Most of my time spent on the Cross House involves painting the exterior. If somebody had told me before I purchased the house that I would be doing this I do not think I would have pursued the house.
My painting the exterior was a decision developed in incremental steps. I tried finding a painter; none wanted the job. And I was entirely sympathetic.
I am glad though to be doing the work. For, I am a really good house painter. Also, I love love love getting to know every inch of the exterior on such an intimate level.
But I hope to never paint it again. Please God, let me be able to afford somebody else the next time the house requires painting. (A repaint will be MUCH easier than what I am undertaking.)
What this means is that for most of the year I largely ignore everything else due to a lack of time. Yes, I find time, for example, to get tower finials restored, but somebody else does that work.
Come winter however I am forced off the scaffolding towers and inside. In Kansas I can usually paint through November, December, and January. Just not every day. February and March are inside months.
This means that for the next four months I will get two solid months inside to get some work done, and more days dependent upon the weather.
The interior looks like a bomb has gone off in every room. Every plaster ceiling has holes in it. Some ceilings are missing altogether. All the wall have gaping holes and ominous cracks. And more. So much more. Terrifyingly more.
In the winter of 2014/15 I managed to get the parlor and library looking presentable. Each is close to being ready for decoration, and I was excited to think that this work could be completed this winter.
But…but…methinks my plans are changing.
As I walk though the house of late I am increasingly aware of how much its bomb-damaged state is starting to nag at me.
Fix me! Fix me!
And I hate a nagging house.
Fix me! Fix me!
I don’t have the time or money to magically finish thirteen rooms this winter but what if I fix as much of the bomb damage as possible?
My mind ponders this new idea…
The damage here is an easy fix. Just one hole in the ceiling.
LOWER STAIR HALL
A new ceiling is required. I had been planning to install sheetrock but yearn for plaster on lath. Or plaster skimmed over sheetrock. The problem is a lack of plasterers in Kansas. But maybe the Gods will favor the Cross House and one will descend from the Heavens? Oh, and some work is also needed to the wall, left. I also need to encase the new beam in oak. Its detailing will match detailing on the stair. All this is Priority #4.
The north niche off the stair-hall needs a ceiling. The water damage was caused by a leaking non-original bathroom above. Now gone. This is Priority #3.
When I purchased the house a large AC trunk line was attached to the ceiling, and boxed in with a soffit. Ahhh…no. I was able to brilliantly relocate the trunk line, and now I need to repair the ceiling. This is Priority #5.
New ceiling. This is Priority #6.
The bathroom has been totally gutted. Luckily, I have most everything. I would like to finish the walls, and reinstall the white quartz wainscoting, so that the room once again looks sorta like…
…this, but with…
New ceiling. Also, the south exterior wall was entirely rebuilt in 2014 due to water/termite damage. I am really tired of looked through dirty Plexiglass. Particularly as…
…the HUGE double south kitchen window has been mostly restored. I yearn to see it back in place rather then dirty Plexiglass. YEARN. This is Priority #2.
In 2014, right after buying the house, I recreated the large expansive opening to the staircase, which was shrunk by half in 1929. And I have done nothing since. The railings/spindles to the right portion exist and are stored away. I will have to recreate what is missing on the left. This is not a big deal actually. The wall to the left needs repair, as does the lower wall to the right.
The wall needing repair. You can see the remains of a pink bathroom. I will not miss these remains.
I call this the drunk wall. Everything you see is crooked. I HATE THIS WALL. The balustrade droops. I plan to remove it and reinstall it level, along with the recreated portion. The two doors (left to Octagon Bedroom; right to Round Bedroom) both droop to the right. This is not so evident in the image but is so in person. Annoyingly so. I plan to remove each frame and reinstall level. This is Priority #1.
A large portion of the ceiling is covered in quite fabulous 1950s tiles. I will carefully remove these, and reinstall in my house in Strong City.
Ceiling repair. The water leak has been repaired.
Ceiling repair. Whatever water leak caused this was repaired long ago.
The east wall need major work. The white rectangle is where a door was created to enter a new kitchen built over the reduced stair opening.
On the second floor all the rooms had a 6-inch-high strip of plaster removed just below the ceiling. The previous owner did this to install wiring, mostly to electrical outlets above each window. This was so lights could be installed to illuminate the stained-glass windows every night, a wonderful gift to the neighborhood. I plan to remove all this wiring and repair the walls. And I will install LED strips along the deep interior sills of each stained-glass window, battery operated and with remote control.
Repair ceiling. The water leak has been repaired. (There are now no leaks in the house. Whoee!)
In 1894 this was a window topped with a stained-glass transom, and leading to an open porch. I reopened the porch, and recreated its lost floor. I now want to recreate the lost stained-glass transom (which matched the one on the opposite wall), and recreate the window. But the window will actually be a door, with hinges on one side. But it will look exactly like the adjacent window. I am excited about this.
HOUSE KEEPERS ROOM
This room was originally entered via door off the servant’s stair, which you can see blocked up in the center. The wall needs to be finished.
And more wall repair. This room will be the master bathroom.
And ceiling repair.
I have the door and frame. They need to be moved over to right six inches. Ignore the 2×4 frame. it is just sitting there.
A hole in the ceiling was cut to install a drop-down movie screen, because the previous owner planed to use the Long Bedroom as a media room. I will fill the hole in.
So, you appreciate the daunting task which bedevils my soul.
Obviously, there is no way I will get everything done. Sigh. But some things will get done this winter, and I will plug away at other things through 2017.
So, let’s meet a year from now and check out the progress? We will have some wine as we walk though the many rooms. Perhaps with some soft music in the background.
And I may need a hug.