The Cross House


So, Dan wanted to know what was next after the stairhall niche was done. The answer: the NE corner!


In 2017, I started on the NE corner but was overtaken by other house issues. If you own an old house you know just what I mean.


After the NE corner is finished, I may then finish the east facade (left side) but I might instead…


…begin work on the south facade, which has been untouched since I purchased the house. Click image to hugely enlarge. Then click again! Wow!


I am kinda 51% leaning to doing the east facade after the NE corner is done. The east facade is highly visible when anybody is driving west along Highway 50, which abuts the north facade of the house. So, by finishing the east facade, the house would look pretty fabulous to anybody driving east/west along the highway, as the north and west facades are now done (and friggin’ gorgeous!).

The south facade is in desperate condition but it is the only side of the house not readily visible, sorta.

So, at the moment, the sure plan is to resume the NE corner. Then…



39 Responses to N E X T

      • No words? But a sweet little six petal flower and in another spot three circles. All about the size of a quarter each. Me, being a designer and gardener stopped me cold! Also there are seven scorched spots along the shelf of the mantelpiece where it is obvious where someone habitually laid their clay pipe. One place is a complete burn, where before Inthoight it might be a notched place to rest a broom … turns out it is where said smoker nearly burned the whole dang house down, evidently! The house — Stagfield — is in Virginia and the room with this fireplace is the original section of the house built in 1781.

  1. I totally understand going with the more visual side.

    But…the south side of the house is so beautiful and has so many amazing features I hate to see it waiting any longer. I also wonder how much more weather damage will either side have to endure this winter? I know it’s only May, but “Winter is coming” (for any Game of Thrones fans)

    Is it possible to work on the most pressing issues for both sides? I’m such an optimist.

  2. Although both facades clearly need some much needed work, it’s not hard to see that the east side of the house isn’t in *quite as bad* disrepair as the south facade.

    Who cares what people see driving by?? You’ve already shown the people of Emporia that you mean business, by rescuing the poor gal and cleaning up the corner facades.

    The house has looked like well, shit (sorry), for decades. I think the restoration of the south facade would provide the most visual satisfaction, and would secure the integrity of very important, already restored rooms. Not only that, but you would get to finish the front porch, too! It’s driving me crazy to see that massive porch only half done 😉

    Just my two cents.

  3. When you are dead and gone, people will, like me today, still be in awe of this house. That would almost certainly not be the case if not for all of your hard work. I don’t think I would have the time, energy or devotion, but it is a lot of fun to watch from the sidelines.

    • The grant money is not paid in advance. It is a reimbursable grant. So, I have to do X Y Z projects first, and then I can get reimbursed.

      • Got it. Thank you for clarifying, Ross.

        As for your next step, I’m content to leave that to you. Whichever project you do, I will enjoy going along for the ride. Learning new tidbits about the Cross House, restoration, and your creative process is an adventure I anticipate, no matter what you do. Watching the House bloom before our eyes is the payoff.

      • It looks like the stained glass windows aren’t restored on the south side? I can’t see doing them, and putting them back into window frames that are falling apart, and those can only be worked on during the summer.

        I vote for South side of the house – the rest looks like it’s at least been looked at when it was painted grey.

        • Hi, Jenine!

          After each stained-glass window is restored, it is returned to a RESTORED wood sash, and a RESTORED window frame.

          I can also do exterior work in the spring, summer, fall, and for much of the winter. In Kansas, we can have 70 degree weather in January!

  4. East side, because then, garden work can begin…I am so anxious to see your walled garden take shape, or whatever your ideas have evolved into.

  5. I vote for finishing the less-visible but more needy south side. Then, when you finish the east side and people notice the big difference, you’ll be 100% done. It will be the final big public reveal, and no more niggling corners left to do.

    • The south side worries me, too. But it has worried me for four years now, and its condition well predates me.

  6. I’m with Seth and Annette; the southern exposure gets all of the UV rays, which can cause unprotected wood to crack and warp. Granted, it has been exposed for years, so what can another year do that hasn’t been done, still…all those missing shakes are allowing nature to penetrate the house, which can’t be good. Also, I think that the porte-cochère and the round openings of the 2nd floor porch will look spectacular restored!

    • The exposed siding and shingles of the south facade have already been destroyed by UV rays, age, and weather. Most of the siding and shingles need to be replaced.

  7. I vote you do both. What the hell. With all of your experience, the east side–which is much smaller and already started–should be easily knocked out and then move on to the south. No problem! Right?

  8. I’d take care of the structural/siding issues on the south facade first, then re-evaluate, depending on how much good weather is left, etc.

  9. Thanks Ross for showing what’s next. WOW lots of work. I had no idea. I think honestly I would do the south side. And if finished before winter, start the Ne. Just a thought.

  10. Oh Ross! My god there is so much to do! But I can see it done and what an amazing sight it’s going to be! I know how much it hurts, up and down the scaffolds and ladders alone kill me. Hang in there, you do amazing work. I’d do the worst first, get it over with but that’s just me.

  11. Have you considered whether the 20% federal preservation tax credits would work for your project? Since your plan is to convert much of the space for income producing purposes with your lighting business and the vacation rental market a large percentage of the property would meet the requirement to be income producing. Just suggesting it might be something to look into since you still have a bunch of work to do. I realize that you are doing a lot of the work yourself but if the numbers work it would help subsidize the completion of your glorious house.

  12. I’ll be contrary: Finish the east side first, precisely because it IS in better shape. The work will go faster because of its condition, its partial completion already, and its simpler facade. You can knock that out pretty quickly, enjoy seeing the fruits of your labor, and use the momentum of having accomplished it to carry you through the more laborious and time-consuming south side.

    • I agree. The east side is smaller and very unadorned, possibly because it was the back/servant side of the house. It should be easy to repair and paint (compared to the other sides). If Ross needs a quick win, east side it is.

    • Agreed, Dawn!

      My plan for the south side is to shade it wholly with blue tarps while I paint. This is a trick I learned when I used to work in Florida.

      Tarps and a fan!

      • Now that’s brilliant! Protect yourself and the wood. Most people don’t realize even on a cool day the surface on the south side gets to hot from the sun to paint. Then they wonder way it’s peeling the following year!

  13. OK here’s a stupid question. You are wearing a mask when your working right? Cancer of the esophagus is a horrible thing to go through!

  14. Hello from Montréal, Canada.

    So as I read the previous comments I think it would be maybe a good idea to start to do some repairs on the south side. And, depending on which month of the year, when it’s getting too hot to paint, I guess you could paint the east side (that looks quite easy and fast to do). And then, painting the south out of the hot season period. Anyway, I’m always excited/happy to read and see your progress…even if I don’t comment very often.



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