The Cross House

A Petite Reveal

The Cross House parlor. November 2014. The second floor and roof were crushing the bay window. I had a steel beam inserted to correct this issue.


The parlor today. Wow. WOW! The paper covering the floor these past few months was removed, and the rug laid down.


November, 2014. You can see the bottom of the new steel I-beam. Note the trim, darkened from decades of old shellac.


Today. The trim, restored to its original finish.


The ceiling, November, 2014. Note also the absence of picture rail, removed in, I believe, 1950. 


The ceiling, today. Picture rail reinstated.


I posted this image yesterday. Today, I had to put back in place the missing radiator in the right corner.


But how? I “stepped” the INCREDIBLY heavy radiator from one piece of plexiglass onto another. Bit by bit by bit all the way from the foyer to the SW corner of the parlor. In the process…


…I abused my right arm. Ouch. Ouch.


Somewhere, in the back of mind, a thought was lazily floating about as I wrestled with the radiator: WHY are you doing this? You are SIXTY! SIXTY!  STOP THE MADNESS!

But…what was pain, what was sweat-soaked agony, when this…


…was my reward? Radiator back in place. Paper off floor. Rug laid down. Base molding installed to right of radiator. And…one silk drapery hung!!!!!!!! (Click image to enlarge.)


A lot of readers loved the striped floor. A lot did not! But, as expected…


…the stripes become just accents as the room gets more and more completed.


With the floor revealed, the rug down, and one drapery installed, the parlor looks more elegant than it did yesterday. The kinda over-the-top decorative paint finishes suddenly look a bit more…serious today. This shift will accelerate once all the furnishings and pictures are in place, a subtle transformation fascinating to observe.

At 5PM, my sweat-soaked body collapsed into a chair. And I just stared and stared and stared at the wonder before me. My mind recalled the utter ruin of the room in 2014, and the extraordinary project of installing the steel beam. Then the work removing all the old wallpaper. The work refinishing seeming miles of trim. The work installing a new ceiling. The work getting the floor refinished. And the work work work getting the room painted. And painted. And more painted.

My mind recalled all this…yet the room in front of my eyes was…the most beautiful room I had ever seen. My eyes teared up. And I continued just sitting and staring.

Finally, at 6:30, I forced myself out of the chair and into the car. I really did not want to leave.

I could have stared all night.

NOTE: This post is a petite reveal. The BIG reveal will be posted when all the furnishings are in place. This may be in another week or so.


23 Responses to A Petite Reveal

  1. Wow! We should all just learn to trust you. This room just gets better and better with each step. Where on earth did you find that MOST PERFECT RUG IN THE WORLD for that room? I don’t remember a post about it, was there one? With the beauty of this one room, the whole house will truly be awesome to behold. Thank you dear Ross for sharing. (And I had been thinking zebra, but now I see leopard would totally be the way to go.)

  2. This is really amazing! It’s gone from really scary in 2014 to TRULY beautiful today. There is no other word for it. All along the way, when I had doubts about a certain choice, I would just tell myself that Ross is a designer and I’m sure he knows what he’s doing and you were right all along!

    It’s absolutely beautiful. Oh, and I love that rug too!

  3. I knew you would make it perfect. You had the vision, you could see it, you brought us along, and here we are! It’s beautiful Ross. Exquisitely beautiful.

  4. Its great ! ! Questions please. Which came first the rug or stencil colors? The rug puts it up about 10 points. Also steel support was rested on wood supports of maybe 2 x 4″ which barely jugs out at window casing. I noticed a slight bumpout before and the finish product is perfection. Good call. I am eager for the completed room.

  5. Ross your vision is realized. The parlor is beyond beautiful–perfect!!! Please don’t try to move heavy objects on your own. The risk of injury and disability is very real. I know you wanted it accomplished but the risk is too great. Ask one of your helpers. Protect yourself– Cross House needs you healthy & needs your continued vision!!

  6. What a gorgeous turnout! I feel your pain about lugging that radiator around the room. I found a beautiful ornate radiator someone was throwing out down the street from me, and I carried, yes, carried it, almost all the way home. I consulted the help of my brother once I got in front of my neighbour’s house….and now we have a radiator sitting in the foyer.

  7. Hey Ross. I was just reading the comments from your previous post and saw that you were still looking for wall sconces. Just out of curiosity, I went to ebay right now and searched under “1890’s gas/electric wall sconces.” The first item listed was entitled “Pair Victorian Gas & Electric Combo Sconces, Pressed Glass Shades.” They are made by Weber and the glass shades look similar but not identical to yours. I would send you the link but I’m a computer illiterate and don’t know how to, but hopefully you could find it if you’re interested.

    • Hi Kerri!

      I receive emails daily from eBay regarding gas/electric fixtures, because I have a “search” request.

      What I need are sconces:
      1) From the early 1890s.
      2) Which are gas/electric.
      3) Which swivel.
      4) And which match or complement the gas/electric chandelier.

      The sconces you mention are from, I believe, the early 1900s, and they do not swivel.

      It is not hard finding gas/electric sconces. It IS hard finding them from the early 1890s, and INCREDIBLY hard finding them with swivel joints.

  8. Looks great, Ross! I agree, that as the furnishings are brought it, it is looking more and more harmonious. I can see you’ve selected every piece with the whole in mind, which really shows your skill.

  9. Bravo! Can’t wait to see the grand reveal! The rug is perfect for the room regarding colours and patterns! incredible match!

    Will you strip and refinish the radiator? why haven’t you painted the wall behind it? or is it part of a next small project to finish the room?

  10. I am so glad that you included these before pictures showing the exposed ceiling and walls. Your renovation is awesome!

    It is surely a happy house!

  11. I’m starting to like the room more & more. Love the rug and it does go well with the walls. The fireplace is gorgeous!

  12. One gift that Charles Squires gave you and the Cross family is those windows. One of the best parts of that room is all that glorious light. I don’t have windows like that in my house, and I covet them.

    The only thing more fun than reading your posts about the incremental progress is watching it all come together, bit by bit, and seeing how the bits become a whole. That is one amazing room. I can imagine living with that room, and I would never want to leave, either. What a beautiful gift you are giving yourself (through a TON of hard work!).

  13. Being able to see “the big picture” in the midst of chaos is a valuable talent; being able to surprise yourself with the results is a great gift.

    I am curious to know what your plans are for final finish of the radiators; I am painting ours with metallic paint (dark gold, copper, etc.) depending on the color of the room they are in. It’s amazing how the metallic paint makes the details stand out. All of ours were originally a bronze/copper color, so I am not disturbing the “historic narrative”, LOL. My only complaint on ours are that they were a circa-1910 retrofit, and the pipes are ran outside of the first-floor walls (still inside of the house) to the upstairs.

  14. I really love it all too. Thank you Ross for sharing everything with us.
    maybe next time tho you could get a guy to help w a radiator etc.

  15. I have doubted your colour choices throughout; gasped at the choice of stencils and the ceiling effects. Today, your vision slapped me round the face and made me take it all back. It is certainly not what I would do in my own home, but this is beautiful. Kudos to you for your vision and talent.

  16. Did you get my reply about tripod casters and radiators? I guess I was a few week too late. I would put a path of masonite strips down on finished floors first.

    • Yes, I read your previous reply. Thank you.

      I found a solution: two panels of plexiglass. I can just slide a radiator from one panel to the other.

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