The Cross House
About two years ago I did a post about burning in preservation hell.
This is what happens to people who screw up old houses.
You might want to read the post again, here.
In the post, I outed myself as having earned points to Preservation Hell by removing a portion of the original butler’s pantry so the archaic floor plan of the house would better suit modern living.
I had debated this change for two years before actually doing it, and was careful to retain all the vital cabinet bits so the change could be reversed somewhere down the line by a later owner.
It just never occurred to me that I would be the one reversing.
A few months after making the change, the first inkling of doubt crept into my brain.
During the Bo visit in March, 2017, a number of discoveries were made, including one really interesting one in the south long hall, which I articulated in mind-numbing detail here.
The discovery involved a curious “arch” that had been mostly removed. Oh! And I suddenly had a desperate desire to recreate this fascinating lost feature but…I could not because the new door in the butler’s pantry was exactly where the eastern part of the arch was.
Then, last September…
A third factor was my ever-increasing awareness of just how special the Cross House is in terms of being so original. I knew this, of course, from day one and this was one of the reasons I purchased the house. But, during my five years of ownership, I have visited a lot of other fabulous old homes and am continually struck by how remuddled so many old home are. Thus, with each passing year, my appreciation of the historic integrity of the Cross House grows.
These three things culminated in a startling thought: I should reverse what I did.
At first, I dismissed the thought. What was done was done, and I really did enjoy the vastly better flow through the house.
The thought though nagged at me: I should reverse what I did.
And nagged: I should reverse what I did.
So then, I kinda sorta toyed with the idea, and began to shift my traffic pattern in the house by avoiding the hole in the butler’s pantry. Was, I thought, a circuitous route really that bad?
Then my preservation instincts just took over, and proclaimed: Fuck your better route! PUT BACK THE BUTLER’S PANTRY!
Golly. Such language.
And so, my dear readers, I am here to out myself once again.
I am now officially reversing, and putting back the butler’s pantry bits.
The parts I removed two years ago (six drawers and two solid tall doors) will go back. With Doug’s recreated bits back, the pantry will return to as it was, cabinet-wise, in 1894.
All the wood needs to be stripped of later paint and varnished. An ugh task.
I purchased a period-correct gas/electric ceiling fixture, and a type intended for a pantry.
I will be having the plaster analyzed to ascertain the original paint color, and will recreate this.
When the butler’s pantry is fully restored, it will be wondrous petite space, with richly glowing wood, a shimmering nickel sink, and all gently lighted from a period-correct ceiling fixture.
And the moral of the story?
Historic beauty is more important than modern comfort.