The Cross House
Even though I have spent a lifetime being obsessed with design and decoration, and have four decades experience in interior design, I know almost nothing about what furniture looked like in the 1890s.
Almost a year ago I did a LONG post articulating my thoughts on how to decorate the parlor of the Cross House. In short, my plan for the parlor, as with the rest of the house, is in two parts:
Meticulously restore the 1894 structure. No can lights punched in the ceilings and no walls demolished to create an open plan and no painting all the woodwork and doors white.
You know this look. IT IS EVERYWHERE and it makes me ill.
Have the decor reflect the last 123-years of design and decoration.
I have not seen anybody do this. Rather, people seem to default into two camps:
- They meticulously restore the structure, and then create a period decor.
- They “update” the structure, and then create a Restoration Hardware-styled decor.
So, I propose something quite daring; quite the scandal: Option #3: Meticulously restore the structure; have fun with the decor.
When the Cross House is done there will be but few antiques in the house. And I want these few antiques to be 1890s rather than 1880s or 1870s or 1860s. This is something I see often. Somebody will restore, say, a house from 1905 and fill it with antiques ranging from the 1860s all through to the 1930s. (I fully appreciate that, when the Cross House was built, Susan and Harrison Cross may well have installed most of the furniture from their previous house. Meaning that the 1894 house would have had furnishings which were decades older.)
But, I do not wanna do this. I don’t wanna! Instead, I want any antiques to be early 1890s so as to support the beautifully restored 1894 rooms.
Like, I want two small antique chairs in the parlor, for example. The kind of chairs with those sweet wheels on the bottom…
The chairs in the last three images are quite different, visually, than those in the previous images. This is the kind of aesthetic I kind appealing.
Well, I am not buying any antiques tomorrow. But I hope to finish the parlor and library this year. So, I am…at least looking.
And occasionally lusting.