elizabeth, who created Circa, a delicious blog about old houses for sale. As of today, the video has been watched almost 66,000 times, WAY up from 33 in February!
The Cross House has a astonishing 42 stained-glass windows, and their condition ranges from poor to spectacularly abused. As part of the Heritage Trust work…
…about 2/3 were restored in 2016 by Hoefer Stained Glass. Thanks, Scott! Thanks, Eric!
My excitement overflows!!!!!!!!
In 2015 one stained-glass window was sucked out by the wind and smashed to the ground. My heart felt punched.
In 2016, my heart was made happy again when the restored window was reinstalled. I spent a long time just staring at this wonder, awestruck.
Work commenced on the east side of the house, and the demolition of the poorly built and non-original basement enhance shed.
It is not missed. The first-floor extension is where most of the rot and termite damage was concentrated, and most of its siding is being renewed, its wood sill has now been replaced, it water-table trim is being recreated, and much of its sheathing now replaced. There will soon be AFTER images! Stay tuned!
A massive new beam was installed in the entry hall to support a scarily sagging floor.
New diamond-paned windows were made for the main dormer, recreating a lost feature. This was part of the Heritage Trust grant. Oh, see the octagon tower? See how its upper window sashes were also missing?
No longer! These were restored. Thanks, also, Heritage Trust!
Each side of the entry doors was cluttered with non-original sconces and electrical boxes.
And these affronts to decency were vanquished.
And the doors were…
As was the oak threshold.
When 2016 began most of the pocket doors did not really open/close. Well, they did, but only after doing battle with them each time. Sigh. But then I found the amazing Stephen, who advised me how to remove the doors, and then he custom made…
…new “yokes”. Now, rather than do battle with the doors, we engage in a lovely ballet. The pleasure is great, indeed.
A forest of scaffolding, kissing the sky, was erected to paint the Great North Wall.
And the Big Gable was painted!
And the “diamond brooch” was painted! And five medallions were installed along the bottom, recreating a lost feature! Then, the six stained-glass windows, gloriously restored, were put back in place. I gasp.
And more paint.
Sometimes more than painting is required.
And made right again.
And more paint.
Tragically, I was unable to finish the entirety of the Great North Wall. Work will resume in April.
The lost floor on the south porch was recreated, and the glass infill panels removed. Once again, the porch is open to the weather as intended. Hi Justin!
ZOUNDS! A single section of railing was recreated!!!!!!!! I was sure the rest would all be installed by the end of the year. Time proved me wrong. Sign. So, 2017…!
Small pleasures. A non-original configuration in the butler’s pantry…
…was made right. I now need to recreate two lost two drawers and a missing counter. When I eventually actually own good china I will remove the plywood infill panels and replace them with glass, as the upper doors had originally.
The circa-1950s oak floors in the parlor and library were at last sanded, and, in a twist, stained in wide stripes. To my utter amazement I received not a single criticism (yet!) of this decision when I did a post on the work!
To sum up: When I purchased the house, 2014.
What a year! My only disappointments are that the Great North Wall was not finished, and all the main porch railings not installed. But these disappointed are not too much. More a big sigh kinda disappointment rather than knocking myself with a brick.
Now, Part Two is next. And it is a doozy.
You might want some wine first.