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 cool would it be to have the original papers re-installed after 120-years?

What I found:


Wall paper.



Wall frieze.



The ceiling paper.


OK! So that is an update.

I have doing research into having the papers reproduced. As part of this endeavor, I contacted Bo Sullivan, whom I have known for several years. Bo wears many hats, and all related to old houses. Obviously, a must know kinda guy! Bo also started a company called Bolling & Company, which sells antique wallpaper fragments mounted as art. Cool idea. Gorgeous stuff.

Bolling specializes in the work of M. H. Birge & Sons, a Buffalo-based company which produced wallpaper from 1834 to 1982. At the time the Cross House was built, Birge was producing luscious, high-quality papers.

Well, look what Bo found. Scroll WAY down (I am delaying the unveiling for dramatic effect):


























Courtesy Historic New England


ABOVE: My wall paper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am agog!


Astounding! THERE it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bo found the sample in the collection of Historic New England.

AND I LOVE IT! Interestingly, from what remains in the house I would never have guessed that the “shields” were asymmetrical. Cool. I am an asymmetrical kinda guy. My paper also had a silver ground, and not the green in the sample.

The paper was patented in 1893, the year before the Cross House was built.

I knew I had enough of the ceiling paper to recreate it. Now I have enough of the wall paper to recreate it. Whoee! The frieze? Ah, no.

But now I am hopeful! It is out there somewhere! The hunt begins!

Thanks Bo!



I contact Bo and said: “Hey! I have some wallpaper scraps. Can you help me?”

Now, Bo is a Birge nut, oops, aficionado. The man LOVES Birge.

Well, he very kindly looked at my pitiful scraps. Then a lightbulb went off. And Bo got really really really excited. Are these, could it be possible, can these scraps be by…BIRGE?

I would love to have seen his face when he confirmed Birge.

You know, I so love a good nut, oops, aficionado.


  1. David Wallis on November 27, 2016 at 3:18 am

    Congratulations! [pops champagne cork]

  2. Sandra Lee on March 22, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Wallpaper wonderment! Bo is amazing! What a great friend & aficionado! The wallpaper is so beautiful and to find enough scraps. That is just the ticket. Way to go Ross!

  3. Dorothee on March 12, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    I sure hope you are able to paper the walls with it. I really dislike old houses done using mere paint on all the walls, usually a dark ‘red’ or ‘green’. Yuck! Old residences should be crammed to the brim with seating, side tables, figurines, paintings, potted palms/ferns, embroidery, a piano, fringed/frilly curtains, candelabras, doilies, statues, and of course BUSY WALLPAPERS and carpet patterns. Tables should be groaning under the weight of 4 drinking vessels, 8 pieces of silver, plates stacked upon other plates PER PERSON, all surrounding a voluptuous centerpiece. The height of wealth was demonstrated by the obscene quantity of ornate STUFF. Minimalism = poverty. I hope you furnish at least the receiving room/parlor authentically, since you are going to so much trouble to be authentic in every other manner with this enormous undertaking. I can’t think of anything more fascinating than working on that aspect of the project! (You’ll probably be able to get an antique upright piano for FREE nowadays, just sayin)

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