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.




  1. Dan Goodall-Williams on April 21, 2019 at 5:36 pm

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

  2. Jenine on April 21, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    I see there are porch posts that will need some loving in the future? What’s the lead time for getting those made?

    • Ross on April 21, 2019 at 11:11 pm

      I need four columns. Ordering this week!!!!!!!!

      They will take about a month. I hope!

      I have the bases and capitals.

  3. Cody H on April 21, 2019 at 11:13 pm

    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?

    • Dan Goodall-Williams on April 22, 2019 at 2:45 am

      I wondered the same thing. Pretty odd, and I would think there must be some type of code involved.

      • Kit on April 22, 2019 at 8:45 am

        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.

        • Mike on April 22, 2019 at 9:19 am

          Great answer, Kit! 🙂

    • Ross on April 22, 2019 at 9:27 am

      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.

      • Cody H on April 23, 2019 at 10:39 pm

        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.

        • Ross on April 24, 2019 at 9:07 am

          Golly, no!

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

          • Linda M on February 11, 2020 at 10:03 am

            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.

  4. angela on April 22, 2019 at 1:14 am

    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!

    • Ross on April 22, 2019 at 9:28 am

      Hi, Angela!

      The arched opening are original, and are shown on the original drawings.

  5. Aaron W on April 22, 2019 at 9:01 am

    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.

    • Ross on April 22, 2019 at 9:29 am

      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.

  6. Mike on April 22, 2019 at 9:28 am

    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…

    • Ross on April 22, 2019 at 9:30 am

      Hi, Mike!

      There’s no evidence of a railing in that location, and none shown on the original drawings.

  7. Barb Sanford on April 22, 2019 at 10:04 am

    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?

  8. JCF on April 23, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    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…

  9. Lorrie Huey on April 24, 2019 at 1:12 am

    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.

    • Lorrie Huey on April 24, 2019 at 11:18 pm

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

  10. GayHermit on April 26, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    (Sung in the voice of Dory.)
    “Just keep shingling!”
    “Just keep shingling!”
    Great Job!!!

  11. Lis on April 29, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    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

    • Ross on May 5, 2019 at 1:32 am

      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!

      • Lis on May 6, 2019 at 4:17 pm

        Hey, if you ever happen to have the opportunity to come to Vienna again, I gladly show you around the less touristic but more interesting spots of the city.
        Promise an extraordinary dinner at Casa Lis as well.
        Cheers from Vienna

        • Ross on May 7, 2019 at 12:01 am

          Lis! You tantalize so!

          • Lis on May 7, 2019 at 3:31 pm

            Known to keep my promises!

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