The Cross House

A Rocky Before. A Rocky After.

BEFORE. Bob, the previous owner of the Cross House, added stone between two single plinths to create an enclosure for a gas cooker. But the alteration was never finished. And I have no need of a gas cooker on the front porch.


DURING. I did what I could to remove the non-original stone. However, I proved no match for the HARD mortar. The solution? Time to call in…


…Wonder Justin to the rescue! Wonder Justin decided NOT to use a jackhammer because it’s 75 pounds. That is kinda OK when you are jackhammering, say, a concrete sidewalk and all the weight is pointing down. But to remove the stone, about half the effort would be holding the 75 pound jackhammer sideways. Exhausting! Instead, Wonder Justin used a small hammer drill with a mortar bit.


AFTER. Not quite done but it is a THRILL having the twin 1894 single stone plinths revealed again!!!!!!!! (Note: The window is not actually centered between the two plinths, as speculated. Curious.)



8 Responses to A Rocky Before. A Rocky After.

  1. Wow oh wow!
    Justin never ceases to amaze me!!!
    But the backbreaking work of today!!!
    Hope he is soaking in a mineral bath or getting a massage haha

  2. Are the stones being freed for other uses, or is the hard portland-cement mortar taking them along in its destruction?

  3. Like Seth I was also wondering if the stones could be reused somewhere else. Say, to provide a footing where that 6×6 post is all that holds up the porte-cochere, because the original post had a square wood base is now only a template. A stone plinth would keep the 1864 look and resist the weather better. Even if it wasn’t what Mr. Squires actually ended up building.

  4. To me it looks like the very top stones on the plinths are different, like maybe the one on the left was replaced and the plinth on the right looks a little higher.

  5. So Bob was going to put in a gas grill on the porch? Seems like he could have hidden the gas line in a less dramatic way, but of course I could be wrong. I guess I’m confused because it seems like an odd place for a grill. Unless I misunderstand what you mean by cooker.

  6. After puzzling over this and the preceding posts for a bit I realized that there is a key change from the elevation drawing to the house as built, and it has to do with the porch railing. In the front of the house next to the front steps, the small sections of curved railing are attached to the faces of the plinths; on the larger sweep of the porch the railing is attached to the corners…this is not what is shown in the elevation in the previous post. In the drawing the large curved section of railing meets the face of the missing double plinth, matching the other detail on the front of the house. The elevation of the front of the house shows the same detail. So at some point it may have been decided that having the railings on the large sweep meet the corners of the plinths was more visually pleasing and perhaps a little more graceful. That may have been an easy change to make on the front of the house (which the builder may have started with). But on the side it presents a potential problem. Where before you could have a double plinth with two columns sticking slightly into the porch so that the railing can meet the face, if the railing is to meet the corner, you have to shift it outward– which blocks the window! So the simple solution is to eliminate a column. You still need another single column at the corner of course, and so we see the result.

    One other thing: The more I look at the stone wall behind the stair and below the window, the more it looks to me like you can see the outline of the original stairs. The one stone in particular- it is square but it has this strange notch in it, as if it was chipped away to accommodate a stair tread. It almost lines up with the middle step on your temporary staircase… I wonder if the addition of one more stone plinth would have left the stair too narrow, and so another decision was made to deviate from the original design by eliminating the plinth and the basement window, and just have the stair hug the wall.

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