The Cross House was built in 1894. It is located at 526 Union Street, in Emporia, Kansas. I purchased the house in March 2014.

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My blog posts about the restoration are below.

 

The Cross House, Emporia, designed by architect Charles M. Squires.

The Cross House, Emporia, designed by architect Charles W. Squires.

Currently displaying blog entries in Chronological Order. Switch to Most Recent.

Currently displaying blog entries in Most Recent Order. Switch to Chronological Order.

The Search…Is Over!

A while ago, several readers wrote in asking if a SEARCH box could be added. Oh. I thought this already existed. But I belatedly realized that while I could search this blog thingy, you could not. Oops. Sorry! I contacted my web master, Tracy, from IM Design and asked for her help. Help! Tracy started…

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I’ve Added a Sun Porch!

  OK. I am obviously not being serious! What I rigged up is a sun screen to keep the south sun from baking me while I work, and baking the paint (newly applied paint will blister in direct sun on hot days, as I have painfully learned). And today it was 84-degrees. While waiting for…

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Exchanging Cardboard for PRETTY

       

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A Chimney Update

So, I recently did a post about re-pointing the towering north chimney. John wrote in and suggested I contact US Heritage, which I did. I poured over their website and watched their videos. Wow! These were the people to talk to! Thanks, John! Today, I called the company and spoke to Tai, who was working at…

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More Colorful!

          It will take a few weeks to restore the wood sashes and glaze the glass in. Then, the beauty of the parlor will be dazzling!    

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A Quiet Day in a Surreal Time

Every day I leave the house I live in alone (save for 2,487 cats), drive alone to the Cross House, and spend the afternoon working alone in an almost 9,000 square foot house. Twice a week I have to go to the grocery store. Except for TP, I have been able to buy pretty much…

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Small Moves

     

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Colorful Returns

             

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Rescaling the Great North Wall

      The north chimney has settled 2-1/2-inches. It has dragged the house down with it, AND the gutter. Meaning, that the gutter no longer moves water in a channel but simply lets the water spill over its edge and down the brick. After the re-pointing is done, I will attend to the gutter….

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A Room With A View

After purchasing the Cross House in 2014 one item which needed attention (out of 97,648 items) was the very large first-floor curved-glass center window of the tower. In its lower corner the curved glass was diagonally cracked about 6-inches. I was not too concerned about this and planned to have a sticker made (saying something…

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A Miracle on Union Street

           

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Inching Along

     

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A Spike

  At first I thought: Huh? Then I realized. Oh, y’all are staying at home and spending a lot of time looking at old house porn!    

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Making My Suite

Linda has been asking about my plans for the Long Room…   As large as the Cross House is, it originally only had three bedrooms. Three large bedrooms! There was: Round Room Octagon Room Long Room There was also the Sewing Room which could, of course, been used as a bedroom. My plan from the start…

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Installing a Dance Floor

              All the roughing drops into the basement but will not be connected. It will be labeled however so a later owner will know what to do with it. This way, I will get a nice walk-in closet while making it easy for a later owner to re-install a…

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THE BIG OOPS

Reshingling the south second-floor was part of the 2017 Heritage Trust Grant. It was a $6,200 line item, and this low price reflected that the work was estimated to be relatively minor.                                              …

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A Tale of Two Emotions

My day began. I felt filled with dread and fear. The entire planet is experiencing something profound and alarming. People I know have lost their jobs and are weeks away from financial ruin. People are sick across the globe. People are dying across the globe. And none of us know when the horror will subside…

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Small Moves

        While things are very scary right now, in a minute way, in a small town in Kansas, something is a tiny bit better. Small moves. Small moves.    

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Inching Along

    We are living in very strange times. Be safe my dear ones. Be safe.        

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A Commencing Suite

Justin was available for a few days so I had to find some projects for him! It was raining today so the work had to be inside. What to do? What to do? Oh! I know! I know! Scroll way down…                            …

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Kenny Surprises With Something Curious

  This morning I received a text from Kenny. He came across a Victorian-era settee nearby that was for sale. Might I want it? The settee was…curious. I assume it had some sort of name/function but I have no idea of what this might be. It had new upholstery and the color, I though right…

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Inching Along…between raindrops

     

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Colorful Windows

         

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Rocks. And Hard Places.

                    The south facade has been profoundly overwhelming. I have been working on it for 18 months now which is longer than I had estimated ALL the work would take. The work on the west, north, and east facades was nothing like this. The huge difference…

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Inching Along

   

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Inching Along

     

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Inching Along

       

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Don’t Try This At Home

The exterior window sills of the Cross House are comprised of two parts. The lower part is 1-1/2-inches thick. This is normal. But the Cross House has an upper section which is 1-inch thick. This is unusual. Most of the sills in the house are in excellent condition, which is amazing after 126 years. But…some…

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An End…In Sight

       

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The Suite Is Ready…almost

                I hope to have the wall up this month which will make a huge difference in imagining the room.    

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Wanna Meet My Hall Pendant?

When I purchased the 1894 Cross House in 2014 I knew it originally had gas lighting. A year went by before I realized that it actually had gas/electric combination lighting. Well, how cool is that! This was quite amazing for a small town in Kansas as electricity was new, and the White House was only…

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What We Do For Love

So, y’all remember the great drama over the oak bedroom set I purchased last month? I received a $1200 quote for shipping. Well…no way! The seller got another quote for me, after I suggested that I could meet the shipper in St. Louis, about 6 hours from me. So, this quote was $450. Much better….

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Re-Opening The Past

    In 1929, it appears that the door was removed and the wall plastered over, as the toilet room and adjacent closet became a full bathroom for the new studio apartment in the former Sewing Room. I have recreated the lost closet to the Sewing Room. The original toilet room will be a utility…

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Small Moves

  This small move is part of the rewiring of the second floor. So far, the Round Room is done, the Octagon Room, Sewing Room, original 1894 bath, housekeepers room, and servant’s hallway. All that remains is the Long Room!    

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Inching Along

      All the while, my indispensable tool makes all this manageable: Audible books. For months now I have been listening to a long series: The Amelia Peabody Series, by the late Elizabeth Peters. From Wiki: The Amelia Peabody series is a series of twenty historical mystery novels and one non-fiction companion volume written by Egyptologist Barbara Mertz (1927-2013) under the pen…

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More Colorful!

  I dropped off the four stained-glass windows from the parlor. These are—drum roll, please—the last to be restored! Incredible! When they are done, all 42 stained-glass windows will have been restored, and one window that went missing will have been recreated. All this work has been funded by two Heritage Trust grants. Thank you,…

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Inching Along…with the assistance of climate change

  With climate change, it was 56-degrees today. In Kansas. In February. On the bright side, I was able to (scroll way down)…                                        

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Kitties! Framed!

  The frames are fabulous. They need some repair work, mostly along the bottom, but this seems kinda easy. The actual portraits though give me the creeps. I plan to hang the frames in the Airbnb suite. I will keep the historic portraits in situ, and lay over them new images. Like two from this…

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Another Door Discovery!

Over the last 126-years, the doors of the Cross House have been playing musical chairs. Many doors have bounced from location to location and it has been an interesting challenge trying to ascertain where each door originally was. Some doors even went AWOL. Some have since returned to the house. If I am correct, at…

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A Seating Story

  I knew the set I wanted. My friend in Wichita had it in his parlor. Every time I visited I lusted after his set. “Please, please let me have this set!” My begging fell on deaf ears. Carl is, obviously, quite cruel. However, Carl just sold his house. He no longer needed the set….

