The Cross House

Inching Along

Shingles up to the small window are now installed, and partially under the arched opening!


The wood on the lower arch is in poor condition. The outer trim is salvageable but the flat wide piece between the facing trim is…


…shot. Luckily, it proved to be quite thin, like 1/4-inch thick, so I should be able to find some thin oak to replace the bad section with.


This week, the already installed shingles will get painted. Then, the scaffolding will get another level, and this upper section can get re-shingled.


This corner has seemed endless due to the massive amount of work of, basically, wholly rebuilding it. At first, I simply thought it needed some missing shingles replaced!

I should not however have been surprised. Everything under this second-floor level was 100% rebuilt in 2014, and I mean everything: all the framing and even the sill!

So, I am greatly looking forward to getting OUT of the corner!


And this is next! (Click to enlarge.) While the shingles don’t look that bad, I am gonna bet they will all need replacing. And who knows what horrors are lurking under. I think the scaffolding will be erected over to the left, with a “bridge” built to span the porte-cochère roof. Also, because of the south sun, I will need to build a kind of room in front of whole upper south wall, faced with tarp, to protect myself and the tender new shingles from the sun.



27 Responses to Inching Along

  1. How great to see the progress! Really coming along! Your heart will feel so good once the paint goes on.

  2. I have never realized the the bottom of the horseshoe openings on the upper porch are no more than shin height…that’s ah, scary. Are you planning on any sort of railing to remedy that?

      • There is for new construction, but for heritage buildings you are generally allowed to restore them to their original height.

        People falling out of porches is pretty rare, I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s porches falling off the house with people on them that you have to worry about, and Ross’s careful restoration and replacement of the wood will remedy that.

    • Hi, Cody!

      The original drawings don’t show any railings.

      The big arched opening facing south doesn’t seem terribly dangerous because there is a roof right there.

      The arched opening to the east is very dangerous, and I will be installing a very plain pipe rail.

      • I was thinking that for the sake of consistency on all the other porches you would want to have more spindles and railing made to match.

        • Golly, no!

          That would confuse the historical narrative. People would assume the new rail/spindles were part of the original design.

          • Hi Ross,

            I had a relative with the exact same feature on a house in Boston. I was told it was called a fake porch. It was on the south side of the house and the real purpose of the porch was to shade the rooms on the south side. Yes we did sneak out onto the porch from the side window.

  3. Hi Ross, are the round openings original to the design of the house, or added later? Have seen plenty of balconies on UK houses this old, but this seems pretty unusual in comparison! I guess we didn’t get to build much in wood frame and shingle though due to the weather….

    Great to see the progress, thanks Ross!

  4. Hi Ross,
    Kudos on the amazing work and your eye for detail. Oak for the arch? Is that what the original species was? I have never had much luck with oak lasting outdoors. The grain opens up and then the paint pops off. I usually use cypress, redwood or cedar for my outdoor stuff. If I need an arch, I make a form by laying out the shape on a piece of plywood and make a bunch of book end looking supports to screw to the plywood on the inside of the curve. I spread waterproof glue over layers of the thinnest stock I can get and sandwich them together using lots of clamps to the supports. Another technique I have used if kerf cutting on the back side.

    • Hi, Aaron!

      I mentioned oak because I can get thin oak locally.

      With two coats of oil-base primer, and two top coats, I am unconcerned about the grain.

  5. Just curious; was there a railing between the stone bases that the porte-cochère columns sit on? I know it would not be necessary, but it would match the porch…

  6. Ross: I have a question about the shingles. Maybe you’ve answered this before and I just missed it. But I’m curious: How do you determine which shingles need replacement versus which can be salvaged?

  7. I continue to be amazed: by the innate gorgeousness of the Cross House, and your love, dedication and EFFORT to restore it! So help me, I *have* to get to Kansas sometime before too long…

  8. Dang, I finally got the hang of this blog. Contrary to Star Trek, time is linear and starting this with the “Meet My” section dropped me into a black hole in which time had no meaning. I think my first post, 3 weeks ago, was made on a page from 2015. I asked for photos of the stairs not knowing that in the subsequent pages, you have posted 2,846 photos. Ugh. Anyway, there is a place, SUCH a place in which I’d spend all of my vacations, called “The Wooden Nickel.” It is an architectural salvage place, nay an enormous architectural salvage place, in Cincinnati, Ohio. They may sell online at Ebay or such, but there is no way they could list all the stuff in the many enormous floors and basement of their ancient building. Anyway, it is far for you but maybe they have lovely staff who would deal with you by phone or email. Oh, and I love this blog and have read every single post save the ones on politics. No need to bring storm clouds into my happy place.

    • That was a convoluted way of telling you of a place whose website has a menu item specifically for gas/electric lighting.

  9. Dear Ross,
    of all the magnificent, gorgeous spots in this fabulous house of yours, I like this arched porch the most. Oh how do I look forward to see this finished.
    Still dreaming about to visit the Cross House. Coming from Vienna, Austria, this might need a bit of planning and resources that I might otherwise invest in my own house. Still hoping for a stem cell conference in Kansas City 🙂
    Warm greetings from Vienna

    • Oh, Lis! What a thrill it would be to meet you in Emporia!!!!!!!!

      I visited Vienna in 1985! And had an extraordinary dinner, the best ever, at the Hotel Bristol!

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