The Cross House

Faux Poo

The arch of the stairhall niche is plaster painted to look like oak.


The right side of the faux oak is in pretty good condition. The left side is utterly ruined by water damage from a bathroom above (now removed).

The whole house is filled with faux finishes, so it seemed timely to finally hunt down a faux artist to begin the process of restoring all the damaged faux-work in the house, beginning with the plaster arch.

I went to the Emporia arts center, figuring they would know just the perfect person. I explained what I needed…and then never heard from them.

Then I went online to the Kansas Historical Society as they offer a Resource List and, yes, they had a short list of people who did faux finishes!

I called one and had a very odd conversation with the person who answered the phone. She was not the artist, but could take a message. Well, a huge amount of effort was required just so she could understand my name, Ross.

“What’s that, Roth?”

“No, ROSS.  R.  O.  S like in Sam.  S like in Sam.”

“Sam? I thought your said your name was Roth?”

Argh! “My name is (speaking very slowly) R  O  S  S.

“Oh! You mean Rod!”

Argh! “Can I ask you a question?”


“Have you ever heard of Betsy Ross?”

“Of course.”

“Can you repeat her last name to me?”


“Well, her last name is my first name. Ross.”

“Oh! Ross! Why didn’t you just say so?”

I am confident that none of the information I gave her, including my phone number, was written down correctly. Or written down at all.

So, onto person number two.

I clicked on the website listed. And the link did not work. So I played around on the internet thingy and discovered the website. Odd. I then called the cell number listed. It was disconnected. I then called the business number listed. It rang and rang and rang and rang and, just before I hung up, an incredibly loud message said LEAVE A MESSAGE.

I hung up.

About a half-hour later my phone rang and I recognized the number I had previously called. I picked up. And discovered that I was actually talking with a faux artist! I explained what I needed, and that I assumed the total work would be intermittent, but would span several years. Would this be a problem, I asked? “No.” I then sent an email with some images, the link to the blog, and more information.

And I have not received a response.

So, I might have to, obviously, teleport faux artist aliens from Planet Zot. I am looking at the Zot website now. It’s pretty cool.




21 Responses to Faux Poo

  1. I’m an excellent wood grain painter but I also live in Canada! Sorry! If I were anywhere near I’d be knocking your door down for the work.

  2. What a real pain in the ass. There must be someone near you. Keep googling it and see what happens.

  3. So frustrating when you encounter incompetent or just plain rude people never getting back to you. Keep trying, I’m sure you’ll find someone.

  4. I betcha KC or somewhere in Missouri. Architectural Salvage might know of someone. Perhaps restoration genius lsimilar to yourself with an interest in late 19th C wood finishes.

  5. Just googled above suggestions—KCMO 19th C painted wood finishes or finishers

    This was intriguing— articles 4/12/2016 “Finishing Basics for woodwork & floors.” —“decorative painting cunningly simulates figured wood.” 18th & 19th C “graining”

    KC Times 7/10/1966–“late 19th C Victorian” — “Touches of tortoise shell, old yellow tole lamps & dark brown wood finishes deepened sense of elegance…” (perhaps an area artisan mentioned?)

    “What wood finish was used in Victorian homes?”—

    Painted wood—history & conservation— The Getty
    Museum Conservation — Smithsonian
    Harp Gallery— – library

    Architectural Salvage, 2045 Broadway, KCMO 64108 816.283.3740
    Perhaps they might be able to help?

    Dawn Rocco might be on to something with the right resources…

  6. There might be a set of parlor furniture you are interested in on EBTH? If I was better using computers I would post it. “Late Victorian circa 1890’s”….bidding ends Monday April 23 at 9pm

  7. When a business doesn’t return calls, hyperlinks to websites are broken and not fixed, voice mail message recordings aren’t professionally done, those are huge red flags to me and I don’t bother doing business with them. Seriously, if they can’t manage their business and image in a professional manner, then chances are very great their work is not professional, either.

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