An Overwhelm Update…Briefly.

Recently, somebody told me they thought I was getting really overwhelmed with the enormity of restoring the Cross House, and that I was being battered by too many discoveries about structural issues.

I was struck dumb by this. For, it is not accurate.

Later, I thought: If one person thinks this, perhaps others do?

Then I grew a little worried: Is this an impression I am leaving in my blog posts?



About four months into the project, in May and June of 2014, I did feel overwhelmed. Not panicked, but overwhelmed. There was SO much going on and SO much to do and SO many discoveries (good and bad) that my nervous system was frayed.

The house was new to me and our unfamiliarity left me feeling adrift.

But this passed.

Today, two years into the project, the Cross House feels deeply familiar. I feel deeply grounded in the work.

It helps enormously that I have had a long career in architecture and design, and spent many years in NYC creating lavish multimillion-dollar custom apartments in the city. Compared to that work, the Cross House seems a piece of cake.

I am also the son of a carpenter and have grown up around construction.

The structural issues with the house have proved only mildly alarming, for I expect structural issues in an old house. I am also fascinated by such issues, and enjoy the mind work of how to fix them. It is like 3-dimensional chess to me.

Yes, money is a source of endless concern, and this will, sigh, always be so.

Doing such a huge long-term project is not easy, emotionally, financially, or intellectually, and there will always be times of stress. But stress is quite a different feeling than being overwhelmed. And my business causes me far more stress than the Cross House ever has.

Save those brief few months in 2014, my primary emotional response to the Cross House project is…joy. The project THRILLS and ENERGIZES and DELIGHTS me.

Put another way, no marriage is easy. But a good marriage offers powerful compensation.





  1. Vicki F. on March 4, 2016 at 11:59 pm

    Put that worry away, Ross. I, for one, have never gotten the impression that you were overwhelmed by the Cross House. I’ve actually always been amazed at how underwhelmed (is that a word?) you seem. When I study the pictures you post, I know definitely that it would totally overwhelm me, for everywhere you look you see so much that needs attention. But I’m the sort that wants everything done right away (impossible, I know) whereas, you seem to have dug in your heels and settled in for the long haul; and seem perfectly content to do so. And I’m guessing that this is exactly what it will require to succeed at this endeavor!

  2. Arlene Suzanne on March 5, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Everyone has an opinion, keep the good ones and let the others keep going.

    The Best part of my reading online is about what you’re doing next.

    Keep those posts coming!! Everybody loves them ~

  3. Grammar pedant on October 25, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I love your blog, but just so you know: enormity means something terrible, not something large!

    • Ross on October 25, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      Actually, it means both!

      Enormity: the great or extreme scale, seriousness, or extent of something perceived as bad or morally wrong.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.