A Continuing Niche. An End In Sight!

BEFORE. Soooooooo dark. Soooooooo depressing.


Inching along…


…and more inching. The door done! Whoee!!!!!!!!


For years, when I would stand before the niche and think about restoring the finish on all the oak, I would feel queasy at the thought of how much work this would entail. But, I finally just jumped in with the thought that a little bit every other day would be survivable.

And now?

I am almost done!!!!!!!!

I only have the left, lower corner to do!

Next on the niche list is refinishing the radiator. Originally it had a two-tone finish: A dark gold with brighter gold highlighting the decorative details.

Next is finishing the ceiling, and then repairing all the damaged plaster. Then primer! Then paint!

And then?

And then?

And then?

I get to hang the mysterious Bo Wonder Light!



  1. Pamela on April 19, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Glorious. You have worked so hard to bring beauty back. Thank you Ross.

  2. Carlyn on April 19, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    I’m really looking forward to seeing it finished. I love watching your progress. I’ve read every blog post and check every day to see if there’s something new. So, no pressure. 😉

  3. Dan Goodall-Williams on April 19, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Love, love, love. So looking forward to the end results. Just love seeing your progress. You must feel so good knowing you are saving history. I sincerely thank you for all your work!

  4. Jenine on April 19, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    I can’t really tell from the last picture, but are you missing a little strip of lincrusta in that right side corner? I can’t remember for sure (CRS has set in) but I thought there was some on the other side.

    • Ross on April 19, 2018 at 4:09 pm

      Golly! I do not know!

      But I will tomorrow!

      • Jenine on April 19, 2018 at 4:16 pm

        Oh darn – I went back to your post showing the right side and it does look like you’re missing a piece. That is actually small enough that it could be copied without (serious) trouble or expense though. Making a latex mold might work?

  5. Annette on April 19, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Oh wow, you are getting really close. How exciting, I’m loving this niche.

  6. Sandra Lee on April 19, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    The Bo light you plan to add? Have we seen this before? Yes it appears a missing strip of Lincrusta— albeit very, very narrow & minuscule strip. Wow! The wood is gorgeous!

    • Sandra Lee on April 19, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      I was rereading the niche posts & on April 9th you talked about the piece of Lincrusta on the right side— thin strip. The left side seems even smaller— couple inches??

      The Bo light? The wonder light— have you ever posted it— or are we to wait in anxious & expectant anticipation???

  7. Christine on April 19, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    How do you eat an elephant?

    One bite at a time!!

    Ross, this post has taught me that even seemingly insurmountable tasks can and ought to be undertaken. Despite the scope, tediousness and difficulty of the work, you have never the less persevered and you have vanquished the dark and revealed the light. Your dedication and determination have erased the years of abuse and neglect to discover the hidden treasure.

    It’s actually a very good analogy for ANY overwhelming task. Bit by bit, day by day, there is progress and then suddenly the finish line is in sight! In your house, I’m sure there are SO many projects! Yet, yet piece by piece, room by room, window by window, column by column, wall by wall, you are putting things to right. You are making an impact. YOU are the difference.

    Thank you for the life lesson.

    • Christine on April 19, 2018 at 8:57 pm

      P.S. What color??? A deep rich pinky cranberry like the pink in the windows??

      • Christine on April 19, 2018 at 8:58 pm

        Also, is the transom frosted?

  8. Curmudgeon in Canada on April 19, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    The transformation from the dark to the original colour of wood is amazing. I hesitate to guess at the hours of elbow grease to get this far, but the labour is well worth it. Looking forward to the “and then” reports. The niche will be a focal point for sure.

  9. Jakob on April 20, 2018 at 2:04 am

    I love the niche and I’m living for the telephone closet. Working in an open office, in a business where a bit if discretion is required, I can’t tell you how jealous I am (I’m a Realtor, and not about to talk offer strategy with buyers when my co-workers might have buyers for the same listing or have the listing themselves). But I had a thought: Did the Cross family have a private line? They were rich, but was ANYONE private-line rich back then save for Rockerfellers and the like? I assume so, because what good is a private telephone closet if half the block can listen in?

    You’ve inspired me to take on my shellac finish on my stairs, though it will be last on the restoration list as its such a high-traffic area. One question: Can you sort of spread the finish onto areas where it’s worn off, or into nicks and scratches? I have no idea how I could even begin to match it. I also cracked the baseboard thing on on the wall side of the steps lugging a 52-gallon water heater down by myself, and don’t know what to use to fill the gap that could take shellac.

  10. Jeni on April 20, 2018 at 10:43 am

    This looks amazing!

    Inspired by you, we’ve started shellac removal on our front door. It turns out we also have that same rich oak finish!

    One question, do you recommend taking the door down and doing the work while it lays flat, or do you just keep in in place while you work?

    • Ross on April 20, 2018 at 11:08 am

      I do all my doors while they are hanging.

      It is harder (bending) but seems to result in a better finish.

  11. Mike on April 20, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    My radiators and I are waiting patiently to see how your radiator turns out, so lots of details and pictures will be appreciated…

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