The Cross House

Looking Back. Taking Stock.

NOTE: This is my longest ever post. Make sure you have some time. And a glass of wine. And, this post will be much better on a computer rather than a smart phone.

NOTE: The images may take a while to download.

 

2014

From my very first blog post:

One thought pushed me over the edge of uncertainty about buying the Cross House.

Just before I signed a contract I wondered: When was the last time I did something crazy? I had not expected the thought; it just popped into my head.

When I was younger I did a lot a crazy things (no, I will not let you read my diary). In retrospect, many of these actions almost wrecked my life, but some, some, proved deeply nourishing. And, you know, even some of the disasters make me, today, smile when I think: I did what? I admit to a certain pride at the impressive, glittering foolishness of some of my actions.

In 2014 I was fifty-seven. As I have grown ever older I have also grown ever more cautious. This dynamic is not unique to me, but…should I, could I, would I be willing to, for perhaps one last time, joyfully jump off a cliff and toward…?

The last crazy thing I did was in 1996. Had eighteen years really now since passed? The thought stunned me. Eighteen years! Was I now frozen in a kind of old-age conservatism?

At fifty-seven was there enough boldness left in me to fuel THE craziest thing I had ever done?

The question stopped me cold.

The answer catapulted me off that cliff.

I have no sense. And, obviously, I am immune to a rational sensibility.

Funny though, since jumping — arms outstretched, a radiant smile blazing across my face — I feel many years younger.

Incaution may be a magic elixir.

 

2019

This is year #6 of owning the Cross House. This awareness surprises me as it seems like yesterday when I first started working on the house.

Because I have restored numerous houses over the decades, I knew not to create any sort of hard timeline. My only goal was simple: Each month the house had to get better. That’s been my only real self-imposed goal.

Still, had somebody told me in 2014 that I would end up painting the exterior by myself I would have burst out laughing at such an idiotic idea. Yet…

Had somebody told me in 2014 that by 2019 I would not have spent a night in the house I would have scoffed at such a possibility. Yet…

Had somebody told me in 2014 that by 2019 the carriage house would be essentially abandoned all that time I would have shaken my head in disbelief. Yet…

So, while I had no fixed idea of how and when things would happen, I have been nonetheless surprised by a lot of things.

What helps is when I occasionally wander about the house taking stock. Today, I thought I would invite y’all on the Taking Stock Tour!

 

March, 2014. When I purchased the house.

 

Note the fire escape to the right. I removed it as it created a “slum house” kinda vibe.

 

May, 2014. Click to enlarge. Not much had happened yet save the removal of the many many many white porch ceiling fans and the white vinyl doors to the entry. Note the many missing porch columns. This freaked me out, man!

 

June, 2014. Color considerations, trying to ascertain the original colors. Yikes! Think what might have been!

 

Should the big cornice be all green? Or two colored? EEK! EEK! What to do? What to do?

 

Green won. Painting begins! SQUEE!!!!!!!!

 

August, 2014. Yikes! I mean, double YIKES!

 

October, 2014.

 

The front porch, January 2015. Note the 6×6 posts holding up the roof. These had been in place for a very long time.

 

Original columns, which I found in the backyard, moldering away, resurrected via new bottoms and bases, and new top pieces.

 

This was THE most exciting thrilling joyous project during the first year. The columns are back! The columns are back!!!!!!!!

 

BEFORE. A column capital. Yikes!

 

September, 2014. Scaffolding MANIA!

 

The very old old old wood shingle tower roof.

 

May, 2016. The tower finial came down to Earth for restoration. It’s huge!

 

July, 2016. Finial restored. Note also…

 

…newly recreated “baby” finial for the octagon tower, replacing a long lost finial. This was all SO thrilling!

 

May, 2016. New roof shingles on towers and porch! This work was part of the 2015 Heritage Trust grant.

 

August, 2016. Finials in place!!!!!!!!

 

Again…March, 2014.

 

March, 2017.

 

Outer doors restored! October, 2014. See the wall sconce, and holes in the siding?

 

I made it all…

 

…go away, as none of it was original.

 

Main doors getting refinished.

 

And…DONE!

 

September, 2016. Threshold restored to oak.

 

January, 2018. After a long long long search, the original screen doors returned to the house. Hi, Kenny!

 

November, 2014.

 

March, 2015. This whole area of siding had to be replace due to a clogged gutter above.

