For the last six weeks I have been wandering from room to room doing small things.
All these small thing appear to have a common theme: Putting the Cross House back together.
And this feel really good.
Nothing I have done is visually dramatic. There are no stunning Before/After images. But the house, I dunno, feels better. It feels less pulled apart. It also functions better.
The metal sill of the huge dining room window had been brutalized. Oh, the horror.
I cut out the damaged metal sill, and had a new computer-crimped sill made. (Computer-crimping: Mmmmmmmmm.)
Today, I finished painting the new sill section. You can barely see that a new section has been added. I am ridiculously proud of this. Squee!!!!!!!!
I found and reinstalled all the trim in the original second-floor bathroom, and…
…ditto in the powder room, and…
…in the kitchen. Oh, and the missing corner block was found!
The main vestibule had numerous holes in the walls and ceiling. This created significant issues as wind freely blows through the outer doors, and then through the open wall cavities. (See the black waste pipe? That was added in 1929 and is for the two bathrooms above, added by Scout Mouse.)
Holes be gone! Squee!!!!!!!!
The vestibule ceiling had more holes.
Holes be gone! Squee!!!!!!!!
I have also been scraping old wallpaper off walls, and installing plaster anchors. I greatly look forward to the after image of this poor wall! (The cracks were all caused by stupid original engineering. This wall, and its mate on the other side of the niche, have no support under. Just floor joists. So, of course, the walls sagged. As they will continue to do. I will be adding support under so the cracks, once repaired, will not return.)
I, at long last, got a ceiling installed in the stairhall niche. No more exposed ceiling joists!
The flooring where the pantry met the kitchen was totally destroyed by termites.
But not anymore. Squee!!!!!!!!
The Aladdin’s Cave in the basement was filled with shelving.
But not anymore. Squee!!!!!!!! (The shelves were filled with original house bits. But, since buying the house, I have been reinstating all these bits. The shelving, thus, was no longer needed.)
I tore out the termite-ravaged flooring in the servant’s hall just after buying the house. So, the room was open to the basement. But not anymore! Squee!!!!!!!!
The door frame to the round bedroom had been brutalized where the strike-plate was. The plate was long gone and the wood behind it was also mostly gone. For two years, I searched for the correct strike-plate but grew weary of being unable to actually close the door and have it stay closed. Thus, my temporary solution. (PLEASE don’t tell anybody I installed such a generic, period-INCORRECT strike plate.)
I also did a temporary solution to the sewing room. (Again, our secret!) It is a thrill to be able to close the door AND HAVE IT STAY DAMN CLOSED!
I had built a huge worktable in the hexagon bedroom. But I had not used it much for two years now. The room was also cluttered with…stuff.
So, I got rid of the table and all the stuff. And see the bits-o-trim leaning against the walls? I reinstalled these.
The counter in the pantry was covered with several layers of contact paper.
But not anymore. Squee!!!!!!!! I then began to wonder: WHAT is under all the white paint on the cabinet?
My question, answered. (As attractive as this is, I am increasingly certain that the pantry was never exposed wood but rather was painted a nutmeg color. I am going to have this analysized and will recreate the original finish.)
A lost section of pantry counter found its way back to the house (left).
A lost door found its way back to the house, too. Squee!!!!!!!! And the adjacent door, which never closed tight, does now.
It is really easy when doing over a big ol’ house to end up with stuff everywhere, with every room filled with lumber and tools and house bits and stuff stuff stuff.
However, I learned long ago that this can be soul destroying. It is not only bad for the owner but is also bad for anybody working on the house. Thus, about twice a year, I go on a scour rampage. I scour the house of stuff stuff stuff and also clean everything, like the floors and mantel tops and window sills.
Today, the Cross House is more organized and stuff-free than it has ever been since I purchased the house almost four years ago. Almost all the rooms are now wholly empty of stuff stuff stuff and I relish walking around the house enjoying its Zen-like emptiness.
Also, I long ago discovered that getting people to work on an old house is HUGELY easier when they are not confronted with stuff stuff stuff everywhere.
In summation, although the south facade of the Cross House is still an utter wreck (the big 2018 project), and most of the rooms still look like bombs have gone off in them, the house feels a lot better than it did six weeks ago.