A Forest Grows at the Cross House


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Today, I arrived at the Cross House at 1:30PM, and the Great North Wall looked like this. Note the scaffolding way over to the right. Note the new paint colors upper right.



And a few hours later, Rube Goldberg-esque additional scaffolding appeared on the scene.



Justin and I did all this together, telling jokes the whole time and just having a good time. Then young Brian wandered by…foolishly…for I immediately put him to work, too. It was a fine day and a grand time was had by all. This forest of timbers will allow me to reach all the way to the tippy-top of the highest gable end. For two years I have pondered How The Hell Am I Going To Get Up There, and today I have an answer.



The up-close detail is all just scrumptious! Amazing!



The all-seeing “eye” of the main gable. This scares Justin.



It seems impossible, but the roof of the north porch retains is original cedar shingles! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE? It helps that the roof has never seen direct sun, which just bakes wood to death. This is why the main roof was redone in the 1920s, less than forty years after the house was built. I am so amazed that the 1894 roofing remains on the north porch that I am going to try and save it. Wish me luck!





  1. [email protected] on April 11, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    It’s really looking marvelous. The way the stone work vanishes with the pale paint shows just how critical colors are – the original colorist (and you) really got it spot on with the olive paint.

    Can I ask what you’re using to strip the exterior paint (I know you don’t use heat guns)? Liquid stripper or just scraping? Do you sand after you scrape? I have yet to find a technique I’m satisfied with here on the homefront.

    • Ross on April 11, 2016 at 10:36 pm

      The previous owner removed almost all the old paint from the exterior. This had a lot to do with my decision to buy the house, as I so did not want to deal with 122-years of lead-based paint.

      I use (gently!) a grinder (is that what they are called?) to quickly go over everything, and then also sandpapering by hand.

      I am a nut for a smooth finish. Did you see this post?

      The paint on the house is only about ten-years-old.

      On the huge curved cornices are some old paint globs stuck on the stamped tin swirls, and I chip these off.

      All the while I am encased in a Tyvek disposable suit, a good respirator, and goggles.

  2. Mikie on April 12, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    You are very fortunate to have found someone who knows how to repair your gutters. We have integrated gutters built into the wooden soffit on the front porch of our 1894 Queen Anne, and over the past 15 years I have paid 3 different contractors to fix them, and they STILL leak. Hopefully you have much better luck! I really like the colors of your house; our house was covered in vinyl by a previous owner; the wood siding underneath is in very poor condition, plus at the time that the vinyl was installed, they eliminated several windows on the rear of the house. It would cost a fortune to repair the wood, not in our budget. We are hoping to be able to at least replace the pale gray vinyl with a more appropriate color soon, so at least we will look authentic from a distance…

  3. Tara on April 12, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I’m not sure how it happens but I fall more in love with your old house with each post. I am smitten with all of it’s beautiful details. You are a lucky man, Ross!

    • Ross on April 12, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Tara, the house has the same effect on me!

  4. Seth Hoffman on October 21, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Wow, fancy-butt roof shingles!

    • Ross on October 21, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      I know! And I am pretty sure they are original. So, all the roofing would have looked the same.

      Pretty cool!

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