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More Colorful!

     

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Wanna Meet My 1929 Bathroom?

  The plan shows a door between the Round Bedroom dressing room and bedroom. This was not installed; rather, a portière was. However, there WAS a door installed between the dressing room and closet. In 1929, the second floor of the house was converted into five studio apartments by Scott Mouse, Sr. The dressing room…

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Inching Along. Again.

         

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Should I???????? The Dramatic Conclusion

      Set #2 was much more affordable, and within driving distance. But, I wasn’t in love. I was in like. Plus, the seller of Set #2 never got back with me. This contrasted with the seller of Set #1, who was very good about responding. She also reduced her price a bit, and…

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And What Happened in 1929

I recently posted about my plans to add a wall in the Octagon Room. The wall will be built as a temporary structure, and could be taken down later with no damage to the historic fabric of the room. Even all the electrical in the wall will be on its own circuit so, when the…

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The Key to Happiness

In 2014, I purchased the Cross House. And for a year I used the back door because I did not have a key to the front door, north door, or south door. Then I contacted Greg from Midwest Locksmith. He came by and fitted the front door with a key! Oh what a thrill to…

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Should I???????? NEWS FLASH!

  I wrote the seller thanking her for her time, and that I was going to pass on the set due to the total cost ($1850 price + $1300 shipping = $3150). She works with another shipper, a much smaller company than the company I contacted. They responded with a $450 shipping quote to St….

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Should I???????? OPTION II

      The set is $1850 which isn’t too bad. But the shipping would be $1300, which freaks me out. I have not ruled out the set yet, and the seller knows another shipper who might do better on the price. Yesterday, Jenine found another set, which is but 2.5 hours away! And only $1250!…

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A Discovery!

      Golly! I will, of course, bring new wiring to this location although the new “temp” wall will cover over the sconce location. However, when the wall is later taken down, it will be effortless to reinstall a sconce in this location.    

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Moving The Thin Blue Line

      Sometimes, small changes can make a world of difference. I am planning an octagon-shaped rug on the floor, and an octagon-shaped “oculus” painted on the ceiling. I even realized that the ceiling light needs to be re-centered 8-inches to align properly with the center of the octagon. But the flat wall would…

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Should I???????? PART II

  For several years now I have looked at literally thousands of bedroom sets for the Cross House. This set is the first I fell in love with. The price is not too bad, but I had no idea what the shipping would be from South Carolina to Kansas. Today I know. $1,300. Ouch. Ouch!…

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Should I????????

In planning an Airbnb suite for the Cross House I have, naturally, been thinking about the decor and furniture. As I did with the parlor, I have no intention of doing everything as if time stopped in 1894. I want a mix of period-correct antiques and contemporary. The Sewing Room will act as a parlor….

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Wanna Meet My Suite?

I have not been kidnapped by aliens. Unfortunately. Rather, the weather forced me inside. And I have been…working on something. And really enjoying myself! When I purchased the Cross House in 2014 my plan was to use the second floor as such: ROUND BEDROOM: My office OCTAGON BEDROOM: The work/storage room for my lighting business….

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Puttering Along

         

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Reversing the…OOPSIE.

                                          The Lincrusta has minor areas of loss (easily infilled). The base and chair-rail fit right back in place. And see that rectangle of exposed lath (top)? That is the east portion of the lost…

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The Big Sweep Inches Along

            The porch flooring may be original. Much of it is in good condition. I am hoping the Dr. Doug can mill some new decking out of #1 grade yellow pine, knot-free. With the flooring installed, the railing can go in!            

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Inching Along

   

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The Red Door Saga…Concludes (mostly)!

  The red door has been through a lot. I previously did a VERY involved (and, I hope, really enjoyable) post about the Red Door. In short: Red Door was removed from somewhere in the house during in the 1960s. A window in the east wall in the dining room was enlarged and the Red…

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The Red Door Saga Continues!

              What Frank and Esther did over five decades ago was necessary to allow the house to work for them. What is nice is that the change was made in a manner which proved reversible. And so many owners of the house have made changes — sooooooooo many changes! —…

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Puttering Away

    What astounds me is that, during the 1950 conversion, the easy thing would have been to push the doors into their pockets, build a new infill wall, with a new door into the parlor bathroom. Instead, they nailed the left pocket door closed and built a wall against it, carefully infilling with plaster…

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The Case of the Vanished Bench? PART II

    I knocked down the 1950s plaster wall to the right side of the paneled section, and the section came down fairly easily. A piece of the bottom broke off but it will be easy to glue back on. As expected, the section is 18-inches above the floor, which is the standard height of…

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The Case of the Vanished Bench?

                                                            Such a bench makes a lot of sense. The paneled piece, if placed vertically again, would be 18-inches above the floor. And 18-inches is the…

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The Case of the Mysterious Door. THE DRAMATIC CONCLUSION!

I have three announcements: I have called off Scotland Yard. I am brilliant. I am an idiot.     My first thought was that it was the lost door to the basement. But I measured and it was the wrong size. So, for days now I have been racking my brain trying to figure out…

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Inching Along

     

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Before. In Process.

     

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Inching Along

   

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Time Travel

  1: Cross House. Note garage behind, now gone. 2: Fabulous 1880s house, comparable to Cross House, demolished by city about 15 years ago for a parking lot even though it was in good shape. Sigh. 3: Gone. 4: Gone. Replaced with a 1980s banal building. 5: Gone. 6: A&W drive-in restaurant. Cool. Gone though….

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Shifting Doors

The Cross House was altered in 1929 when the second floor was converted into apartments. In 1950, it was further altered when it was converted into a hotel. There have been dozens and dozens of small alterations in the ensuing decades. Yet, all this notwithstanding, the house is remarkably as it was when first built….

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The Case of the Mysterious Door

I have called in Scotland Yard. For, something is amiss at the Cross House. Today, I realized that the single library door leading to the south hall did not have the proper doorknob. This, after I just posted that I no longer needed any more door hardware!                …

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Inching Along

        I continue to be amazed that owners of the house, over the decades, maintained a pattern of squirreling away fallen bits/removed bits of the house. As I reinstate a bit I think: When did somebody store this? 1940s? 1950s? 1990s? And who stored it away? Scout Mouse, Jr? Frank Toms? Harry…

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Inching Along…Windily

    Today was almost 60-degrees. In January. While seemingly ideal, it was also terrifyingly windy. The plan for today was to paint and shingle the part above the one window. But wood shingles and wind do not mix. No matter how careful one is being, the wind will win and many shingles will fly…

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And the most Popular Post of the Year Award goes to…

   

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2019 Year End Review. THE HOUSE.

2019 is my sixth year of owning the Cross House. In August of this year I did a post detailing much of the work completed during these years. While, golly, a lot has been done there is a vast amount still to do. I do not even have a shower in the house yet! The…

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Inching Along

     

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Unexpected Gifts!

  UNEXPECTED #1         UNEXPECTED #2 I noticed a small box sitting on the porch of the Cross House. As I don’t have my mail delivered to the house I was curious about the box. From Jackie! From Canada! Going inside, I opened the box…and was quite surprised!        …

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Inched Along

   

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Inching Along

   

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Inching Along

       

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Ta-da! The Door Hardware Is Complete!

          To my astonishment and great pleasure, this means I can announce to all that the Cross House no longer lacks doors, and nor door hardware! My excitement is considerable. This wonderful news though is mitigated by many many lost window pulls, like two dozen. Drat! I suspect the previous owner,…

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Santa Visits the Cross House

   

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Inching Along

     

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Framed!

