The Cross House
During the last many months, as my thoughts have turned to creating an Airbnb on the second floor of the Cross House, I started looking at period-correct bedroom suites.
I have a thing for matching suites.
It develops that there are a LOT of suites out there! Who knew? But what would be best for the 1894 Cross House? I was not interested in, say, an 1860s suite or a 1915 suite. I wanted a suite which would buttress the 1894 aesthetic of the house.
Looking at so many suites was kinda fun. Kinda like a test of wits. For, while Bo Sullivan would, in an instant, be able to date whatever suite he glanced at, for me this was a challenge. I would ponder ponder ponder images and wonder: Is this early 1890s? Or early 1900s? Or mid-1880s? I enjoy this kind of knowledge challenge.
Another concern, and a significant one, was finding sets which matched, ah, the quality of the house. The Cross House cost $18,000 when new. This was a lot for the era, but not a crazy lot. In the 1890s one could buy a two-story home for less than $5,000. Indeed, most houses of the era cost quite a bit less than $5,000. But one could also buy mansion-grade palaces for $50,000 or twice or triple that. Or more.
These thoughts guided me. I did not want a set which might have been ideal for, say, a $75,000 house. Or a $3,000 house. No, I wanted something fancy but not too fancy. Or too plain. I wanted something appropriate to an $18,000 house built in 1894.
This particular concern results from countless old houses which are, today, unconcerned, decoratively, with such concerns. I see modest Victorian-era houses now rich with wildly expensive Bradbury & Bradbury wallpapers covering every surface. I see modest houses now rich with furnishings which would have been, in the late 19th-century, only seen in mansions. I see modest houses now rich with mansion-grade lighting.
To me, this super-sizing approach, which is common, creates a kind of disconnect in my mind and I am uncomfortable when viewing the current decor of most old houses. It is interesting that I do not recall ever seeing a single article about decorating an old house in both a period-correct manner and budget-correct.
And these thoughts informed my search for suites.
On eBay, I looked at hundreds of suites and finally distilled this to three sets which captured my special attention.
It was fun shopping. But I purchased nothing. And likely will not for some time. The bedrooms of the Cross House all need to be rewired, all the bathrooms need to be redone and replumbed, and only then will the decorating commence.
But what fun such commencement will be!