The Cross House


In my previous post I stated my plans post-niche.

Next will be finishing the NE corner!

Then I was thinking of finishing the east facade.  A lot of the first-floor work is done. And the east facade lacks a lot of the time-consuming detail evident on the other three facades. Significantly, the east facade is the last remaining unfinished facade highly visible to people passing the house.

While the south facade is magnificent, and in terrible condition, it is also kinda sorta invisible.

From day one, a powerful motivation has been to get the exterior looking good as soon as possible. When I purchased the house, it had not looked good in anybody’s memory and restoring the main facade (west) and the highly visible north facade proved massively instrumental in, well, thrilling people. Neighbors and people across the whole city regularly convey their excitement. “The house is looking SO good! Thank you! Thank you!”

I know a number of individuals who have encountered difficulties in restoring their old house, from hostile neighbors to profoundly hostile city bureaucracies. My experience has been the polar opposite. My neighbors have been wonderfully supportive, and City Hall has been incredibly helpful and a pleasure to work with.

And I suspect that making a profound improvement to the visible facades is responsible for this generosity of spirit.

Hence, it seems important to “finish off” the visible bits of the house (the east facade), even though many readers are pro-south facade. Indeed, I can even hear y’all. Pro-south! Pro-south! Gooooooooo south!


I rarely show the house in context. Here, you can see how close the house is to Highway 50. Drivers heading east see what appears to be a beautifully restored house, with the west and north facades all perty. But driving west? This is what one sees.


A lot of the first-floor east work is already completed. If you click on the image it hugely enlarges. Another click will scarily enlarge!


I remain uncertain what I will do after the NE corner, although I lean to finishing the east facade.

And people, I suspect, will be thrilled if said lean proves a reality.



10 Responses to N E X T

  1. After spending the long spring, summer, and fall of 2017 watching improvements on the Great North Wall should we start saying the modest, but visible, East wall?

    I really do think that the East wall should come first. My reasoning is that the South wall has so many interesting details and should be an epic adventure, however doing the partially completed east side last would be finishing up the exterior with a whimper instead of a bang. Perhaps fireworks would be an appropriate bang at the finish.

    I look forward to seeing what you do in whatever order that you choose to do it, you’ve made really good choices so far. I am sure that you will continue to do so. I repeat myself when I say, “You Rock!”

  2. These photos really bought home what the locals see. And I imagine they would really love to see the other visible facades restored. If I walked my imaginary dog past this corner every day I would get a lot of pleasure seeing these two facades finished. And you should never underestimate how much exercise an imaginary dog needs!

  3. I vote for the East Facade! OH yEAHHHhhhh. I spent some time contemplating it one time, instead of working, and first I wrote a note complaining about its lack of grace, and through complaining I fell in love with its harsh drama. The way that entrance hole just socks into the guts of the house, with very little ornamentation. OH YEAHHHHH. The East is Awesome. 🙂

    • Thanks, SEB!

      The east facade is the back of the house.

      And I think I have the best back-of-house in the country! It’s really gorgeous! Or…will be!

      I am amazed that the architect did not discontinue the dramatic cornice! I am amazed that the dormer matches same on the main facade!

      While the east facade is, no doubt, the simplest of the four facades, it is nonetheless pretty amazing.

  4. Is installing a new cellar door in the plans for this year? For some reason, the plywood board just doesn’t do it for me.

      • Wonderful! And relocating the various meters on the porch so the icebox delivery door will be more visible! Hurray!

  5. When you first posted about trying to decide between the south and the east sides, I was in favor of the south side. It was more elaborate and finishing the east side would be much faster and give the satisfaction of being finally finished. However, now that I see the photos of the house and the street, I think it’s better for you to finish the east side first so that people can easily see your progress and you would bring much happiness to your neighbors and passersby.

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