          Dr. Doug came by yesterday and I showed off the frames. As I pointed out their virtues he just kept looking at me oddly. “What?” I asked. “Ross, frames are suppose to, you know, frame something. Nobody hangs empty frames up!” “Pish posh! They’re beautiful even empty!” Doug just shook…

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The White House

  Walking into the Cross House today it was 27-degrees outside yet clearly warmer IN the house. This is good! Because I recall all too well, and not with fondness, the several years when the house was colder inside than out during the winters. Brrrrrrr. Today, the thermostat was set at 45 and the inside…

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Inching Along

    Today was 37-degrees. I thought: Is it possible to work in such weather? Or will fingers freeze? The answer proved Yes, and No. While dressed warmly and with a scarf, no fingers were uncomfortable. The outlook for at least the next two days though is grim. I am certain that 30-degrees WILL result…

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Inching Along

         

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Inching Along

             

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Happy Holidays!

     

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Delayed Gratification

Even though I am self-employed, my time is not really my own, at least with regards to the Cross House. Since buying the house in 2014, two Heritage Trust grants have ruled over What Is To Be Done. And When. Like, work is focused on the south facade due to deadlines with the 2017 grant….

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Back to Inching Along

            Yes, this all may seem confusing! But without these steps the new wood shingles will not die gracefully into the roof plane. Oh, the horror! This will make more sense as progress images are posted!    

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Visitors!

    Amy and Fritz were in town for another event, but Amy said she had to tour the Cross House. The couple owns an 1850 house which they have been working working working on, and they have a blog! They were both highly attuned to details and as we walked from room to room…

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New Fun Things

  Normally I eschew this kind of decorative item but I liked the finish, the scale (they are big), and the nice relief of the carving. And the price! On the way home I thought: What should I put on them? 1890s vases? Small framed pictures? Then I realized that only ONE thing was ever…

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The Gray Cliffs of Emporia

  In this image, the poor condition of the gray shingles is obvious. You can even see how loose they are, rather than being TIGHT to each other. In a high wind, they all sorta flap about. I prefer non-flapping shingles.      

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Inching Along. A Near-Death Experience

  Normally, Justin and I relocate the scaffolding tower. We take it down, move it, and re-erect it. It is quick and easy. But Justin wasn’t available. So, I thought, how hard can it be to do by myself? The answer? VERY hard. SCARY hard. FREAKY hard. OMG, I was worried that I would have…

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Inching Along. In a Revealing Sorta Way

   

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Inching Along

  With all this now finished, it is time to take down the metal scaffolding (out of sight, right), and all the wood scaffolding, and shift everything to the left. Ugh!    

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Inching Along

       

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Inching Along…Pleasantly

         

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Inching Along

  Next, is to paint the cornice above the painted shingles. Then, I will take down the scaffolding tower to the east of the porte-cochère and re-erect it to the west of the porte-cochère. Then I will remove all the shingles between the pair of windows and arched opening.          

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SQUEE!

       

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Inching Along

  The two clear-glass windows are restored, as are the two stained-glass windows above (now covered with glass “storm” windows which I will remove). I am quite excited that in the not-to-distant future the pair of windows will no longer be surrounded by decay and sadness but by glorious new paint! I am reminded of:…

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Inching Along…Frettingly

The Cross House has received two Heritage Trust Fund grants which have allowed work on the exterior which I otherwise would have been unable to fund. This work has largely determined my project schedule since the summer of 2015. The 2017 grant work is already behind schedule because the work anticipated has been profoundly impacted by…

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Inching Along. SQUEE!!!!!!!!

     

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Inching Along. And Turning a Corner!

             

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Inching Along…With a Restored Eye

    A few days ago I posted about the cataract surgery on my left eye, which was done yesterday morning. For most of the day after the surgery I felt like a piece of glass was stuck in my eye. Not painful, really, but hugely uncomfortable. It would have been much worse without Advil…

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Inching Along…and Old Stuff

        Today was 38-degees. I dressed warmly and things weren’t that bad. But I’m looking forward to Friday! A balmy 48-dregrees! And Sunday and Monday? A heat wave! Kansas has highly inconsistent weather. It can be 70-dregrees in December. Basically, I can plan on working through to January save a day or…

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Inching Along

       

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Movin’ On Up!

 

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Inching Along…With Color

     

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Inching Along

     

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Inching Along

   

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Inching Along

  The drain to the sleeping porch (lower left) has somehow managed to remain intact, even though the porch was enclosed for most of its existence, and all the shingles in this corner were lost long ago. I reopened the porch a few years previous. Curiously, even in massive downpours, I have never seen the…

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The Return Of…Inching Along

   

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Shingling…RESUMES!

  This corner will be—sigh—incredibly time-consuming, just like the inside corner which took forever. Not only will each shingle need to be custom-sized and with half of them half-rounded on the bottom, but each shingle on the outside corner will need to be vertically beveled so as to properly “kiss” the adjacent beveled shingle, creating…

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My Corners Are Guarded!

      The guards exactly match other such guards in the house. Thanks, Dr. Doug! This small improvement delights me. I added the two bump-outs in 2014 to support a new steel beam in the ceiling and the guards help make this minor change look, well, right.  

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Drum Roll, Please! The Marble Vanity ARRIVES!

    Celeste is a super-fan of this blog, and has read every post. She even remembered the names of my indoor kitties! It was great fun touring the house with her as she would gasp with delight at X or Y or Z! “Oh! That’s the termire-damaged wall!” We all went out to Radius…

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A Column Milestone!!!!!!!!

Porches are highly vulnerable things, and it is common for Victorian-era houses to have lost their original porches. Like with this house…             When I first saw the Cross House in 1999 its porches were in sorry condition with a lot of bits missing including many of the columns. Still,…

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Magical Marble

MAGIC EVENT #1: Five days ago I did a post about a marble vanity. Mary, who reads this blog, found it on CraigsList and brought it to my attention. She thought it seemed perfect for the Cross House. And…it was!     However, it was a ten-hour drive away. So, that would be 2-days in…

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Surprises…on the Front Porch. Part I.

      I’m absurdly excited about this. I mean, undressed corners is just…indecent. So, having decent corners is a thrill.  

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A Columns SQUEE!!!!!!!!

       

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A Marble Adventure?

Mary contacted me. She came across a marble vanity, and wondered f I might be interested.     It was advertised as a counter and backsplash, but the height of the backsplash seemed…unusual. I have never seen one that high. So, my excitement was mitigated a bit. I also worried that the marble “apron” was…

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Should Old People Buy Old Houses?

I love the fabulous Kelly and her Old House Dreams, and donate to her every month, automatically, via Patreon. One thing I often notice is how people comment with something like this: I love this house and if my spouse and I were younger we’d take it on. Every time I see this I think:…

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Fuchsia Madness

Today, the draperies arrived for the dining room! Why, one might ask, did Ross order draperies for a room which looks like a bomb has gone off in it, a room perhaps two years from being restored and decorated? Because…A SALE! My friend Patricia keep telling me: “Ross! Half Price Drapes is having this incredible…

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A Column SQUEE!!!!!!!!

        This column, to me, was the poster child symbolizing the decay of the Cross House. For five years it taunted me. Each time I would gaze at it, I would feel a stab of pain. With every passing year I would grow ever more worried: Would I ever be able to…

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A Mystery Revealed! Sorta.