 

And completed.

 

October, 2016. The first of the new railings went in! Exactly recreating the originals!

 

The center window? The paneled section was part of the original design, but it had already been replaced in its entirety at least once, and was now already rotted again. Why? Because it was, and always would be, a very bad idea because it did not shed water. It is a nice INTERIOR detail; it was a very bad EXTERIOR detail.

 

So, I removed it, with infilling intended to be temporary until I could devise a permanent solution. Looks weird, right?

 

January, 2017. A solution is underway.

 

The solution, completed. All the new trim is PVC, so it will never rot!

 

August, 2017. All the secondary roofs have been redone. The tower finial has been restored. The lost finial on the octagon tower has been recreated. The porch railings are starting to be recreated.

 

September, 2017. In the fall, I began a process of “enhancing” the color scheme. The results are seen in the porch gable, and on the column capitals and bases. Note also the new shocking porch ceiling color.

 

The enhanced capitals. I’m in love with my capitals to an unnatural degree. Each is hand-carved and they all subtly differ.

 

The enhanced columns. The shafts have been coated in high-gloss clear poly, a subtle enhancement.

 

BEFORE.

 

AFTER. November, 2017.

 

The south kitchen “niche” was entirely rebuilt in 2104. All the studs, sheathing, and sill were replaced.

 

April, 2017. Restored kitchen windows reinstalled. Entire window frame rebuilt.

 

The pantry corner, 2014. Note the three AC condensers.

 

May, 2017. The same corner.

 

December, 2016. Pantry corner. Rot and termites, oh my!

 

The first 3-story Christmas tree! I have done this every year since. It seems to thrill a lot of people.

 

April, 2015. After the completion of the west front and tower, it was time to tackle the Great North Wall.

 

What a mess. Eek!  Note how porch roof is pushed up.

 

April, 2016. Work on the Great North Wall commences.

 

Long lost medallions recreated for south-facing “diamond brooch”. I even reused the original nails!

 

The “diamond brooch” before.

 

AFTER. July, 2016. Note the medallions.

 

September, 2016. Repair work.

 

AFTER. It still looks this good three years later.

 

BEFORE. The window to the telephone closet.

 

October, 2016. Most of the siding surrounding the window is new cedar.

 

October, 2016. The north porch.

 

October, 2017. Porch roof has been leveled.

 

July, 2017. Reinstalled restored stained-glass windows for Long Bedroom. North facade.

 

July, 2017. North facade.

 

BEFORE.

 

October, 2017.

 

December, 2017.

 

July, 2018. With the completion of the Great North Wall, work resumed in the NE corner.

 

August, 2018. BEFORE.

 

AFTER.

 

August, 2018. The NE corner is done!!!!!!!!

 

Squee!!!!!!!!

 

August, 2015. The east facade.

 

December, 2016. Work progresses on East facade.

 

November, 2017.

 

June, 2017.

 

BEFORE. On the east dining room wall, a window was converted into a door in the 1960s.

 

August, 2018. AFTER.

 

October, 2018. Work begins in the SE corner. I had no idea of the perils which awaited.

 

May, 2019. And still working away on the SE corner 14-years later.

 

July, 2019. After what was surely 328 years, the upper section of the SE corner is done.

 

January, 2016. This is when the first phase of the 2015 Heritage Trust grant began, with the built-in gutters relined.

 

This second-floor stair hall originally had a very large staircase. In 1929…

 

…this was reduced in half.

 

In 2014, I removed the 1929 wall, and….

 

…recreated the original size of the staircase.

 

January, 2018. I largely reconstructed the original railings. Some had been stored way since 1929!

 

February, 2016. New beam being installed in entry hall.

 

Beam underway.

 

Restoring all the zillion original wood sashes seemed overwhelming in 2014. But…

 

…today, 95% of the clear glass sashes have been restored.

 

August, 2015. Lost sashes were recreated.

 

March, 2016, Installed. I love love LOVE bringing back lost bits.

 

May, 2017. See the upper sashes, top left? These were long lost and recreated.

 

BEFORE. One of the diamond-paned windows from the main pantry.

 

March, 2017. Installed.

 

A basement window, punctured by AC lines. Oh, the horror.

 

The other side. THE HORROR!

 

September, 2018. AFTER!!!!!!!! I had the AC condensers moved away from the house, and the AC lines buried. This meant I had no AC for two summers. It was not fun!

