Favorite Books

I love books and own a lot of them. Indeed, one of the reasons I purchased the Cross House was because it had a library. For my whole life, the idea of an entire room dedicated just for books seemed an impossible dream.

Two of my favorite books are, unsurprisingly, about restoration.

These two books had a significant impact on my decision to buy the Cross House, for the books detail restorations which are truly miraculous. Structures which were profoundly devastated by fire were brought back. Reading these books countless times since the 1990s has changed how I see things. When I first toured the Cross House when thinking about its purchase, it was, yes, a wreck, but all I could think was: Well, it’s a billion times better than what happened to Uppark and Windsor!

And daunting seemed doable.


Uppark is a 17th-century house in England. It was devastated by fire in 1989, and it was assumed the house would be demolished. Instead, it was meticulously resurrected, although this effort led to furious national debate. Many people thought the idea absurd. However, when the restoration was completed, writer Simon Jenkins declared that: “Uppark is more than a house restored. It is an argument won”. I love the quote. The book is available on Amazon. I cannot recommend it enough. It is beautifully written and filled with images which will make your heart stop. And start. Here is a nice article.


In 1992, Windsor Castle suffered from a horrific fire. Debate raged around England with many people advocating that the ruined rooms be recreated in a simple modern style, while a minority argued for restoration. In large part because of the tremendous success at Uppark, the latter course of action prevailed. This is another well-written book packed with extraordinary images.


Clandon Park, England, suffered a devastating fire in 2015. Again, the same old IT CAN’T BE RESTORED arguments were trotted out.


The Marble Hall at Clandon, pre-fire.


And post-fire.


The current plans for Clandon Park include meticulous restorations of the Marble Hall, and other rooms. The top floor, wholly destroyed inside, will be recreated as open, modern art galleries.

I greatly look forward to a book on the completed work.






  1. Sandra Lee on February 26, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Wonderful suggestions! I love love love coffee table books about restoration of architecturally & historically significant structures.

    Thanks so much for this— it sorta explains some of your inspiration regarding Cross House.

  2. Derek Walvoord on February 26, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    That Uppark book is great! I’ll have to check out the Windsor one.

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