I am Detroit-born model, with a 1957 build date.

My family lived in Westland (suburban Detroit). When I was fifteen we moved to St. Petersburg, Florida.

In 1975, I graduated from St. Petersburg High School.

In the fall of 1978 (its scares me how long ago this seems), I moved to New York City to stake out a career as an architectural designer. 

After some spectacular misadventures, in 1985 I founded my own architectural design firm, and rode out the 1980s furiously creating custom-built apartments in one condominium tower after another. It was an exciting, creative, but ultimately exhausting time.

I left New York in 1991, and, after a real-estate development which imploded, I settled in Newport, RI, where I — somehow — became an environmental, urban planning, and transportation advocate known across the state.

The ramifications of the imploded real-estate development continued to haunt me, and by 1996 I finally lost everything. In April, I left Newport, with but a backpack, to wander America.

After various adventures including working on an organic farm, I rode a bicycle to Kansas where I settled into a quiet life surrounded by the largest remaining prairie in America, covering the gently rolling Flint Hills.

The years passed, I rebuilt my life, managed to get two books published, and worked to emotionally recover from the 1990s.

I also created a business restoring vintage lighting, and, through the wonder of the internet, my business, located in the middle of nowhere, reached a national audience. From the start the business thrived.

The success of the business forced a relocation to a structure large enough to house it, and my personal life, and in 2014 I purchased the historic Cross House in Emporia, KS, about fifteen miles east of where I have lived since 1996.

Me, through the ages:

1974. It’s true. I once had hair. Or, hair once had me.
1974. It’s true. I once had hair. Or, hair once had me.


1979. Just after moving to NYC.
1979. Just after moving to NYC.


Me. 2008. Really. This really is still me.
Me. 2008. Really. This really is still me.


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2015. I have been working out, eating WAY better, and taking a ton of vitamins. I am really pleased with the results. What do you think?


17 Responses to ABOUT

    • Although it seems tempting talking from an Amsterdam, Holland, perspective, historic listing also makes it harder while renovating or restoring back to original. Even putting in electrics might be prohibited…

      Great website Ross I am gonna follow. Thanks and have a great day.

      • Hello Holland!

        Thanks for the kind words, Marc.

        I cannot speak for Holland, but here in Kansas, I have never had any difficulty restoring the Cross House due to its being listed on the National Register.

  1. Hi Ross,
    I have stumbled across your blog a number of times and have admired your beautifully restored fixtures on ebay for years (not knowing, of course, that it was you). Thought I send you a message because I feel a kind of kinship with your life’s trajectory and interests. Perhaps I will meet you someday.

    I too am a transplanted Michigander (Philadelphia now by way of Westland, then Farmington Hills), erstwhile architect, house restorer, and lover of antique lighting. My house is an Italianate twin that was built in 1861. I have ended up restoring a number of gas or gas style kerosene lights for the house . . . I had originally used reproduction gasoliers but have replaced those first fixtures one by one with true antique fixtures I have managed to find. . .

    I see you haven’t posted about the house in awhile . . . any new projects recently?

    • Hi Gregory,

      Nice to meet you!

      Oh, I wanna see images of your 1861 home!

      Also, I am confused by this: “I see you haven’t posted about the house in awhile…”

      I post almost daily. What is the date of the last post you are seeing?


  2. Thanks so much for the bio! I often wondered how you ended up in the Flint Hills! Cross House is progressing so beautifully and you have seemed to thrive on the creativity and love of the restoration! Continued good luck and I love following your blog! I am also glad for the recent posts about lighting and restoring some very beautiful pieces. I was very worried about your vintage lighting business. Best wishes on your continued great success!

  3. Looking at your last photo and how you are eating better and all that…could you share the new diet please?

    I want to turn back the years and get new DNA to look fabulous again!

    I remember those 70’s – back then everyone had big or long hair – I thought it was cool when I was growing up – we were very lucky indeed.

    We grew up with Barbie, with The Monkees, The Beatles, The Carpenters, The Jackson Five, and when we were really little we had the Twist and the mashed potato. All those crazy dances and then we got Barry White and The Supremes, and we even catched the eighties and danced to Madonna’s Vogue and We Can Dance, and we had the crazy fashions, the hippies, the minis and midis, HAIR and Pinball Wizard – then I don’t know – for me one day I woke up and the music was different and I didn’t like it.

