The Cross House

Peacocks in the House!

THE TIME: 1973.

MY AGE: A pup of sixteen.

THE PLACE: A wallpaper store in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

THE SCENE: My mom and I had made numerous trips to the store, and there was one paper we yearned for. It was by Van Luit and featured peacock feathers. We looooooooooved the paper but it was well out anything my parent’s could afford. So we caressed the luscious paper and fantasized about papering a whole room in our house with its shimmering beauty.

And, yes, this was an odd thing for a sixteen-year-old boy to be yearning for. So, it should not be a surprise that this boy later did something really odd, and purchased the Cross House.

Now, hold on tight while we fast forward through time: 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977……………2014. Wow. That is always such a rush!

As I write these words I am no longer sixteen but somehow, geez, fifty-seven. Fifty-seven! When did that happen?

Of late I have been pondering wallpaper for the Cross House. After ten months of mostly structural, electrical, plumbing, and HAVC issues, it is kinda fun to think about aesthetics for a brief moment.

Thus, I was on eBay doing a search for Vintage Wallpaper.

And there it was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And there it was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And there it was!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A single roll of Van Luit Peacock wallpaper. My heart stopped. I have not seen this paper in, gulp, forty-one-years. And suddenly I was sixteen again, and could clearly recall all the emotions over something so seemingly beautiful yet unreachable.

And now, after placing the winning bid, the unattainable was now…mine. And for all of $41.

‘Tis a sweet victory.



ABOVE: I know, kinda awful! But also kinda wild & cool. I actually love it, still!



ABOVE: The Van Luit imprint.

Now, I would N E V E R want a whole room in this paper. My head would explode. And I only have this single roll anyway. After some pondering I think I know the perfect location.



ABOVE: This is the bathroom on the first-floor of the Cross House. I call it the Marble Bath. The image is from 1999, and the wallpaper is 1970s. The bath no longer looks anything like this. It is currently gutted; the marble slabs are sitting in the dining room, and the walls had to rebuilt due to water/termite damage. The good news is that the bathroom will be back together in 2015. Whoee! Anyway, I have enough paper (I hope) to do just one wall. So, I was thinking about the wall with the oval window (isn’t the window cool!). This is the wall with the sink, too (to the left of the toilet). So, just one wall of the peacock paper, and the other three painted, I dunno, maybe the chartreuse color in the paper.

Once the bath is finished, I will feel a rush of being sixteen every time I pee.

14 Responses to Peacocks in the House!

  1. I LOVE that paper! Its perfection on a roll. I was hoping you were going to line the phone closet with it. I would hide in there and just sit a drool over my paper!

    Although, the potty is another great place to sit.

  2. I love laughing at your posts. I love the paper, but may I suggest… Put it where you can look at it while sitting on the pot so it can be fully enjoyed. Also, I LOVE bright colors, but the chartreuse walls might be too distracting from your focal point of the room, the peacocks. My choice would be soothing green paint to let the paper pop instead of fighting in the Chartreuse Caboose.

    Also, I’m coming into this blog late and I must admit confusion. Somewhere I got the idea you were restoring the house to original vintage, so how does a 1970s paper work into that? Or is it just a small exercise in creative freedom. G:-)

    • I am highly focused on restoring the architecture of the house to its 1894 condition. However, I feel some liberty regarding the decor!

  3. “Peacocks” by the potty. Perfect location, Ross! The paper really offers a touch of dramatic beauty; nice colors!

  4. Hell – you’ve got it, so flaunt it. I would use every scrap of that roll in that bathroom. If someone doesn’t like it, well who invited them anyway.

  5. I love the wallpaper. But have you considered framing three long sheets of it and hanging somewhere as a focal point? It’s so pretty and a shame to hide it in a loo. I mean like 6 foot lengths long. Anyway, just a thought. I am looking forward to getting to the roof blog 😊

  6. Ross, how does this even happen???? Amazing story. It took me back as I was 13 in ’73 and loved all the wild foil back papers of the day. I just came upon your blog and can’t stop binge reading.I love what you have done with this beauty of a house and cant wait to get to 2019 and current status. But I will NOT read out of order.

Leave a Response

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.