 

BEFORE. The basement eyebrow window. This was when I first purchased the house, and I laid down in the snow to scrape off the encrusted grime.

 

September, 2018. AFTER!

 

The house has an extraordinary 43 stained-glass windows. Their condition ranged from poor (left) to ruinous (right).

 

February, 2016. Reborn! All the stain-glass restoration is part of the 2015 and 2017 Heritage Trust Grants.

 

Toooooooooo delicious!

 

July, 2016.

 

November, 2015. Stained-glass from the round tower found crashed to the ground, sucked out by a high wind.

 

June, 2016. Reborn! Thanks, Scott Hoefer!

 

Squee!!!!!!!!

 

And…back!

 

.

 

BEFORE. Stained-glass from Long Bedroom.

 

August, 2016. Reborn!

 

July, 2016. Stained-glass from telephone closet.

 

August, 2016. Reborn!

 

February, 2018. The Hexagon Bedroom windows are restored.

 

Restored stained-glass, stairhall niche.

 

November, 2018. The house is GLORIOUS at night.

 

November, 2014. In the parlor, installing….

 

..a steel beam in the ceiling. The lack of such a beam was causing the second floor and roof to literally crush the parlor bay window. Note the dark unrestored trim.

 

Parlor primed. Trim restored.

 

December, 2014. Stripping old wallpaper in parlor.

 

December, 2014. New parlor ceiling.

 

October, 2015.

 

December, 2016. I scandalized the nation by staining the 1950 oak floors in two colors.

 

.

 

April, 2017. Decoration of parlor commences!

 

May, 2017. The NE corner of the parlor. Ahhh, no.

 

June, 2017. Better, but…ahhh…no.

 

Ahhh…no.

 

Ahhh…no.

 

Ahhh…no.

 

Ahhh…no.

 

Ahhh…YES!!!!!!!! Adding the gilded leaf border…

 

…seemed to pull everything together. And the whole process, in magnificent fits and starts, only took eight months!

 

March, 2018. Remember the Great Rug Drama, as many many many rugs were photoshopped in place for consideration?

 

.

 

.

 

March, 2018. After much much MUCH ado, the parlor is completed. Ross happy. At last.

 

.

 

.

 

December, 2014. Library. The room was gutted when I purchased the house. I do not recommend wholesale gutting.

 

After.

 

All new floor in Library. Custom milled to match existing flooring.

 

October, 2015, bookshelves appear in Library.

 

February, 2017. Curtains in the Library! Thanks, Bette Davis!

 

March, 2018. Island appears. It will eventually get topped with a marble slab.

 

December, 2014. The house never had a return duct system. One was installed. It makes a HUGE difference.

 

January, 2016. MAJOR discovery that the house originally had gas AND electric. The house may have been the first in Emporia to have electricity.

 

July, 2017. Fabulous new floor registers…which nobody liked.

 

July, 2016. Stairhall niche.

 

Getting rid of “the snake” in the niche ended up being an absurdly large project.

 

March, 2018. The snake has been vanquished! Refinishing begins!

 

August, 2018. All the word refinished! The radiator has been stripped! The snake is gone! There’s a ceiling! And primer on the walls/ceiling!

 

April, 2019. Painted!

 

.

 

BEFORE pocket doors wheels.

 

AFTER! Wheels newly made from red magnesite, the original material.

 

July, 2016. Sleeping porch floor is recreated. Hi, Justin!

 

August, 2016. The upper stair landing. Restored stained-glass, lighted so they can be seen and appreciated at night to people passing by the house.

 

March, 2019. Wall surrounding triple stained-glass windows is restored.

 

December, 2016. After much thought…I cut an opening from the south hall into the butler’s pantry to improve circulation.

 

January, 2019. Three years later I changed my mind. I have all the Lincrustra and trim.

 

January, 2019. Restoration of pantry underway. Rebuilt portion is right.

 

March, 2019. Missing bits resurrected.

 

December, 2017. I began a process of reinstalling all the trim which had been removed all over the house and stored in the basement. This is the first-floor powder room. The room is still a mess but it has all its trim!

 

December, 2017. The Round Bedroom. Geez.

 

Better!

 

January, 2018. Kenny volunteered to refinish the mantel to the Round Bedroom!

 

Squee!!!!!!!! (I have the missing blue tiles.)

