The Cross House

Freak-Out Floors

In 2014, when I recreated the original expansive opening of the 1894 grand stair, I laid down temporary flooring surrounding the stair.


Like this OSB board on the north landing.


And ditto on the east landing. The boards adjacent to the OSB board appear to be original. Since November I have been on a mission to “put back” the house by reinstalling trim and walls and pantry bits, etc. Today I decided to fuss with floors! So, I pulled up the above OSB boards and…


…shrieked. Yikes! What a mess. I could hardly contain my desperate desire to FIX THIS!


And, a short while later, all the while listening to the new gobsmacking book, Fire and Fury, order was restored to the galaxy. Ahhhhh, Ross happy. Ross happy.


On the west landing, under more OSB board, was this horror. Really, an utter horror. Geez. Now, remind me: WHY did I buy this wreak of a house???????? Oh well. The 1894 joists were repeatedly cut through to install plumbing (EEK!) and then I dramatically cut through joists in their entirety to install AC ducts to the round bedroom. But, worry not, I offset this structural OMG with a new beam under. So, all is well (with at least my change). During the next few days I will repair the other damage, before laying down new sub-flooring.


This is a kinda cool image. You are looking DOWN. In the upper right is the cast-iron waste line for the 1929 kitchens (later a 1950 bathroom). This will soon be gone. You can also see my new AC duct. And, can you see the curved wall of the telephone closet under? You are actually looking down INTO the closet!



18 Responses to Freak-Out Floors

  1. Why did you buy this wreck of a house Ross? Because it needed someone exactly like you. I don’t think there are many people in this world with your skill set and attention to detail who could perform the magic required to bring Cross House back to life. And even though I live in a rented unit in Australia I am so glad you are doing what you do. Because Cross House is such a gem it must be restored she us a special place.

  2. It does look quite severe, but I’m sure you will have it reinforced and reassembled soon. Probably better than original, as you’ve noted, adequate load paths and structural supports were not always thoughtfully provided in all old homes (as you’ve discovered yourself).

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who cleans up building cavity spaces. I had to open some walls in our kitchen and re-route and insulate some plumbing this weekend, due to the sloppy work from the 15-year-old kitchen remodel. Apparently, they thought routing all the plumbing, including dishwasher lines in an uninsulated exterior wall was a great idea. In the process, I corrected other wrongs, and cleaned up the mess and debris they left under the cabinet floors. It feels good knowing those spaces are clean, even if I never see them again 🙂

  3. We will continually remind you why you bought the house— KARMA! You were intended & no one else on the planet would have your expertise, attention to detail, safety, codes nor such vision!!!! Every post is another layer of wonderment! The view down thru the bowels of Cross House was so fun!! You were waiting your whole life for this project!! You said yourself—have not felt that way since— that feeling of waiting & waiting for something expectantly!

  4. Listening to Fire and Fury? Are you sure that’s good for your blood pressure? Anyway, with any luck, he’ll get bored and decide to just quit.

  5. It’s a very, very good thing that you are a master of structural joists. Would hate to think of you falling through to the basement like a comedy routine of Laurel and Hardy.

    • OOOOOOOOOOOOPS. I didn’t mean to post that, I was just playing around. Like with fire, when playing with the internet, you can get burned.

      • Ross and the Cross House entertains and educates me. They fill me with amazement. The Cross House with its beauty and Ross with his skill, quality of work, vision, tenacity, good-heartedness… and his good looks too. Hahaha everybody say “Aye”!

  6. Glad to know I’m not the only that cleans these spaces. Reminded me of cleaning my crawl space that was a trash can, scrap wood and plaster and lath graveyard from previous remodels. In these forgotten spaces I have found many clues to the former detail of my 1874 colonial. Working exterior shutter hinges, shattered pieces of the original 9 inch tall detailed baseboards, pieces of the walnut interior window casings, pieces of the original wide plank heart pine flooring. All of which was ripped out in the early 90s by a previous owner. Luckily they left two second story rooms with the original flooring and didn’t touch stair case. The closest place to me that sells reclaimed wide plank heart pine flooring wants $10-$15/linear foot! If people had any idea what it costs to put original detail back in a home…oh well, that ship has sailed. You are very lucky to have so much of the detail intact.

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