The Cross House
I am no longer having fun with furniture.
My two previous posts detailed the criteria I have set for selecting antiques for the 1894 Cross House:
- That each piece be period-correct to the house. So, early 1890s.
- That each piece complement the house, in terms of quality and style.
This all seems innocuous enough but most readers either did not agree with me, did not understand what I was talking about, or got mad at what I wrote. Really mad.
So, I hope the following is…helpful.
The Cross House was, at $18,000, an expensive house. But it was not crazy expensive. It is not a grand mansion. And I take this into consideration when selecting antiques. Any antiques chosen should be of a higher quality than would have been chosen for, say, a $4,000 house, but not so extravagant than would have been appropriate for, say, a $75,000 house.
The mantel in my parlor (above) was selected from a catalog. It was not, relatively speaking, too expensive.
The chair in my parlor (above) was also likely purchased from a catalog. It also was not, relatively speaking, too expensive.
And this is important to me.
The chair is, too, from the early 1890s. So, it’s aesthetic aligns with the house. The chair complements the mantel and trim in the parlor. And I really like this.
The blue chair is decades older than the Cross House. It is a wholly different aesthetic. It was vastly more expensive than the chair now in my parlor.
Again though, try and visualize the blue chair in the parlor image rather than the existing green chair.
The blue chair would compete for attention with the mantel and trim in the room. Indeed, I believe it would compete with even the stained-glass.
There are zillions of antiques out there. Rather than just purchase any ol’ antique, my thought is: why not create a narrow criteria? Why not make the extra effort to find pieces which truly complement the Cross House? To buttress its historical timeline?
To me, this just makes a lot of sense but y’all seem to think otherwise!
In the 19th-century, antiques were not valued. Across America, countless new houses were filled with new furniture. In the White House, it was routine to auction off the “old” stuff and replace it with new stuff. Yes, people also brought their old stuff into their new homes, but this was often motivated by sentimental attachment, or determined by budget. And if budget was a determining factor, this would have been usually only evidenced in very modest homes.
But the Cross House was not a modest home. It was, rather, intended as a showplace. It was fashionable, too. And it is unlikely that the Cross family dragged their old furniture into the main rooms of their new showplace. And this would have been a normal practice.
The White House is, of course, special but its decor reflects current trends across America. It rarely creates trends. And the trend in America for a great long time was a desire for the new. New houses! New clothes! New furnishings! A preservation consciousness only really took hold in the 1960s, and this has continued to grow. Today, the White House actively seeks out pieces which were discarded during most of its existence.
Oh, and just for fun…