 

November, 2018. The Round Bedroom is rewired.

 

Squee!!!!!!!! The sconces are in exactly the 1894 position.

 

January, 2018. At last! At last! And after an extraordinary, shocking expense, the radiator system was up and running!!!!!!!! Which then immediately…

 

…leaked, damaging the ONLY finished ceiling in the entire house! FUCK!

 

January, 2018. The cat fence got underway!!!!!!!! Then the cold weather stopped the project. Then the Heritage Grant deadline forced all attention over to completing the south facade. So…things have just sat. Poo. Double poo.

 

May, 2019. Porch ceiling is recolored. New color, left. Still shocking but more subtle!

 

June, 2019. The final four columns arrive!

 

June, 2019. The stone in the center is not original.

 

AFTER.

 

July, 2019. Squee!

 

July, 2019. More column resurrection.

 

June, 2019. Non-original stone pier…

 

…removed, bringing back the “big sweep” of the curve. Fabulous! This is going to look amazing when the railing is installed!

 

August, 2019. Round windows in NE corner restored and reinstated.

 

Golly.

Golly!

I’m stunned at scanning through this overview of the past 5+ years.

Golly.

There are times when I feel that things are not moving fast enough but looking at these many many images takes my breath away at how much has been accomplished, particularly taking in the fact that so much of the work has been done by just me, and with a highly limited amount of funds.

There have been dozens and dozens of surprises along the way, but none greater than my hand-painting the titanic-sized exterior by myself. This was sooooooooo not in the cards when I purchased the house. My plan had been to work inside, restoring one room after another, and hire a painter for the exterior.

Oops.

Nonetheless, I have no regrets how things unfolded, as no painter would have done the kind of work I am doing. They would have painted rather than repaired the exterior. And applying paint is but 10% of the work required to properly restore the exterior.

 

The many images prove the merit of my patented Baby Step™ method of working: Just a tiny bit of work almost daily,,,and a lot somehow gets done.

The second most important thing? Audible books. The hours I spend working on the house are enormously eased by listening to books and podcasts. Without this wondrous creation I would have lost my mind by now!

The third most vital thing? Scaffolding. I rarely work with a ladder. They are exhausting (up down up down up down), offer no shelf space, and allow only a limited area to be worked on. Even more important, I am scared the whole time I am up on a ladder. This is just not a right way to work.

With scaffolding all these negatives vanish.

 

These past 5+ years have been extraordinary, made all the more so by having the crazy idea of blogging about the project. Sure! Why not! I had plenty of time!

Geez.

But this blog has proved the #4 most vital thing. For, while I am physically alone most of the time working on the house, I feel that I am part of a great team effort. And y’all are not shy about offering advice, criticism, sources, and historical information. And compliments!

Also, how did people restore houses before the internet? Without the internet, I would never have found Stephen, who single-handedly enabled the sliding doors to work again. The internet has allowed me to buy period-correct gas/electric lighting for the house, spend hours photoshopping hundreds of rugs into the parlor, find suppliers and rare, weird things, and on and on. In the 1970s and 80s, I relied on Old House Journal for help but the magazine was nothing compared to the internet.

 

Another big surprise is hard to explain. From day one, I have always sensed that I will not live alone in the huge house but rather that I will be coupled. I still feel this today. So, for 5+ years now I’ve had this sense that, somehow, via the house, I would meet a fabulous and kind man, that we would fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after taking care of each other and our giant wood baby. You know, my Sense & Sensibility ending.

But…nope. Nothing like that has even kinda sorta perhaps happened.

Hope springs eternal? Or should I stop reading Jane Austin?

 

There has been another surprise, a huge surprise, which has proved highly positive.

11/8/16 just shattered me.

And almost daily since I am confronted with horrors which seem impossible to be actually happening. What has happened to my country? And yet, many millions support what is happening. And this is the most painful thing to me. People approve?

The Cross House though has proved an invaluable salve. Almost daily, the work I do on the house means that, in a very tiny way, something is better in the world. Almost daily, I work on something positive. Almost daily, I put my heart and soul into doing something good.

Without the Cross House, I think depression would have overwhelmed me these past few years. So, this invaluable gift the house has offered is something I could have never predicted in 2014.