  Do you see what I see? Why is all the trim in the room so dark (which happens when shellac ages) but not the door? The faux bois finish on the door appears near original, and was clearly not repeatedly re-coated with later layers of shellac like all the surrounding trim. I thought I…

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Wanna Time Travel? A Belated Part 2

In 2018, I did two posts about about Phyllis and Louis, here and here. The second post was titled Part 1. And, at long last, I now present part 2! As I wrote in the first post: Phyllis and Louis were last in the house in the 1970s, when they first rented the Octagon Bedroom,…

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Inching Along Columnly

         

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Hardware Excitement

      The search, which I expected would be long and torturous, ended up taking but minutes. My first stop was Rejuvenation. A few clicks on the keyboard, and—zounds!—there they were. A few more clicks and four were mine. Would that everything be so easy.  

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Aliens…ATTACK!

            Well, you know what I have to do tomorrow. I have to up my alien abduction insurance.    

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A Novel Question

I’ve never asked y’all this before: What fabric should I use?       Kyle recommended Fabric Guru. “I get lost on this site for hours and end up buying stuff that I have no immediate need for!” I scrolled through the site and became quickly overwhelmed! Right away, I ignored all the “grandma” fabrics….

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Upgrading the Past

I began painting the exterior of the Cross House in 2014, shortly after buying it. This had soooooooooooo not been my intention but I could not find a painter willing to take the job. So, I thought: Well, I’ll just begin and will soon find a painter. That day never happened. It is just as…

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Dr. Doug Treats!

       

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Visitors!

      Kyle is a gastroenterologist with a hematology subspecialty. Hasan is a computer scientist. Golly. While Kyle is the Cross House fan, and has read all the blog posts, Innes and Hasan also seemed to enjoy the tour. I noted that Kyle took a particular interest in the stained glass, and it was revealed…

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Caretaking

      However…I have no intention of installing the doors. Mostly because they will then cover the gorgeous solid wood doors. Oh, the horror! In an age before air-conditioning, comfort would have overruled aesthetics but, with the house now being fully air-conditioned, this is now a moot point. So, why am I having the…

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Wood Corner Guards

      I have been searching for vintage wood guards for years but have never come across a matched set of four. Then, a year ago, I noticed that the Cross House had wood corner guards! And they look nothing like what I was used to. So, I removed a guard from the Round…

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Going Glossy!

      I have no idea why the right door is darker. It was not like that in 2014. At some point, a few years from now, I will bring the doors back down to bare wood, and bleach the right door. Or something. Then refinish again. In a few years. It’s nice how…

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Looking Back. Taking Stock.

NOTE: This is my longest ever post. Make sure you have some time. And a glass of wine. And, this post will be much better on a computer rather than a smart phone. NOTE: The images may take a while to download.   2014 From my very first blog post: One thought pushed me over…

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Please Stand By For…ZOUNDS!

Y’all have been asking: “Why has Ross stopped posting?” Well, my last post was on the 10th, so that means this is day 7 of no posts, the longest since I began this blog in 2014. Linda asked: O.k…, I am going to start checking area hospitals…and if you aren’t there, I am checking myself…

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Double Rounded Excitement

   

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Columned Excited

          There are just three more battered original columns to restore!      

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Roundly Excited

    There are two such windows. One was restored last year, but this matching window has taken forever. But, it now has new glass, the glazing is done, as is the priming and painting. Next, will be the laborious and careful scraping required to created laser-sharp edges where paint meets glass. This is easy…

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Returning to Life

        I also still need to get the column straight. It leans to the right. And I’m, ahh, really unhappy with a right lean.  

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In The Pink!

  The original columns look TERRIBLE. There are black from age, and the capitals look totally corroded. The pristine new columns offer a stark contrast. A scary contrast. Yet, through the wonder of elbow grease…        

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Making My Own Built-In Gutter!

In 2015, I had the built-in gutters of the Cross relined with some space-age white goop. And, presto, the gutters stopped leaking! As time however would soon prove, my excitement was…premature. For, while the gutters did indeed no longer leak, several areas of gutter simply allowed water to cascade over their edges. And this caused…

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My Monica Closet

In an episode of Friends, the obsessively compulsive Monica is discovered to be hiding a secret: a messy closet. I often think of this episode. For, I work hard at keeping the Cross House neat and tidy. I regularly vacuum top-to-bottom. As mentioned recently, I keep the lawn mowed and edged, and the windows clean….

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Inching Along…a Bit To The Left.

   

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Micro Improvements

              There are three things which, I think, announce that a house is loved: A crisply cut/edged lawn. Flowers on the front porch. Clean windows.      

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I Spy…!!!!!!!!

      I am soooooooooo excited about this. Bringing back the many lost columns to the main porch is something I’ve yearned for, yearned for since 1999, well before I purchased the house. And now, now, all the lost columns are in place. They are back. They are really there. Really! So much damage…

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A Trip to the Magic Man

I always love visiting Scott. I bring him stained-glass windows in disturbing, depressing, and worrisome condition, and he magically transforms them. Today, I dropped of three stained-glass windows from the round bedroom. And I picked up a finished window.               There are 43 stained-glass windows in the house, which…

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Taming Crazy

  When I purchased the house in 2014 it had but a single downspout. All others had been inexplicably removed, causing extraordinary damage over the years. I rushed to install spouts, and this one was cobbled together out of what I could find. The spouts aren’t normal, of course, but round. This used be common….

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A Stepping Consideration

            So, it seems obvious that if the extant three steps are all curvy, that maybe the missing one was, too? But I don’t think so. There’s the 1999 image of a straight run. And the steps might be original. They were rotted enough to be.     Thus, my…

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I Spy…Oops.

      Today was a “feels like” temperature of 101 degrees with the heat and humidity. Ross not happy about this. Installing #4 was in full sun. Ross not happy about this, and he was soaked. After much bonking pounding and swearing, the capital and column would NOT align. This would be easy with…

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I Spy…

         

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I Spy…

          It is a THRILL seeing the two stone piers stand, again, alone as originally intended. And to see columns again? SQUEE!!!!!!!! Columns! Only the hand-carved capitals of the columns are original. All else is new, exactly replicating the originals.   A BACKGROUND STORY When I first saw the Cross House…

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Two Old Guys. Decorating.

Today, I drove the 90 minutes to Dr. Doug’s huge 1904 house to deliver more period-correct lighting. He and I have been bartering. He gets lights. I get woodwork. Doug is soon to start on the lattice for my front porch! After hanging a sweet 3-arm fixture in the white bedroom, I stood back and…

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Swept Away

Today, I arrived at the Cross House. It’s 90 degrees with very high humidity. It feels like an oven outside. But…the lawn needs mowing. I work hard at keeping the lawn mowed and edged because it conveys to the community that the house is being cared for. It is loved. Yes, the outside looks much,…

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I Spy…

        The column looks SO out-of-place! It’s all pretty and pristine against sooooooo much decay! I am beyond excited. EXCITED!!!!!!!! In January, 2015, when I was able to return all the missing columns to the west face of the main porch, it would not have seemed possible that getting the south face…

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Inching Along

    The #4 column is not shown, nor are all the bases. These are in the kitchen of the Cross House, while all the above are in the living room of the carriage house. I keep darting back/forth with a wet paint brush!    

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13, 14, 15…SQUEE!!!!!!!!

       

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10, 11, 12…SQUEE!!!!!!!!

                                          I call this the big sweep because the cornice sweeps around the corner. As will the railing and lattice. The latter two will be in by the end of the year! And what a…

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Before. A Most Delicious After.

