Architect Charles W. Squires designed the Cross House in 1893, and the house was completed in 1894. Squires designed the grand stair so that one walked up four steps, onto a landing, and then turned left to go upstairs. In short, a L-shaped walk upstairs.
…yet this is what was built, a U-shaped spatial sequence.
As built. So, why the change from the original drawings? When was the change made? These have been questions of immense curiosity to me. Now, note the landing? Last week I crawled under it, and this allows a peek into the framing of the adjacent wall. I always enjoy enjoy peeking into framing. You do, too, right?
While laying down under the landing, I pointed a flashlight into the framing. And noticed an intensely curious detail. Why was there CURVED framing hidden inside a wall????????
And the same curious curved framing was up at the ceiling. WHAT????????? The framing is totally hidden.
It took me a while to figure out the answer. I do not have the original floors plans for the first floor of the house but there are select elevations. So, this is what Squires designed. Note the corner to the right. It…is…curved! CURVED!
And the curved corner was, golly, obviously built. And I had no idea! It is now evident that the staircase design was changed AFTER the Cross House was under construction. So, the WHEN of the change has now been answered. But why????????? Although such historical questions are quite vexing, it is a thrill learning yet more about the Cross House!
In summation, the corner with the missing plaster was supposed to be a sweeping curve. The curve, in fact, was framed out. Then covered over. Where it remained hidden for 122-years. Fascinating. I love this kind of stuff.
I know what I am going to do.
When the stair-hall is restored, I will create a small glass “window” at the corner. The window will reveal the curved framing, artfully lighted with an LED bulb, and an explanation typed up and framed inside the wall.