The Cross House
About once a year I get contacted by a production company. Would I be interested in having the restoration of the Cross House become a TV show?
My first thought: Sure!
My second thought: Hell no!
The second thought is generated by two things:
- I know a couple who actually worked with a production crew. The crew spent months filming the young couple and the restoration of their big old house. This caused massive disruption to the family but they were excited. We are going to be on TV! Then late one night they received a call from the production company, causally stating: Never-mind. That was it. The show and all their work was never going to be on TV. The couple felt massively abused. And I took this to heart.
- TV shows like things fast. You know, the Nicole Curtis effect: Go in like gangbusters and wrap everything up in a season. But the restoration of the Cross House is glacial. And I think this is good. This glacial approach, and cautious study, has led to amazing discoveries which would NEVER have happened with a gangbuster approach.
Reason #1 scares me. Reason #2 seems to disqualify the Cross House for a TV show. This guy is working too slow!
So, I never respond to production company inquiries.
This does not mean though that I would not love doing a TV show, and I sometimes fantasize about what kind of show I would like to do.
Wanna meet my fantasy?
Yep, this would be the name of the show. It’s simple and easy to remember. It relates directly to this blog. The word restoration is in the title, and the name of the host. Again, easy.
Because the restoration of the Cross House is glacial, it does not seem feasible that a camera crew could affordably follow me around every hour that I am working on the house, or Justin or Scott or the burly heating/cooling guys. I mean, a lot of hours working on the house are quite dull with moments of WOW interspersed. These latter moments really are WOW but it would take a lot of money and a very patient film crew to capture such moments on video.
So, I do not envision the show being 100% about the Cross House. Rather, I see Restoring Ross being divided into specific adventures. Like this:
THE CROSS HOUSE
These episodes would focus on the Cross House. What fabulous new things has been finished/installed? What fabulous new discoveries has been made?
I also envision a back-in-time approach. These segments would feature still images of past work, with me narrating. This might sound dull but remember the Ken Burns mini-series about the Civil War? All the people are long dead. So, still images and letters were used, with the camera panning in to create movement, while a narrator spoke. It was riveting.
Above all, episodes would focus continually on preservation rather than renovation. Too often these words are used interchangeably but they have vastly different meanings. Preservation is to, well, preserve. To protect what is there. Renovation is to alter something. To change what is there. This is the approach make famous (infamous?) by This Old House, which is the antithesis of preservation. I am continually astonished by how hostile This Old House is to the old in houses.
I suspect that most people who buy an old house opt for renovation rather than restoration simply because they know little about the latter. So, instead of learning how to restore damaged paster walls, they gut their house to the studs and install sheetrock because this is what they know. And this is what every How To show on TV advocates.
Restoring Ross would travel to other buildings which have been beautifully restored, such as…
OLD HOUSE DREAMS
This is, of course, the blog which the fabulous Kelly created. With her permission (please say yes, Kelly!), I would love to visit homes Kelly has featured, such as…
Well, you get the idea. How cool would it be to visit such houses? WAY COOL, man!!!!!!!! I think viewers would LOVE these visits!
Every realtor I have ever worked with has told me that I am THE most fun person to show a house to. “You are SO enthusiastic! You see SO many interesting features which I never noticed! You are SO good at seeing past the problems and envisioning what could be!”
Yes, when I visit a fabulous old house I am the polar opposite of…subtle.
WHO DID THAT?
The show would visit, for example, Scott Hoefer, who is restoring the stained-glass in the Cross House. I think viewers would enjoy seeing how this work is done and the dramatic before/after images.
I follow a number of old house blogs. All these bloggers are also restoring a house…glacially. So, it would be fun to check in once a season with…
There are other bloggers I enjoy but these should give you the idea.
Of course, it is not likely that the show’s budget could afford jaunts to Scotland and Wales to visit castles being restored (sigh) but the same Civil War mini-series approach could be used, showing images and having the blogger narrate.
Well, ’tis be late now but this is my fantasy TV show about restoration.
Would you enjoy such a show?