    This single corner has been overwhelming. And I have never said that about any project on the Cross House. The work began in October! Eight friggin’ months ago! EIGHT MONTHS! While the work has not been continuous for all those months due to cold weather or rain, it has nonetheless been eight months…

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7, 8, 9…SQUEE!!!!!!!!

     

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4, 5, 6…SQUEE!!!!!!!!

       

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1, 2, 3…SQUEE!!!!!!!!

      The twin single stone plinths are, once again, revealed, and as they were intended to be. They will have lattice between them, and a railing. It’s hard to believe that by the end of the year all this should look fabulous! Hard. To. Believe. And when it is all done…I will reveal…

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A Rocky Before. A Rocky After.

         

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A Historical Discovery!

One would think that, five years into the Cross House, I would no longer be surprised to discover anything about the house. Well…Mick just proved this assumption wrong. Just twenty minutes ago I did a new post, and Mick asked a question.     Mick asked: “I have to wonder… the two single piers so…

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Reversing Time in the Carriage House

Recently, I did a post about the interior of the carriage house. When i purchased the house in 2014, the entry had a wide, trimmed opening into the living room. To each side of the opening were low walls, clearly 1970s plywood, topped with two petite wood columns, and a pair of oak brackets in…

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Well, I got a LITTLE done!

        Removing these few stones proved much harder than I anticipated. I will need to call in Justin and his magical jackhammer. Stay tuned!  

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Entasis…ARRIVES!!!!!!!!

When I purchased the Cross House in 2014, about half of the twenty main porch columns were missing. One of my first goals was to restore all twelve columns to the west face of the L-shaped porch.       The missing columns had been lying in the backyard for many years, slowly moldering away….

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Inching Along. In a Riveting Way.

My neighbor, Eric, a fellow Squires home owner, climbed out on the scaffolding with me for a visit. I pointed out my current worry: the huge galvanized cornice no longer met the end wall due to settling. I was filling this gap with sheet metal, attached with self-tapping screws. “Oh, no. You should use rivets,”…

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Visitors!

  Beverly, for her birthday, booked the full tour! She drove up from Texas and, after she stepped into the entry hall…she cried. And cried! Sandy smiled at me, and I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. “Oh, Ross! I’m soooooo sorry! I’ve read every blog post! And to suddenly be IN the Cross House…

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Is it true? Is it possible? Do my eyes deceive me?

    I am beyond sick of this corner! I have never felt this way about any other aspect of the project to date. What began as a simple project (infill some missing shingles) ballooned into a total redo: framing, sheathing, cornice repair, two window frames rebuilt, and only then the tedious work of custom-cutting…

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OOPS

It came to my attention, belatedly, that my blog was having issues. None of these would have been apparent to a reader, save one. It seems that people who had signed on to automatically receive new posts were no longer getting such notices. This included me as well! This is being worked on. In the…

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Inching Along

   

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I See Green

       

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Taming the Meandering Monster Spout

When I purchased the Cross House it had but a single downspout still in place, and this, combined with leaking built-in gutters, caused most of the damage to the house. Hurriedly, I installed downspouts.     But, later this year, the south facade will actually look good. I know, that seems impossible! So, something will…

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Inching Along

  The crazy downspout? I have to do something about that.  

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Building Scaffolding…While Drunk

  Yes, I’m kidding. We were quite sober but doesn’t the scaffolding look like it was built by drunks? When Justin and I finished we stood on ground level…and burst out laughing. It looks SO crazy! The new level will allow the huge cornice to get painted, as well as finishing the shingling on the…

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A Zesty Update

   

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A Very Sexy Curve

     

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A Columnar Dilemma

  I really hate that post. For five years I have ignored it but, as the big push this year is finishing the south facade, something will have to be done about that 6×6 post. But what?         Ideally, the entire LONG length of the column should be made of one solid…

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Inching Along. Westerly.

   

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Patty Wanted To Know…

  The image terrifies me! OMG, that’s all that’s been done on the south facade? Up close, it seemed like a lot! And look at how much more there is still to do! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEK! That’s it! I’m running for the hills!    

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Inching Along. Colorfully

   

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Inching Along

     

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The Carriage House Is Blowing My Mind

The 1894 Cross House had a carriage house/barn on the adjacent south lot. Circa-1920, the structure was sold off, and moved forward on the lot a bit; the north “barn” was severed, rotated, and became the east wing of the renovated structure.                   And this realization got…

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Pondering the Carriage House

    The Cross House. The carriage house. The “barn”. Around 1920s, the double lot was cut in half, and the carriage house/barn sold off. The carriage house was moved a bit forward on the lot, the “barn” was severed, turned 90-degrees, and moved behind the carriage house. Then the whole was rebuilt as a…

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Putting Bits Back. Joyfully.

          I still have to attach the bits properly, and some judicious caulking will make everything look as it did when new! Squee!!!!!!!!    

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Slowly going from Coral to Lavender

     

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If I Could Turn Back Time

WARNING: This is a long and winding post. You might wish to read it when you have some time. And some wine handy.     The poor carriage house. The poor dear. It sits, patiently, while Ross does battle with the Big House. And each year the carriage house…erodes just a tiny bit.   SPRING…

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Inching Along

  This corner seems never-ending and I will be SO grateful to relocate!    

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Revisiting…the Carriage House

After purchasing the Cross House and its carriage house in 2014, both structures received work. With the latter, it mostly involved tearing out obviously non-original alterations. At the time, I was only dimly aware of who architect Charles Squires was, and had been told that he did not design the carriage house. Indeed, I had…

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Inching Along

        This corner has seemed endless due to the massive amount of work of, basically, wholly rebuilding it. At first, I simply thought it needed some missing shingles replaced! I should not however have been surprised. Everything under this second-floor level was 100% rebuilt in 2014, and I mean everything: all the…

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Inching Along

       

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Inching Along

   

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Ross Is Gonna Do WHAT?

In 2017, I painted the porch ceiling of the 1894 Cross House. And the color choice was…unexpected.       And this is how things have been since. But…but…Ross wasn’t entirely satisfied. And, as y’all know by now, that can lead to, ah, changes. I loved how unexpected the color was. It was a shock…

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Wanna Meet the Bo Mystery Light?

I have good news. And more good news! This post offers a two for one! You get to finally meet the Bo mystery light! You get to see — drum roll, please — the painted-at-last stairhall niche! Yes! Can you even believe it!   Last year I began the restoration of the stairhall niche. This…

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Visitors!

     

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Inching Along. Squee x Ten.

             

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Kenny…Inches Along

    Several readers were not happy, thinking that the original finish would never have been so, ah, blond. So, I did a post about the myth that All Old Houses Had Dark Trim. It’s  good post; you might enjoy reading it.               Kenny and I discussed how strange…

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Inching Along. SQUEE!

    I painted the walls a greenish taupe, which is close to what the kitchen seems to have been painted originally. The frieze is a lighter color. Between the two, I will reinstate the lost picture rail. The colors are meant to be temporary, which means that I did not obsess over them! If…

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Inching Along

    So, by next week I should have the wall painted (a kinda greenish taupe), have the gold picture rail installed in the original location (about 20-inches below the ceiling) and the frieze painted (pale taupe). The trim will all go back. I am debating if I should paint it (it was painted originally…

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Antiques Galore!

