A Continuing Niche PLAN

I have been writing abut the niche in the stairhall.

As previously noted, the niche is small but, per square inch, packs more architectural wallop than any other space in the house.

In but an area about 3-feet deep by 6-feet wide, there are two columns, an arch, two doors, and three arched stained-glass windows. Golly.

And all the oak trim is rich with detail.

However, this architectural treasure trove has gone unrecognized for many many decades. The niche does not appear to ever have had any lighting. The daylight from the north-facing windows means that during the daytime one sees the stained-glass but everything else is in shadow. And at night the whole niche just vanishes. Add to this the shellac on all the oak. Over time shellac darkens and so all the oak has been, for much of its existence, a very dark brown. And this SO does not refract light.

I owned the house for some time before I dragged a work light over to the niche and, to my amazement, realized what a knock-out it was. I had no idea.


The first floor of the Cross House. The arrow points to the niche, showing just how small a space it is. 


To the left is the curved original telephone closet. This will be restored to use as a telephone closet. The three arched windows are in the middle. The north entrance is to the right. The north porch is at top.


When the niche is fully restored and Bo’s wonder light is hanging, it will be as if a brand new space was added to the house. Of course, the space was always there…just never noticed.

It is exciting to think that this hidden jewel will soon be the recipient of…much praise.



  1. Sandra Lee on April 13, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    This beautiful area is an absolute masterpiece!

  2. Jason Long on April 13, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    I’m so glad that you’re taking the time to restore the house to its (nearly) original glory rather than slather it with wallboard and off-white paint. I’m getting a tremendous amount of satisfaction watching you proceed with your meticulous work (and my back is grateful that I’m not trying to do it in your place!). Keep it up, please.

  3. Dawn Rocco on April 13, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Is there a window in the telephone closet? I don’t read blue prints but it kind of looks like it. That would be amazing. I can’t wait to see the niche complete, it’s such a lovely space. Nice work! Not to change the topic but are you getting ready to march?

    • Ross on April 13, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      Hi, Dawn!

      Yes, there is a round window in the telephone closet. You can see it here.

      And, which march?

      • Celeste on April 13, 2018 at 6:48 pm

        Here’s the link to the restoration of the telephone closet window.

        • Ross on April 13, 2018 at 6:53 pm

          And thank you, Celeste!

          • Dawn Rocco on April 14, 2018 at 12:01 am

            Thank you Celeste and you too Ross, What a difference on the window and the wood, it’s so wonderful I can feel it down to my toes. Regarding the march would you like a link.

  4. Stewart Mclean on April 13, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Is there a way to light the niche and telephone closet windows from the North porch outside? It would be great to be able to show the windows off with light streaming in at night.

    • Ross on April 13, 2018 at 7:02 pm

      Hi, Stewart!

      Something which I have already started is making sure that, at night, the public gets to see the glory of the stained-glass. This is made possible by lighting rooms up.

      As things progress, more and more rooms are lighted at night making the house utterly magical to anybody driving or walking by.

      In time, all the stained-glass windows will be lighted from inside at night, making the exterior a huge Fabergé egg.

      So, at night, the niche stained-glass will go “underground” from inside the house, but all that glorious oak trim will dazzle!

  5. Rick on April 13, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks for showing the floor plan again, it reminds me of the layout relative to where you are working. What are your thoughts on how they would of used that north entry?

    • Ross on April 13, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      Hi, Rick!

      The public entrance was the west entry.

      The family used the south entrance.

      The servant’s used the east entry.

      I have no idea why there is a north entry. A mystery!

  6. Kim on April 13, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Ooh – the lovely shell window! That’s going to be the most exotic phone room evah! 😍

  7. Dawn Rocco on April 14, 2018 at 12:12 am

    Here is a link regarding the march I mentioned http://www.trumpisnotabovethelaw.org I wonder would he really be that stupid?

    • Ross on April 14, 2018 at 9:08 am

      Yes, Dawn, he really can be that stupid.


      • Dawn Rocco on April 14, 2018 at 11:48 am

        Bit by bit the facts in the dossier are being proven. Yes, he is that stupid!

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