    Suddenly I didn’t like Beyoncé dressing like a demonic entity or Eminem cursing foul mouth, or all those songs about death and suicide and I said to myself: am I lucky someone invented youtube? Go there and go back to the music you like!!! So we always can go back to that place that made us happy – even in our worst days – when the day is going bad – just start to sing THE morning after – and after a while you’ll be singing – its raining men alleluyah!!!! lol!!! Let someone else sing Chandelier…am singing: You are so vain…lol!!!

  4. I enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles and usually do them in Magic Jigsaws on the computer. I did one today that was user-submitted and the style looks like it could be another Squires house. I don’t know where it’s located, but it looks like it’s been well-maintained. I’d love to send you a picture of it, if you wouldn’t mind sending me your email address. I promise not to sell it or bug you.

  5. Ross, I found your blog quite by accident last week after listening to an interview with you on youtube. This whole week I have spent many hours reading your posts and looking at your photos of your progress. It’s impressive and inspiring. Also, THANK YOU for putting them in chronological order! Yesterday I caught up to your current posts and immediately started reading about your lights, your town and “other cool stuff”.

    I feel a sudden and overwhelming new found appreciation for my own 1913 house designed by a local female architect, Joel Roberts Ninde. I found myself in the basement dusting my heater after I turned it on for the first time this season. Mind you, this was at 1 in the morning after sitting outside in my car not wanting to stop reading your blog. I wanted my heater to feel loved and appreciated after not having been noticed at all for the last 6 months. Throughout the years, of course there have been modifications to my home: new windows, “updated” bath and kitchen. ( I have a vintage tub and sink in the garage just waiting to be installed. I went without a kitchen sink for 3 years in search of the perfect one!) Yet, much of the inherent beauty remains- wood floors, wide woodwork, french doors.

    I want to say thank you for sharing your story. You lead by example and teach through your words and pictures. I applaud and admire your dedication to getting it right in your house. I also appreciate how you’re willing to take risks and follow your gut in your decorating. I also am in awe at your willingness to follow where your new ideas lead and learn new/old skills. It’s uplifting. You show so much respect to your house in your dedication to keep it neat and remove the blight. Honestly, I makes me almost ashamed that I have spent almost no time in home care for months.

    Also, while I was reading your blog this week, my friend was dying. She passed away this morning and I am in a pensive, heartbroken state. All I could think to do was to write to you to encourage you, bolster you, implore you to continue with your work on your house. It will long be a testament to you and the idea that anything can be achieved through hard work and dedication. You probably have NO idea how impactful you are to people. When you take your pictures and write your words, you’re making the world a better place, as you mention frequently in your posts. You really ARE making the world better. I am grateful for you.

    I would have preferred to send this as a letter to you, but found no email address.

    • Dear Christine,

      Thank you, thank you for saying hello. I am quite moved by your kind words; they mean a lot to me. It is both humbling and amazing to think that my small blog about an old house in the middle of Kansas can touch people across the globe.

      I also want to wrap you in my arms over the loss of your friend, and give you a looooong hug.

      Tonight, when I start to fall asleep, I will think of you, your friend, and will shower stardust on her new journey.

      Much love,


  6. Hi, Ross. Thank you for increasing my faith that in the future I will recover the house from my childhood here in Brazil. Since 1979 when I was still a boy, I never forgot that house. That house made me and I always think of it as “my home”. Anyway, your work, strength and tremendous joy in your voice are an incentive for me and for so many others. God bless you today and always.

    Hugs from Brazil. Mauro Chantal

  7. Here from JMG. I have been impressed with the house update posts on JMG over time, but this is my first visit to your blog. I am a native Midwesterner, grew up in Cincinnati OH, have lived in St.Louis MO for past 33 years, and enjoy seeing the architectural sights of city and small town Midwest America, the town halls and local worthys’ houses of rural county seats as well as the prestige public buildings of importance in larger cities. Congratulations on your work.

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