The other day I posted about a settee which David brought to my attention. The settee was period-correct for the 1894 Cross House, and budget-correct (meaning not too fancy/simple for the Cross House). The settee was also close by, inexpensive (because the seller knew it would need to be reupholstered), and my friend Carl picked…

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In Repose

       

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Inching Along

   

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My Second Antique!

This is my sixth year of owning the Cross House. In all that time I have come across one period-correct, and budget-correct antique for the Cross House:     It’s easy finding fabulous antiques. It’s not easy finding antiques which are really right for the house, visually. People who own old houses often fill them…

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Wanna Meet My Butler’s Pantry Pulls?

   

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Undoing the Madness in the Butler’s Pantry

    At first, I never gave the cabinet any thought. Then, I wondered: WHY are there ugly plywood doors at the top?         Thanks to Dr. Doug, the two missing drawers are back! The missing serving counter is back! (It looks bent in the image. It’s not.) The glass is back…

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Inching Along. Ecstatically!

  I am hoping that the staining will match. I am hoping I can find the right drawer pulls.  

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Inching Along. Slowly.

    And that little area took much of the afternoon. That it happened at all was because the weather suddenly jumped to fifty. Whoee!!!!!!!! That little area took so much time because it involved a lot of odd angled shingles, and each had to be measured and fitted into place. Often, they didn’t fit…

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Inching Along. Unhappily.

  Remember the butler’s pantry? I am un-remuddling my own remuddling from a few years ago, and have been working on infilling the wall I knocked a door into. So, why the argh?       In all my decades of working on old house this has never happened before. At first, I removed the…

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Inching Along. Happily.

    Normally I don’t remove trim but this trim is so caked with later layers of paint it really needs to come off to do the job right. In addition, each window has sagged down, in a staggered pattern to the left. This means that instead of all the top trim being level, each…

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Inching Along

  It fascinates me to think of the person who applied the glue 69-years ago, having no idea that all their work would be chipped off in 2019, an age of computers, smart phones, blogs, marriage equality, and a reality TV star in the Oval Office.    

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A Petite Discovery

Last May, I did two posts (here and here) about the discovery that the Cross House originally had a call system, involving “doorbells” in every room, and an attendant annunciator in the kitchen. It was all rather breathless, and all thanks to Blair!         So, the dining room had TWO call bells!…

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Inching Along in a Faux Bois Kinda Way

  I don’t have time right now to restore the entire upper stair hall, but wouldn’t it be ever so delightful to, at least, have this one wall looking’ good? As part of the process? The wood trim around windows. The problem? Unlike almost all the trim in the house, the trim around the triple-windows…

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Wanna meet MY wall?

     

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Inching Along

     

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Putting Bits Back

            Getting all these small bits back somehow makes the whole world seem…just a tiny tiny fraction better.  

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A Window for Shingling

        While the siding on the west, north, and east side of the house proved, mostly, in good original condition, this cannot be said of the siding on the south side. ALL of it will be removed and most of it replaced. This is a testament to the fact that the sun…

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Revealing the Past

Recently, Becky has been doing a lot of research into the Cross House, and has been delighting me with emails rich with information. Becky, and her husband, John, were my guest for dinner a few weeks ago. One such story involves Issac Lambert, who purchased the house in either December 1906, or January 1907. Lambert…

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Cody Scores! AGAIN!

        Cody dreams about being able to own the house, someday. I told him that I first saw the Cross House in 1999 and fell passionately in love. But, buying it was not a remote possibility. I thought: That will never happen. Then in 2014 I purchased the house. Life is strange….

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Cody SCORES!!!!!!!!

So, y’all know that Cody has found several gas/electric sconces for the Cross House. I “met” Cody in 2014 when he began leaving comments about an incredible house on Old House Dreams. Here. Prepare to gasp. At the time, Cody was a teenager. He lived near the incredible house and was highly protective of it….

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More Windows!

      I just cannot believe it. There are, I am pretty sure, 5,984 windows at the Cross House. And only TWO more need restoring!!!!!!!! When I purchased the house in 2014, it seemed an impossible task. Soooooooooo many windows needing soooooooooo much work. I would get queasy in taking it all in. But,…

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Making Curvy

  It is not hard. I take three at a time and cut the curve with a jigsaw. Then I smooth them with a disk sander. I have to buy a bundle of shingles and then pull out all the shingles that are 5-inches or more wide. The narrower shingles get used for shims. I…

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Cody Sconce. ARGH!!!!!!!!

A few weeks ago, Cody brought to my attention a single gas/electric sconce on eBay. At first, I was not interested as I need matching pairs. But…then I realized that there are a few locations in the house which had single sconces. Oh. Oh! Specifically, the servant’s hall, second floor. So, I looked at the…

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Cody Sconces. SQUEE!!!!!!!!

A while back, Cody came across a RARE pair of 1890s gas/electric swivel sconces. He brought them to my attention, and I purchased the pair. After some time, I was able to hang them in the parlor. But even though I laboriously ran new wires through the walls to the sconces, I never finished the…

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Bitching About Stripping

So, I glopped stripper all over another door to the butler’s pantry. And nothing happened. I pushed the brush against the glop. And nothing happened. I waited some more. Then pushed the brush against the glop. And nothing happened. I stared at the door, uncomprehending. Huh? Rather than all the paint bubbling, the door just looked,…

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A Complicated Affair

  Wow. Those are really complicated rooflines! Scary! I stare at this image and think: Is all this really mine? I am really responsible for all this? And how the hell did that happen?    

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My First Dinner!

Last Saturday, I had my first formal dinner at the Cross House. Yes, I had a dinner last fall for the board of the Strong City Preservation Alliance, but I only set the table and everybody brought food. But on Saturday, it was all very grand.   My guess arrived at six, and we sat…

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The Butler’s Pantry

  The two TALL doors had been lowered at some point, and the glass replaced with plywood. Yikes! I raised them to their original height, and installed new glass. You can also see one refinished drawer. Dr. Doug is at work making two new drawers to replace the long missing drawers ABOVE the lower four…

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The Dining Room

        It now seems evident that the dining room will, more than any room in the house, celebrate a faux bois finish. For, none of the other rooms have, to date, revealed such dramatic faux graining. Thus, after much fretting about all the wood in the dining room, I am now hopeful…

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Louis. The Tease.

                                                They did find the window, and I can have it! But…they are holding it ransom…until I visit…to pick it up in person! I have been wanting to visit for months and…

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The Dining Room. And Why I Love Kymberly.

As y’all know, I have been struggling with the woodwork in the dining room. In the whole house — save the dining room — the old, dark, depressing shellac is easily removed via denatured alcohol. The results?       It’s all been quite vexing! I have tried all manner of noxious liquids to remove…

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The Butler’s Pantry: A Mystery UPDATE

  Golly. Who knew that, when I wrote about a mystery regarding one cabinet in the butler’s pantry of the 1894 Cross House, y’all would become so…excited. Theories abounded! Arguments were made! Fist fights broke out! Doors were slammed! OK. Perhaps I exaggerate. But, after much discussion, the mystery is no more resolved today than…

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The Butler’s Pantry: Lighted!

  The pendant is a bit later than the 1894 Cross House, I think, but it is gas/electric (as the house had originally), and is also of a type which might have been in the pantry originally: simple. The shades are, I think, a bit too fancy, and I am on the search for something…

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Doing Battle with the Dining Room. Still.

