The Cross House

A Continuing Niche. And a Question Answered.

Today, I finished the ceiling, and infilled the walls. And mowed the lawn!!!!!!!!


A big question I have pondered for some time was: Did the niche have a picture rail?

It seemed unlikely. For, there is zero place for a picture in the niche. It’s all windows and doors and a giant arched opening.

Still, I had to be sure. So…


…I looked closely. And there, about 22-inches below the ceiling, was the tell-tale dark horizontal line on the plaster, EXACTLY where it would be expected. See, about half-way up?


Ah yes, the tell-tale dark horizontal line.

This line is common to Victorian-era houses.

For, walls were normally papered. Above this was normally a paper frieze. And between the two was normally a space about 1/2-inches high, which was then covered by a picture rail. Over time, the plaster not covered by paper would darken and, hence, the tell-tale line.

As further proof…


..are the tell-tale nail holes where the picture rail was mounted. The five holes to the left amuse me, for 124-years ago somebody had trouble finding something solid to attach a nail to. I know the frustration.


So, the evidence shows: the niche DID have a picture rail. Most curious. And I will, of course, be re-installing a picture rail in the niche. Perhaps I will, I dunno, hang three Christmas wreaths from it each holiday season, to dangle in front of the triple stained-glass windows.

For, I do adore a picture rail with purpose.



7 Responses to A Continuing Niche. And a Question Answered.

  1. That makes sense, because, as you say, it was just as much to provide a transition between wallpaper as to hang picture. Of course, that transition can also be made with a decorative wallpaper band, but if the niche was papered the same as the foyer and stair hall with rail, it would have been odd to change it in that one space.

  2. Hi Ross, I’m from Brazil and I love coming here every day to check if there’s a new post. I’m loving seeing the progress of the niche.

  3. I know you and others most like will not agree, but I want to chime in early. Please don’t wallpaper such a small place with the great details you keep bring out. A pearlescent paint in a creamy color or one of the window colors would make the wood, the windows and the shapes just make their own statement… The picture rail would shine against the glow of the wood. Whatever lighting goes in will not have competition from the business, and just bring out all the pretty. Please consider it. Thanks letting me speak up.

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