 

Receiving TWO Heritage Trust Grants has been a godsend. The grants enabled the restoration of all 43 stained-glass windows, many of the clear-glass windows, the relining of the gutters, the shingling of all the secondary roofs, the restoration of the entire south facade (underway), and the repointing of the north chimney (later this year). I believe that, without this assistance, the enormity of the project both in its sheer size and financial burden would have crushed me by now. Indeed, even with the assistance of the two grants, the financial burden of the restoration is…daunting. Months can pass where I don’t have an extra dollar to spend on the project. When the first phase of radiator system restoration was completed, it took me ten months to pay off the invoice. And, during those ten months, essentially nothing was spent on the house. That was a hard period.

 

My biggest regret is the carriage house. I did work on it, then just let it go. My hope is that, after I am living in the Cross House, I can redirect my focus to the carriage house. But, if I knew then what I know now, I would have left the carriage house mostly alone in 2014, completed the unfinished projects inside, and gotten it rented. Sigh. Now, it’s too pulled apart to do anything about it quickly and affordably. Sigh. My bad.

 

Well, I’m quite exhausted after working on this post for days and days, so I am going to sign off now. I hope y’all enjoy the many images, and thank you for joining me on this wild & crazy adventure!

And, remember: Incaution may be a magic elixir.

 

.

 

 

 

34 Responses to Looking Back. Taking Stock.

  1. I really am stunned by how the restored windows just makes the whole house sing. Even the simple glass panes. I saw the house a few years ago in person and was so blown away then that I was rendered mostly speechless during the whole tour. But, man, what an amazingly breathtaking house now. I cannot wait to see the beauty that comes in the future. Thank you for the journey, Ross! 🙂

  2. Wow wow wow.

    I didn’t realize I’d been following your blog that long, Ross! And the house is looking fantastic. It’s just stunning to see the changes all in one place and to see how far you’ve come.

    Also, just remember that not all of us approve of 2016 and the aftermath. There are a lot of us who stand with you in resistance!!

  3. I’ve been following along for 3 years which I didn’t realize until I was looking at the pictures thinking “Oh, I remember reading about that.” and “Oh, that was before I was here.”

    I wish I had a ton of money to donate because I would love to see you living in the house! How surreal it will be after all this time. I’m living for the exterior to be finished, but it will be magical to see the inside transform more because despite seeing the layout of the house, I still don’t feel like I “know” it like I do the exterior.

    Can’t wait for many more posts to come!

    Oh and if I win the lottery, you can bet I won’t forget you! Or the kitties.

  4. I posted the link to this post on my Facebook page, since I have several friends who are involved in restoration work. Here is what one said, “Ross and the Cross house are incredible! I remember when the cross house was for sale, seeing it on Old House dreams and when Ross bought it, he is absolutely the perfect person, maybe one of the only people, that can do this restoration, it is so impeccably done.” I agree with him one hundred percent! And there is a growing percentage of people here in Iowa who either started off horrified, like you and me, or are becoming horrified.

  5. You should automatically get another grant based on this post alone, which is such a testament to the beautiful and meticulous restoration of a Kansas treasure. I can’t wait to watch the next year unfold for the Cross house, and visiting it and you is still on my bucket list!

  6. Thanks for all those before and after pics! Yes – you definitely need to take time out to take stock. You have done an incredible amount of work, and all at the highest level. And, so much of it on your own – gargantuan! I love following along, and am always excited to get an update in my inbox. Keep up the good work! Big task – definitely worthwhile! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  7. Ross,

    You’ve done such an amazing job on Cross house, and I thank the old house gods for you and your blog. It’s wonderful to see your progress, and it’s essential for YOU to see it as well!

    I don’t blog like you, but I do keep a journal. A couple years ago, after 18 months of family health problems and the ensuing chaos, I was feeling completely drained and not particularly happy with what I thought I should have accomplished during that time.

    Then I read through my journal.

    Holy Crap!

    I was stunned at how much I’d managed to get done, in spite of everything I’d had to deal with. Stunned, and still standing. Suddenly I didn’t feel bad at all!

    So yes, take the time to take stock. It’s important.

  8. Hi Ross

    Thank you so much for this gift of a post. I think I have been following you since mid-2016, after John Foreman of Big Old Houses passed. I was looking for something to replace the enjoyment of reading his wonderful blog, and I found your blog and Kelly’s Old House Dreams. I have been reading you both daily since then.

