A 2015 Fall Update

Anybody walking by the Cross House last year could not help but notice a LOT happening.

Here is what the house looked like when I purchased it:


When I purchased the house, March 2014.

March 2014.



And more recently.


But this year it appears, appears, that nothing is happening.

At least from the exterior.

Inside though is another story.

In 2015 the living room went from this:



Inserting new steel I-beam.



Presto! It looks like we did nothing.



Eek. It looks like a bomb went off.



Ahhh, civility has returned.


In 1999 there was a (gulp) fire in the house. Water damage destroyed all the plaster in the library, and for the next fifteen years it was a gutted space longing to be whole again:



The library. When the house was converted into a motel, a door was inserted in the east wall (the door is in the center). However, to accomplish this, an angled structural member was sliced through. Eek! We closed the door up, and replaced the angled structural member. Whew! I put a new door over to the left.



Same wall.



Library. These walls were all that remained of the original plaster. The mantle is under cover to the right.



The library floor was too damaged to retain. I had a custom-milled floor laid down, to match all the other circa-1950s oak flooring. The room has now been painted, and miles of floor-to-ceiling shelving installed. And my huge library has been transported, book by book, by me. Not a task I ever wish to repeat! I have been delaying the library reveal until it is ALL done. So…soon, my little pretties, soon.



On the upper stair landing are three stained-glass windows, and in scandalously poor repair. These have been removed, and will be back in all their glory before the end of the year. I am breathless with anticipation.


Another major project was restoring the original finish to all the trim in the parlor and library. It looks really lovely.

In the spring I had the radiator system reworked and revamped and reconfigured, and this work is now 96% done. The bill was the size of the Titanic, and I have been paying this off in installments. So, until it is paid, no more hired help!

The plan was for me to then start painting the north facade of the Cross House, with the hope of finishing it by the end of the year. Then, the two main facades would be be painted and, wow, what a difference that would make. Wow. Wow!

But…this nobel effort was thwarted by a tenant wanting to rent the carriage house, so all my attention was suddenly diverted to this new project.

Sigh. BIG sigh. I have not emotionally recovered from this thwarting, and have a deep Y E A R N I N G to be painting the great north wall.


I have done numerous posts on the work going on with the carriage house, and each passing week sees more tasks accomplished. The work is slow because I cannot hire any help until the Titanic is paid, and much of my time is consumed by my business. But each week sees some progress on the carriage house. Baby steps, baby steps.

There have been a multitude of other small tasks accomplished so far in 2015, but the above are the highlights.

If all goes well, by the end of the year all the secondary roofs (towers and porches) will have been done, and the built-in gutters redone. This work will be paid via the grant the Cross House received. There should also be several more stained-glass windows restored.

In short, while it is not readily obvious to anybody walking by the Cross House, a lot has happened in 2015, and with more still by years end.

In December I look forward to the return of the 3-story Christmas tree of lights (bigger and better for 2015!), and above the tree will be the new roof on the pointy tower.




  1. amyheavilin on October 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Breathtaking as always, my friend!

  2. Paul Tyler on October 18, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Hey Ross. You are amazing!!!! Your doing a wonderful job at restoring a treasure. I enjoy reading about all the progress with the cross house. Thank you. What beauty!!

  3. Marjorie on October 18, 2015 at 9:03 pm

    So pleased that you checked in with an update. Inquiring minds were getting anxious.
    Can’ t wait to see the progress in the carriage house.

    • Ross on October 18, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      I would never wish for inquiring minds to be anxious!

  4. Mary Garner-Mitchell on October 19, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Dear Ross,

    I found your blog via a Circa Facebook post only yesterday and have read every single one of your posts about the Cross House.

    I am utterly enchanted, not only with the house and by the progress you’ve made on the property, but your writing style and the generous spirit you so effectively convey to your loyal followers. I even read every comment. There is definitely a communal atmosphere among the group. Thank you so much for all you are doing, and for sharing with other restoration enthusiasts like me.

    By posting here I understand I’ll get an email when you have “news” — I don’t want to miss a single post!

    I’ve always loved old homes having grown up amidst the restoration of my parents 1857 farmhouse in Georgia. My husband and I bought a 1908 Victoran in Richmond’s Fan District which was already pretty much restored. We were there nine years before we found my dream house — a circa 1781 house on 7 acres that has numerous additions, “abnormalities” and abominations! Twenty-two years later, I’m still in love with this place though I know I will never have the funds nor stamina to see it “done.”

    Sad thing is, my husband is a bit older than I (I was born in 1957, too), and he is weary of the place. Alas, we may be selling in the next year at which point I will be crying my eyes out. All the more important that I can live vicariously through good souls like yourself with apparent endless vision and energy!!

    • Ross on October 19, 2015 at 4:59 pm


      Nice to meet you — another 1957 model! And thank you for the lovey comment, and kind words!

      Your dream house does sound like a dream! A felt a stab of heartache when you mentioned that you might sell a bit down the road. However, let your husband know that I appreciate weary.

      Oh, and just leaving a comment does not mean you will automatically receive new posts. You have to click on the Notify box just below the Leave Comment box.

  5. Mary Garner-Mitchell on October 19, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    The pleasure is mine!

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