The Cross House
Every winter I hibernate and, so, plan X number of inside projects. At the end of November I even did a post about my Winter Plans.
But winter, as least in Kansas this year, did not really happen and I spent more time outside than in. Of my Winter Plans, only 1.5 items got done. I did straighten one crooked door frame on the upper stair landing, and the huge kitchen window did get re-installed.
While my plans basically went to hell, other things did move forward. In particular, plans to complete the decor of the parlor and library.
A huge concern was something which I never would have thought about when I purchased the house. In getting to know the Cross House these past three years, and learning a great deal more about houses of the period, my “eye” changed, and I now understand that for the rooms of the house to look, well, right, they need a wall pattern, a frieze pattern, and a ceiling pattern. This is what the house had in 1894, and this three-part look was common to the era.
I do not feel restricted to using period-correct patterns. Rather, I think any pattern will do, be it 1894 or 1974. The point is just that the three-part effect be recreated.
At the end of November I still had little idea of how to decorate the parlor.
Today, this has all been settled.
In February I did an update post on the decoration plans, and things have been moving ahead since:
- The floors in the parlor and library have been sanded, stained, and varnished.
- The stencils for the walls and frieze are on site. As are the stencil brushes and stencil powdered paints.
- The paint for the walls is on site.
- The round center table has been ordered.
- The curtains have been hemmed and pillows made for the curved sofa.
- The picture rail is on site.
- One period-correct chair on little wheels is on site!
During all this I found it difficult to find a stencil for the ceiling. A priority was something that could be applied without any measuring. The idea of standing on a ladder and carefully measuring a million times to apply some geometrically precise stencil was SO not something I intended to do. So, the stencil had to be something which could be applied randomly and still look good.
Medallions seemed the answer. I could cluster some together, some could stand alone, and no measurements were required.
The walls will be flat chartreuse, with a stencil applied with three metallic powders. The frieze and ceiling will be flat white. The frieze will have a stencil pattern applied with three metallic powders. And the ceiling will have the above medallions applied with three metallic powders.
However, before I stencil the flat white ceiling, I am going to do something which I think will be stunning. On top of the flat white I will apply a gloss pearl color with a tool sorta kinda somewhat like this:
On top of the shimmer will be the medallion stencils.
After the room is painted and stenciled, i will apply the picture rail, which will be done in a burnished gold. Then curtains can be hung! And pictures!
The library is also ready to go:
- Curtains hemmed (thanks, Krystal!), and hung!
- Crazy 1970s wallpaper on site.
- Frieze stencil on site.
- I will be using the same ceiling medallions from the parlor in the library. They will either prove too much of a disconnect with the 1970s paper, or they will prove a brilliant solution.
- Five 1970s Hollywood-Regency pendants hanging from ceiling.
I have to finish installing the base under the shelves, and trim out the doors.
In the center of the room will be a large shelving island. This will be — are you sitting down? — a deep orange. The top will be, when I can afford it, Calacatta marble. The five pendant lights will hang low over it.
It is now April. And April is the month I resume painting the exterior.
I can spend the next few months getting the parlor and library done.
Or I can finish painting the Great North Wall.
I want to do both.
I am going to focus on the parlor and library for the rest of April.
Then, resume painting the Great North Wall on May 1.
But…but…I will then also spend at least a half-hour a day doing something in the parlor and library. This means that every week there will be progress, albeit with a turtle-like momentum.
But slow progress is better than no progress, right?