    It has been a bit of a hard couple of years here since (including 11/8/16) and reading and getting to know you has helped bring me joy in many ways. I agree about making the world a little better every day. Today, I was gluing together a bowl I bought in Paris and broke. Using food grade glue. It may or may not be acceptable once glued. But it’s worth a try and things like that make me think of you.

    Ross I am sure that you will find a wonderful man to share Cross House with. How could someone wonderful not want to share their time with you? Maybe there is a secret admirer reading this blog. I have shared it with many friends.

    Your timing was perfect for me. I started vacation today and had a lovely open afternoon to leisurely read and enjoy this post.

    And, I love your rainbow White House print.

    Hugs and many thanks for so much uplifting reading…and all you do and give.
    Karen

  9. Ross, I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t been already. But I will try. At one point not long ago, I thought, geez, why isn’t Ross further along? Now, I am so pleased to see this post, because wow, you have done so much! And all at the utmost quality. I think one thing that surely will speed things along is the completion of the exterior. Once that happens I firmly believe the interior will zip right along. The weather won’t be an issue.
    Anyway, thank you Ross for your meticulous work. Just stupendous. I look forward to all your posts and I wish I had a ton of money to contribute.
    All the best, Dan.

  10. You are an inspiration to us all. In these turbulent times we must have something to believe in that is good and honest and true. You give us hope that doing right will somehow right the world.

  11. Well,kiddo, that was worth waiting for!!! Though I know everyone of those pictures by heart as I have poured over your blog for years! I don’t know what I admire most…you pickiness, your perfection, or your patience! It was meant to be…you and this house. But my back hurts just looking at ALL the work YOU have done. You are a treasure!

  12. Wonderful post, wonderful job you’re doing on the house. Still waiting for that most WONDERFUL day of all — move-in day!

  13. It’s rather ironic, before reading all of this post I thought to myself, “by Ross saving this house, with so much love and attention to detail, he is some how making the world a little better place.” Then a paragraph later, your words were the same. Good minds think alike. Thank you for saving her for the generations to come! 💚

  14. I believe that it is necessary and good that we take time now and then to reflect on where we have been, and where we are now. Baby steps are a great way to keep your focus on a big project, but you have to step back occasionally to see the scope of your accomplishments. It doesn’t seem like I have been following you for nearly 5 years; during that time, you have provided a great deal of inspiration to me in my own restoration, and I am very thankful for that. Best wishes to you as you continue on this wonderful journey, and thank you for letting us tag along.

  15. Wow Ross!

    Your passion for this big ol’ house fuels my passion to one day find, and fix a big ol’ house. I hope I can fall in love with the chaos of restoration like you have.

    Also, sorry for not commenting in awhile! I don’t know what has gotten into me!

  16. This post was invaluable! It never ceases to astonish me the variety and uniqueness of each stained glass window!

    This house & it’s treasures along with rejuvenation!

  17. Ross, your Cross house has come such a long way! The work and effort and taste you put in your restoration are incredibly-amazingly astounding! (or amazingly-astoundingly incredible / astoundingly-incredibly amazing). I’ve first binge-read your blog during a few days of boredom at work a few years back. I now check your blog daily as a break (yup, always at work), hoping to read about another babystep towards completion. Bravo from France!

  18. Wow, what a whirlwind! My favorite project to watch was the North facade. We’ve a slow attempt at doing anything to our home, I cannot imagine having a house your size to restore. I admire your aptitude.

    Maybe one day your Prince will come. I can see it now, you’ve got the house done and are standing outside in admiration. A (handsome, well dressed, elegant yet rugged) man walks up, “I’ve been watching you…” (but not weird watching) “…when I was a kid I dreamed of living here, always wanted to see this home the restored castle it originally was but alas, life took me to other parts of the world…” (where he made his fortune) “…I’ve been settled a few years back in my hometown and had to stop when I saw you. Can I take you out to dinner?”

  19. Bravo! Bravo Ross and to all that provided assistance!
    Looking at the pictures, what did you present?
    -Quality craftmanship.
    -Clean environment.
    -Speed.
    -Creativeness.
    -Respect and care.
    Architect Charles Squires’ talent is enhanced by yours.

    Reading young blog, what did you present?
    -Hope. Things will get better.
    -Inspiration. If Ross can do it, so can we.
    -Productivity. You have more blog entries than the days of the year.
    -Quality. Plenty of before, during, after photographs and explanations.
    -Personality. You being you, built a community of people and cats together.

