The Cross House
2017. Wow. What a year.
All the work regarding the 2015 Kansas Heritage Trust Fund Grant was completed!
Then, in February, I was notified that the Cross House had been awarded a second full Heritage grant! As amazed as I was to receive the first grant, I was even more amazed to receive a second one. Wow. Wow!
I am enormously grateful, and would not have purchased the house if the Heritage program did not exist. While there was no guarantee that the house would be awarded a grant, I felt there was a good chance, so I rolled the dice, gritted my teeth, and prayed a lot to the historic Gods.
At the beginning of the year, the west facade was largely done, and the north facade was partially done. So, the great 2017 effort was to finish the latter. Finish the Great North Wall!
When this work was largely complete, I developed the uneasy awareness that something was…off. I realized that I had been too cautious, too wary of creating a painted lady. I also keep studying an 1895 image of the house and realized that the house had more colors than the 3-color job I had done. So, after much thought, numerous wrong turns, and a lot of help from readers, I ended up spending a lot of time “enhancing” the exterior by tweaking colors and adding some colors.
At a glance all looks the same.
But all is much richer. The house looks somehow fresher, more alive.
THE CARRIAGE HOUSE
In 2016, RestoringRoss had 567,000 views.
In 2017, there have been 1,062,000 views.
A million+ views for a blog about an old house in Kansas seems astonishing.
I also must smile because a year ago I dared to post — EEK! — some political thoughts in my year-end Ross report (a 2017 Ross report will be posted tomorrow). One reader called me a pompous ass, and several readers stated that they would never again look at my blog, and also predicted a mass exodus of readers.
So, yes, I smile. I also feel bad for a mind that likes 99.9% of something yet just cannot handle the .1% they disagree with.
There have also been 12,000 comments since the blog started in the summer of 2014. And it has been a delight meeting all of you! I have tried to make people feel comfortable about expressing their opinions, and y’all have not been reticent about telling me that you hate the striped floors, are appalled by the color of the parlor walls, and thought I had lost my mind in deciding to enhance the exterior colors. Luckily however, y’all have been lavish in your praise, too! So, the former helps keep my head from getting too big!
Your comments have also changed the house. The parlor would not look like it does without your input, and the exterior enhancement was significantly helped by reader’s input.
So, thanks to all of you! BIG hugs and much love!
The 2017 Kansas Heritage Grant work will commence in 2018. This work will:
- Fully restore the south facade.
- Finish the final 1/3 of the stained-glass windows.
- Finish all the clear-glass windows.
- Re-point the north chimney.
This work is expected to be completed in 2019.
I am also going to try and move in at the end of 2018! This will depend on my finances, and if I can afford to finish getting the house heat-able and cool-able. Pray for me.
THE FULL STORY
I tremendously enjoy working on the house and believe that this excitement carries through into my many blog posts.
However, I am concerned that a false impression is being created.
For, along with all the WHOEE and SQUEE are some heart-stopping moments. Moments involving finances.
I will be walking through the kitchen of my current house, for example, thinking about nothing when all of a sudden I feel a “wave” wash over me. The wave will stop me in my tracks, and utterly crush my spirit. I feel as if I am falling over and need to grip the counter edge.
These panic waves are unpredictable. I was once in the grocery store holding a box of cereal when a panic wave washed over me. I had to hold onto the shelving.
I knew going in that I could not afford to restore the house. It took my every penny and all my savings to just buy the house. While the Heritage grants have been a godsend, the grants reimburse. So, I have to spend the money, and then get reimbursed. This involves a great deal jumping over financial hoops to keep everything afloat and moving. And the stress can be intense.
Occasionally, I ponder how vastly different my life would be if I lived in a condo or something. Recently, I visited friends who live in a new house in a new suburban neighborhood. All was in perfect condition. There were no bomb-ruined rooms, no gaping holes in floors, and no scary wiring. There was a finished kitchen! And bathrooms! Bathrooms with clean fluffy towels!
Wandering through this monument to sensibility I kept thinking: What the fuck is wrong with me?
The next day though I was back at the Cross House. As I pulled into the drive I, once again, could not help but marvel at the house. For, my house has not one tower, but two! My house has an imposing limestone foundation! My house has many columns with delicious hand-carved capitals! My house had 42 stained-glass windows! My house has high ceilings! My house has rooms of fabulously odd shapes! My house has not one fireplace mantel but eight! Eight!
And…and…my house is also a massive, occasionally panic-inducing financial freakout.
Luckily, I deeply believe that, in the end, beauty will vanquish the panic beast.
Happy New Year everybody!!!!!!!!