A little over a year ago I did a post about the difficulty of restoring the trim in the dining room. In all the other rooms of the house the many layers of shellac come off easily via denatured alcohol, revealing the original faux wood finishes. But not in the dining room. The trim in…

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The Butler’s Pantry: A Deepening Mystery

                      Everything about the “safe” is a mystery: Why the different wood? Why are its doors a different style? Why does it have fixed shelves? Why the TALL space? Why does it not align with the doors above? I had surmised that the different style…

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Butler’s Pantry. SQUEE!

     

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The Butler’s Pantry. A MYSTERY!

      This baffles me. WHY are the lower doors a different wood? And why…     Huh? I never noticed this before, either. The two lower doors have a large metal strap that goes across them, attaching to the lock hanging to the left. See? This indicates that the lower cabinet was intended,…

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Refinishing the Butler’s Pantry

            My plan is to work on the pantry in fits and starts. So, it will be beautiful…at some distant point.    

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Resurrecting the Butler’s Pantry

So, my last post was about repairing my karma. I am going to reverse a change I made two years ago, a change which entailed removing a portion of the original butler’s pantry along its west wall. The bits which were removed were stored with the idea that a later owner could reverse my decision,…

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NOT Burning in Preservation Hell

About two years ago I did a post about burning in preservation hell. This is what happens to people who screw up old houses. You might want to read the post again, here. In the post, I outed myself as having earned points to Preservation Hell by removing a portion of the original butler’s pantry…

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A Breathless Cat Fence Update! YIKES!

I’m all excited. And a little freaked out. For, the first part of the famous Cat Fence has been installed! ZOUNDS!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!!! EGAD!!!!!!!! SQUEE!!!!!!!! So why, you might be asking, am I a little freaked out? Because the finished look is not, ahh, quite what I anticipated.   I ordered a bronze-like metal. What arrived…

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2018. The Year-End Update. THE ROSS.

Each year, I do a HOUSE update and a ROSS update. While the HOUSE update is highly popular, the ROSS update attracts three times the views. Which is a strong indicator that y’all are interested in the man behind the blog. This is also an indicator that readers are also interested in…ah…my political views as…

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A Breathless Cat Fence Update! YEAR-END UPDATE!

Since my last update, donations to Fence The Cats have continued to come in! Rachel: Greetings from the SF Bay area! As a fellow animal rescuer (of foster dogs) I applaud your efforts with the acts. I’m also a lover of old homes but will never actually own one (or a new home, for that matter)…

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2018. The Year-End Update. THE HOUSE.

                                                                                          Much of the work above happened via my patented Baby…

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Visitors!!!!!!!!

    The couple are staying the night at the Gufler Mansion in Emporia, and dining tonight at my suggestion, Radius. So, everybody, a big hug for Christina and Dusty!    

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VISITORS! Belated.

   

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Happy Holidays 2018!

    A big hug and happy holidays to all of you!  

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An Extraordinary Discovery!

Today, I received an email. The email made me…gasp! Gasp!       The email today was from Staci. Staci and her husband, Rick, own Coffelt Signs in Emporia. Recently, Coffelt recreated the neon sign to the 1900 Theater in Strong City, something I have been dreaming about for two decades. Well, in her email,…

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What IS This?

      The chute has three metal bars preventing any larger object from falling into the chute. The petite door was held by two incredibly powerful spring hinges. One could not just open the door and leave it, as it would instantly snap shut. No, one had to bend down, open the door, HOLD…

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Visitors!

   

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Repairing Plaster Walls

    I had planned on simply filling all the smaller holes with sheetrock, and then sheetrocking over the entire ceiling. This is what I have done for decades. But…but…this is the first old house I have ever restored which had radiators. And what, you might ask, do radiators have to to with plaster? Why,…

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The Eventual Sewing Room

The other day I did a post about the Sewing Room at the Cross House and mentioned that, when it was finished, I would rent it to a roommate. Several readers did not quite understand. Was I planning to add a kitchen to the room? Would there be a bathroom? So, I did a quick…

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Murphy Beds! Everywhere!

    In 1950, the younger Scott Mouse transformed the Cross House into the Palace Motel. The Murphy beds were removed although their wood cabinets remained, turn into closets. Two such closets remained when I purchased the house: the Long bedroom, and a narrow such cabinet in the hall (which appeared to have been placed in…

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2018!

 

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Excitement! Involving a Murphy Bed!

Today, Justin and I began to rewire the Sewing Room. I drew on the north wall where I wanted switches and sconces to go over the bed. Then Justin said: “Wasn’t there a Murphy bed on this wall once? Isn’t that stored on the third floor? If so, why not put it back?” Egads! What…

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Activating Hollywood Regency

  There were two problems however: There was no electricity TO the sconces. The sconces clashed with the almost-period-correct gas/electric chandelier. Right away, I decided to get rid of the chandelier. It was more 1904 than 1894 (oh, the horror) and was, importantly, too fancy for the room which would have originally had a much…

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Glittering Jewels

      No image captures the best aspect of the many stained-glass windows: They sparkle and glitter as you pass by. The effect is magical. Just utterly magical. Recently, somebody I know stopped me in the post office. She told me that, when she is in Emporia after dark, she goes out of her…

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What We Do For Love

Yesterday, it was 60 degrees. Today, there was a blizzard. So what did Ross do? He jumped in his car and drove through a blizzard so he could check that the Cross House was OK. Sigh.   I promised myself that if the roads were really bad I would turn around. And after just a…

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The Brutalized South Facade

The weather has warmed up! So, I have resumed my focus on the south facade of the Cross House. And boy, is it beat. I have now worked on the west facade, north, and east. And most of what was there in 1894 is still there today. Very few shingles or siding needed replacing, and…

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A Breathless Cat Fence Update! PART IV

Since my last update a little over two weeks ago, donations to Fence The Cats have continued to come in! This all began when I did a post detailing the reasons why, after five years, I still cannot move into the Cross House. Most of these issues have been resolved during the last five years, but the…

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Punching Holes in Plaster. Fixing Holes in Plaster.

“Oh! That house needs to be gutted to the studs!” I hear this all the time. I read this all the time. And I cringe every time. Buying an old house and tearing out all the plaster walls and ceilings is just, well, stupid. Houses with plaster: Sound better. Retain heat as plaster absorbs heat….

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Lighting like it’s 1894!

      I purchased the sconces a few months ago, after they were brought to my attention by Bo Sullivan. The round bedroom is now the second room in the house where I have installed gas/electric sconces in their original location. Which makes me very happy! Thanks, Bo!!!!!!!!    

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Visitors!

   

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It’s Alive! It’s Alive!

Click on video:   To me, when a room in an old house is rewired, and all the wiring is done, there is a special moment JUST before the electricity is turned on, a moment filled with anticipation…and anxiety. Will everything work? Then — drum roll, please — the switch is flipped, and the overhead…

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Round. Resumed.

Justin called me yesterday. “Do you have any indoor work? I am freezing at the outside job I am working on.” I replied: “Why, yes, Yes I do.” And so begins today’s tale…   Last winter I began working on the FABULOUS round bedroom. This will be my office. And I am living for the…

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Mmmmmmmmmmm, warm.

Last January, I finally, finally, got the radiator system of the Cross House up and running. Long-time readers will recall some, ahh, mishaps during the process but after some ado the miles of pipes filled with hot water, the many radiators filled up, and slowly the huge house responded and….warmth was my reward. It was…

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The White House

    Because all roads and sidewalks were warmer than the snow. they remained clear of snow. But everything else looked like it had been covered by blown-on cotton. It was beautiful.      

