The Cross House

Golly! What a Day!

Today I had to drive to Kansas City to pick up the custom-milled exterior trim for the Cross House.


The trim is the water table. This is a two-part trim which goes at the bottom of the lapsiding, and is intended to throw water coming down the walls away from the foundation. It also looks really good! After 123-years the original water table was pretty shot.


While in the big city I realized, thrillingly, that I could hunt for pairs of little chairs on little wheels! Whoee!!!!!!!! I saw this sweet thing but, alas, just one. And I think, think, it is more 1880s than early 1890s.


Very much liked this, even though it is SO not what I was looking for! But there was a pair! I have no idea of their age though. 1920s?


This captured my special attention for the center of the parlor. I have always intended a round table for the room. While this was the right size and well complements the dining table, I have long had something rather different in mind. Plus, I can’t afford it right now!


While driving home I decided to stop in Ottawa to look at more antiques. This building also captured my special attention. I love it when a building celebrates a corner.


I rarely go to museums because just walking around towns and cities is an endless visual feast.


While in Ottawa, I stopped in an antique store. Looking around I saw a little chair on little wheels. It was sweet. But no pair. As I turned to walk away I saw its mate a few feet away.

I froze.

Before me were two little Victorian-era chairs on little wheels. Zounds!!!!!!!!

But….but…tempering my great excitement was that they seemed a bit earlier than the 1894 Cross House, and they were not of high quality.


Then I looked at the price. Scroll down for the reveal….





















For the pair.



So I purchased them! Of course!


And here they now sit! The sofa and upholstered chairs are HUGE and well suited to the scale of the parlor. For some reason though I had this funny idea of including two petite chairs which would pull up kinda close to the still-to-come center round table.


The chairs, sigh, need to be $$$$$$ reupholstered. So, not really $85! This also forces another huge learning curve. WHAT would the right fabric be????????


You see what I mean about the quality? Not great but OK. I figure that when I eventually come across the perfect pair this set will go into one of the bedrooms.


While driving home the car was wholly filled with the intoxicating aroma of fresh bread! A dozen loaves! I think I gained ten pounds just from inhaling!





19 Responses to Golly! What a Day!

  1. Ross,these are lovely and steal! The squared shape of the back gives a masculine air, and the skirt of carved wood under the seat almost perfectly matches that on the fireplace mantel. I think you’d be able to cover these yourself using the staple gun and well applied trim. I can see them either side of a little round table in the bay or perhaps in the receiving room off the entrance hall?

    Looking forward to seeing them in their new finery soon!

  2. Hi Ross,
    Don’t you think the original residents of the Cross house might have had some furniture that was not brand new? I kind of don’t get your objection to furniture that’s a smidge older than 1894. I know when we move into a new house we don’t get all new furniture made that year . . . Also, gimme bread.

    • Hi Bethany!

      There is no evidence as to how the Cross family furnished the house.

      Because the house though was SO up-to-date I kinda think at least the main rooms might have had new up-to-date furnishings.

      However, I am not focused on trying to imagine what the Cross’ did but rather to reinforce the era the house was built.

      Aso, I ain’t sharin’ my bread!

  3. I think your chairs were a steal as well! You don’t necessarily have to use an antique fabric…just something that complements the other upholstery in the room…and whoever recovers it, ask for a couple of throw cushions that you can tie in with the couch. Or just put away for future use.

    I’m glad you found a pair!!

  4. For a minute there, I thought you’d made a quick trip to our Canadian capital city – also called Ottawa. Congratulations on the furniture find!

  5. The chairs are beautiful & I LOVE the gray velvet upholstery. Very cool with the dark finish. I’m hoping you reupholster in a similar shade.

  6. A nice pair of Eastlake parlor chairs! The set probably originally included a settee, an armchair and maybe a footstool. The wheels are on the front only so delicate ladies would only have to lift the chairs by the back and roll the chair up to the center table for tea, shared needlework or (quelle horreur!) a game of cards! I have a pair from the same era, though they are ebonized and gilt. When I got them in the 1970s they still had the original maroon cotton velvet upholstery with horse hair padding. Obviously, I’ve had them reupholstered–twice. But I maintained the original cording detail. The era-appropriate detailing gives the right feel, and allowed me to use brand spanking new gold striped silk, which makes me happy 🙂 Let me know if you want me to send you a picture.

  7. And some Eastlake is in your time window. it started to get popular in,the 80s but didn’t really bloom until the 90s. I have two walnut bookcases salvaged from a demolished mansion in Portland maine and a ratty chair picked out of the trash. it was finicky Victorian but headed toward Arts and Crafts.

    • The Eastlake style was popular during the 1870s and 1880s. It was waning in popularity when the Cross House was being designed and built in the early 1890s, but was still very much being produced.

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