The Cross House

I Spy…

…something new.


A second column! (Note the artistically arranged image with tree branches!)






AFTER. The non-original stone was removed between the piers.


It is a THRILL seeing the two stone piers stand, again, alone as originally intended. And to see columns again? SQUEE!!!!!!!! Columns!

Only the hand-carved capitals of the columns are original. All else is new, exactly replicating the originals.



When I first saw the Cross House in the 1990s, many of the porch columns were missing, replaced by 6×6 posts or 2x4s.

For years and years and years I would drive by the house waiting for the missing columns to appear, magically resurrected.

But the magic never happened.

I grew ever more worried. Would I drive by one day only to discover that even the few original columns, with their delightful and unique carved capitals, had also vanished, replaced by more 6×6 posts?

Oh, the horror.

After purchasing the house in 2014, I discovered many of the missing columns and capitals moldering away in the back yard. I brought all this inside, and let everything dry for many months. I would, on occasion, even caress the sad bits and whisper to them. “You’ll be fine soon! Better than ever! Just hold on. Just hold on!”

Several capitals were obviously missing, so I had a mold made of an original capital and new capitals were created out of resin. These were installed on the west face of the L-shaped porch in early 2015.

Four columns were missing. In 2014, I had Dr. Doug make new bases. Last month, I picked up new cedar columns which were turned in Kansas City. The price was, ah, unsettling.

Two of the new columns are now in place, and soon the remaining two will be, too. This means that after many many many years, the twenty columns which were in place in 1894 will be, again, in place again.

My excitement is considerable.


7 Responses to I Spy…

  1. Your excitement is considerable, and contagious! My house is sort of at a standstill right now, so I look forward to your progress reports even more than usual. The north face has been my pick for a long time, but as the anticipation for the south face grows, it may unseat the north as my personal favorite. Maybe because it is in the worst condition, but even little things make such an impact on the south side…and I look forward to seeing the “temporary” steps replaced with ones that will complement the house. I know you plan to go with wood steps as originally installed, do you intend for them to curve out from the porch? Our front and side steps originally flared out from the porch, starting out 4′ wide at the porch floor and flaring out to just over 6′. My cousin, a retired carpenter, used an original picture to replicate the curved handrails from 1886, and they really make the steps stand out. I know that yours did not originally have handrails, but one thing to consider is that wood steps ice over much quicker than stone, and being painted wood, are twice as slick. Old bones don’t bounce, so I think that Mr Squires would not be offended at the addition of a rail or two here…

  2. I gotta say, I read your blog for inspiration and you have never failed me! I bought a Sears & Roebuck house in Alabama with the intent of restoring it and YOU and your patience for doing it right over several years and your attention to detail thrills me and gives me hope!

    Thank you for sharing your journey!!

  3. Hi Ross

    I love what you are doing here. I worry and fret about old houses too. I love that you brought the columns inside to dry. I just did that with my real wicker porch furniture after so much rain and humidity.

    You are very fortunate that you have the skill to do this fine work. Our almost 100 year old house has just been painted. It is in the final stages. Our long-time, excellent painter is no longer available. I went with a recommendation, but I am GC’Ing and so many details are just not right. It makes a huge difference in the look of the house. Inside window sills, door edges need real attention. I think of you and your fine work often. This painter does not know what is coming. He needs to learn about crisp! It’s all in the details and I will work with him until it’s right.

    Thanks for the inspiration and enjoyment.

Leave a Response

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.