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When Superman Died

When I was, say, twenty, I had a built-in assumption: I was Superman. This was never a conscious thought. It was, rather, just somehow understood. I felt I could do anything. I could pick up heavy loads. I could climb ladders all day with impunity. I could work long, hard hours to no ill effect….

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A Breathless Cat Fence Update! PART III

Since my last update a week ago, donations to Fence The Cats have continued to come in! This all began when I did a post detailing the reasons why, after five years, I still cannot move into the Cross House. Most of these issues have been resolved during the last five years, but the last issue is…

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The Diagonal Drama

It’s a good thing y’all weren’t with me at the Cross House today. For, my language would have scandalized you. Scandalized! I cursed and cursed the whole afternoon. In short, Ross was not happy. And it’s my own fault.   Several decades ago I learned an invaluable lesson: If you are doing anything, be it…

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Wanna Meet My Cat Fence? PART III

      Several readers are worried that the cats will be able to climb the metal fence by using the ribs as stairs. This will not be possible, as decades of experience with metal fences has taught me. I am planning to place an order this week for the metal! Squee!!!!!!!!    

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Wanna Meet My Cat Fence? PART II

The other day I introduced what the famous cat fence would look like. Some people liked my color choice (charcoal) and some didn’t. But nobody quite seemed to understand what the fence would look like upon completion. I mentioned that it would be very simple, kinda like a Richard Serra sculpture.        …

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The Shingle Drama

      With the corner now rebuilt, it was time to focus on getting new cedar shingles. I had hoped to re-use about 50% of the old shingles but no longer think this is an option, at least for this portion of the exterior. For days and days I tried to find a supplier…

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Wanna Meet My Cat Fence?

A year ago I did a post about creating outdoor “rooms”. Because the yard of the Cross House is minuscule, and because the house abuts a four-lane highway, creating a series of enclosed “rooms” is a really good way of mitigating both these issues. I learned long ago that if one can see an entire…

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South. Upper Corner. Eek.

    What is so weird is that it is obvious that the very shingles I removed had been removed not that long ago, and that the inside corner was filled with putty and stuff. And somebody must have removed the original crumbling, rotted 2x6s…but they did not replace them, and then nailed back on…

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A Breathless Cat Fence Update! PART II

Six days ago, I did my first Cat Fence Update. And that post was a response to this post, which detailed the reasons why, after five years, I still cannot move into the Cross House. Most of these issues have been resolved during the last five years, but the last issue is proving intractable: The cat…

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And…..the Belated East Facade

  Yesterday, I did a long post showing the restored west and north facades, and the terrifying south facade. Then Mary asked: “But where is the east facade?” I can deny Mary nothing, so today I added before/after images of the incomplete east facade. You can view the updated post here.    

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Wanna Meet the South Facade?

Before I formally introduce the unrestored south facade of the Cross House, I thought you might enjoy a quick revisit of the restored west and north facades, and the partially restored east facade.                 Now, are you sitting down? Do you have a glass of wine on hand?…

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The South Commences!

    Not long ago, new shingles had been installed in just this area. But over the rotted sheathing! This just freaks me out! FREAKS ME OUT! The damage was caused by a leaking built-in gutter above, and even though new shingles had been installed a while back, the cause of the damage and not…

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A Breathless Cat Fence Update!

Mary Carol had asked: “When are you moving in?” To answer this question, I did a post. I had no idea that in answering her question something unexpected and wonderful would happen. But something unexpected and wonderful did happen. And is happening. In the post, I detailed the numerous reasons why I still cannot move into…

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!!!!!!!!DONE!!!!!!!!

              The plan is to try and save as many shingles as I can. After each is removed, I will disk sand it to perfection. I am excited!  

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When I Became, Officially, A Crazy Cat Person

In 1975, when I was eighteen and living in my first apartment, a cat snuck in. And decided to stay. I soon learned why. She was pregnant and gave birth to two kittens shortly thereafter in my closet. My new brood: Mama Little Girl Little Boy Mama was a fabulous cat, and so were her…

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The Thin Line

            I still have some touch-ups, and a couple of trim pieces to install, but I can soon relocate the scaffolding to —  drum roll, please — THE SOUTH FACADE!      

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A Moving Question

Today, Mary Carol asked: “When are you moving in?” It’s a good question. It’s a question I cannot answer though. From day one the following issues have precluded my moving in:   STOP THE FRIGGIN’ AIR When I purchased the house in 2014 wind freely blew through it via cracks and through all the windows…

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The Thin Line

    This week the Thin Line should be completed and the scaffolding will be moved to (drum roll, please) the SOUTH FACADE!    

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A Faded Past

In the early 1970s, Phyllis and Louis lived in the Cross House. They were young and way cool, baby. I did a post on them, showing their expansive third-floor apartment Phyllis and Louis also graciously forwarded this evocative image looking down into the first-floor stair-hall.      

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The Thin Line

     

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The Mysterious Library

I have only ever offered glimpses of the Cross House library. The room was a gutted shell when I purchased the house. And it was the first room I mostly finished because I needed to get all my books out of storage and into the house, STAT. So, while the room was finished, it was…

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More Windows!

          In 2014, the idea of restoring the 2,576 windows in the house (OK, maybe not that many) seemed an impossible task. Yet,  somehow, there are now only five clear-glass windows which need restoring. Only five! And these will be done by the end of the year. Zounds! What has enabled…

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FURY at the Cross House

Today, when I was a block away from the Cross House, I looked at the house…and my brain could not process what I was seeing. WHAT? As my car continued, things came into focus. Standing on my front stone steps was a young woman in a huge pink wedding dress. Standing next to her was…

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Dinner Update

    The table was set for eight but I had no idea of how many would show up for the board meeting. When seven arrived, I breathed a sigh of relief. I had worried, quite a bit, that I had overdone things, and that some board members would find it all too froufrou. Yet,…

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A Bit of Elegance Amidst Ruins

    The table will look pretty for less than five minutes as people bring in their own containers of food, cans of beer, and papers and phones and iPads. But…for a brief moment there is elegance amidst the ruins and I think the contrast is delicious.    

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Treasures from Megan

A while back I did a post about needing a number of corner blocks for the Cross House windows and doors trim. Amazingly, Megan wrote in and said she had nine such blocks. Wow. Then this week a box arrived. Inside? The nine magical blocks!     Thanks, Megan! BIG hug!!!!!!!!    

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Hunting for Crystal

In the 1980s, I lived in New York City and had a thriving architectural design practice. Donald Trump was one of my clients (and I may one day reveal my stories). I lived in a very large duplex apartment in Little Italy. I enjoyed having people and clients over for dinner, so had fabulous china…

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A Happy China Cabinet

  I then stood back and wondered: when was the last time fine china was placed inside this cabinet made for fine china? The cabinet seemed, I dunno, happy! And I experienced an odd thrill, too. It was satisfying returning this beautiful cabinet to its intended use. I stood back about six feet…and just smiled…

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The Never-Ending Window…Has Ended

  When i purchased the house in 2014, that sheet of glass was in place. But where was the original wood sash? It later turned up. In pieces. The bottom edge had severe rot, and the lower rail had fallen away. Why this damage had occurred I could not explain as the adjacent window sashes…

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Hunting for China

On October 1, the board of the 1900 theater is having their meeting at the Cross House, and dinner will be served. Yikes. Last November, I had my first (and only) dinner in the house, my Day-After-Thanksgiving gala. We used paper plates and plastic cup and plastic forks. And I was surprised at how, ah, grim…

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COUNTDOWN!!!!!!!!!!

10             9             8             7             6             5                                      …

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A Tease

   

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