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 movie Willard came out in 1971. I was fourteen, and saw it four times. It’s a movie about….rats. But the main story is not what drew me in. It was the house. A big, old, fabulous house, featured prominently. I felt intoxicated at all the scenes showing the house, and even though I understood…Continue Reading
OK! I am freakin’ out, man! FREAKIN’ OUT! Recently, I did a post on the wallpaper discoveries at the Cross House. In particular, I found scraps of the original 1895 wall paper, wall frieze, and ceiling paper in the two-story stair-hall. Were these scraps, I wondered, enough to recreate all three papers? I mean, how…Continue Reading
This post is a cry for help. You see, I started to refinish the trim in the living room of the Cross House. I have done this many many many times previously over the decades and have never encountered what I did the other day. All my woodwork has an alligatored finish. And it has…Continue Reading
I have a wood mystery. Take a look at the image below: NOTE: when I took the image I had not finished stripping off the old finish. It now looks much neater. Look at the gouges. They mystify me. If I were to toss out a guess I would say that my trim…Continue Reading
Two posts previously I was freakin’ out man. Now I am chillin’, man. This was my concern two posts previously: ABOVE: I had started to refinish the trim and ended up with wood WAY lighter than I had intended. So, yea, FREAK OUT! After some most excellent advice from readers and friends, I did this:…Continue Reading
One day I pulled up the 1970s vinyl flooring in the Cross House kitchen. Under was 1950s flooring. I pulled that up. Under was a thin layer of Masonite-type boards. I laboriously pulled all that up. Under was…wow. Wild! Weird! ABOVE: The 1930s linoleum flooring in the kitchen of the Cross House. There…Continue Reading
So, continuing the Great Wood Refinishing Drama! I think (hope) the drama is now over. I think. I hope. Today I finished one section: I used denatured alcohol to “liquify” the original shellac on all the door trim. You can see the result at the top, horizontal piece of trim. Then I used…Continue Reading
THE BACKGROUND I love learning new stuff. I really love learning new stuff. It should be noted though that I am a picky learner. So, if somebody says: YOU SHOULD LEARN THIS, I will, most likely, be an unenthusiastic learner (and who does not react as such?). However, if something captures my special attention,…Continue Reading
Soooooooooooo…all along I thought I was dealing with a 120-year-old finish on my woodwork. And I was fretting, big time, that maybe my refinishing was not, you know, right. Yet in plain sight all along was proof that I was dead wrong about my finish assumptions. ABOVE: What you are looking at was behind…Continue Reading
In Kansas, they say if you do like the the current weather, wait an hour. This has some truth to it. One December, we has a blizzard in mid-December. Then the day after Christmas, until January 3rd, a 70-degree forecast was predicted. Whoee! So, the day after that Christmas, I (being a sensible person) demolished…Continue Reading
Welcome to Part 6 of the Great Refinishing Saga! In Part 2, I posited an idea. What if, if, I had actually uncovered the 1894 finish on my trim? And what if, if, the finish was not varnish or shellac on stained wood, but rather…a faux wood finish? In Part 2, I wrote…Continue Reading
It was a mystery. I felt compelled to solve it. CLUE ONE There were some old boards hidden inside a wall adjacent to the kitchen. Why were these boards there? Why were they inside a wall? Why had they obviously been cut? Why had they been stained? I mean, this indicated that they were…Continue Reading
Porches have a short shelf life For two reasons: 1) Wood does not respond well to being left out in the elements. Its rots. So, a porch built in the 1890s was normally in poor condition by, say, 1920. 2) As with clothes, cars, and hairstyles, houses are either fashionable…or not. A house built in the…Continue Reading
In the next few days, two more columns are being re-installed after also being AWOL. These columns are over to the right (out of the images). When this work is completed, ALL the west-facing columns will be back in place for the first time in a very very very long time….Continue Reading
Ok. Yes. I know. And agree. I am a bit obsessed (small voice in my head: a bit?) with restoring all the missing pieces (columns, balustrades, and lattice) to the 1894 Cross House main porch. As stated previously, it is quite rare to have an 1894 porch last into 2015. Even with all the damage…Continue Reading
Today’s post is not much of an adventure. But it is an update! You see the four limestone plinths? If the left is ONE, and the right is FOUR: ONE The paired columns were installed this week. The columns were badly rotted and required significant restoration. The capitals are new, and made from…Continue Reading