    We love you Ross. It is my dream to contribute financially as a way of thanking you for taking the time to frequently post about the Cross house and for sharing with us on what worked for you. It saved others the time and resources to do it correctly.
    For all these and more, I stand and applaud you. Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!

    Hugs to you Ross, from one of your many fans. Group hug, too.

    Much, much love to you, Ross. ♡

  20. Suburb, Ross! Your attention to detail is significant and has produced a treasure for the country. Everytime I walk by The Tin House, (with my curtains still hanging in the windows) I yearn for the moment when you can make this little house the signature mark of what was once here. And come inside and see what the house looks like that you worked on for me about 15 years ago!

    • Hi, Elaine!

      I worked on your house a whopping 23 years ago!

      Also, I’m a little confused. I purchased the Tin House curtains at a thrift store in Emporia. $5 for the lot!

  21. Wow. Just wow. Seeing those photos which accurately sum up the last 5 years, Ross, you should be immensely proud of all your hard work. That house looks incredible, and I’m sure all of us are in awe of the sheer perseverance required to keep going. You’re doing an amazing job and each of us stands in awe of all of it. Here’s to more items ticked off that list of things still to be completed. Keep going. Colin

  22. I dream of living in the Cross House, rocking in my chair, enjoying the sunshine coming through the sewing room windows, while I knit an afghan for the parlor. I love the Cross House, the work you’ve done, the laughs and joy you have given me. All things are possible! The effects of 11/8/16 has shattered my faith in mankind but I know there are millions of people like you out there to help make things better and this gives me peace. Thanks!

  23. What pushed the north porch up so much? I had just assumed that the other side had sunk, but apparently not. What happened?

    I’m really in awe of you. You’ve done an amazing job.

    I’ve always wanted to share my home with you.

    https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/313-Euclid-Ave_Allenhurst_NJ_07711_M59448-86232

    My parents won a restoration award from the county. I’m sad there aren’t more pictures in the listing. It was 1886, not 1920 as is listed. I think they just put 1920 when they don’t know, but we have plans and other paperwork from 1886.

    I think of you often and hope to come to Kansas one day to help you. It would be an honor for me.

    And I think a lot of your readers, myself included, are as disappointed and angry about this administration as you are. It will get better. I have to believe that.

  24. Thank you Ross, for all you do. You’ve given and shared so much knowledge and brought me happiness in some of my darkest times with your splendid journey, it was a particularly rough day for me, and after waiting to read this, and looking back with you and all these lovely people, I am able to smile and remember there is still good. Ross is still there fixing up his big beautiful lady. You are amazing, Ross. I hope to see you and Cross house sometime. x

  25. Has it been 6 years already? 6 years of loving every little detail, details that are accompanied by great feelings relayed through writing.

    I still want to know why the staircase does not match the blueprints. Maybe someday the answer will make itself known.

  26. I was just telling a friend of mine about your house and the restoration! This is the perfect post to get her hooked on it!! The work you’ve done is so impressive and amazing. I love reading about each detail restored. In this world of “rip it out and replace it” or “knock it down and build new” it’s wonderful to see someone care so much about restoration. Thanks for taking that leap and for bringing us with you!! I sure enjoy the journey!!

  27. Delicious! Utterly! Goodness, this is the “Ross fix” of the decade to feed our addictions 😊 thank you!!!

  28. Got my cardio exercise in this morning, bouncing up and down and dancing across the north porch, in celebration of all that you have accomplished on this glorious house.

    After using your example to convince Spousal Unit, we’ve embarked on a huge home improvement project. Our house is only 35 years old and was a “unique fixer upper” when we bought it. Over the last 8.5 years, we’ve taken care of all the electric, plumbing, insulation, windows/doors, gutters where there had been none (rainwater catchment), and resurfacing the swimming pool. But that pathetic deck around the swimming pool? Talk about daunting!

    Well, we finally embarked on a three phase project. The deck around the pool was torn out, concrete added in some places, then a huge deck with an extension for a sitting area out in the breeze now makes that old pool look new. Phase two, as soon as we save up the money, is to extend the deck east to the end of the north porch, add a pergola, and make that into outdoor dining, plus a staircase down the hill to our garden. Phase three will be a fenced hummingbird/butterfly/pollinator garden on the east side of the house.

    Baby steps.

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