Petite Momentum

Every day, pretty much, something gets better about the Cross House.

Yesterday, a window sash was restored. It contains a stained-glass panel, which was restored last month. But the sash itself needed to be restored. The side of the sash facing outside was stripped of its old paint, and then 0000 steel wool was used to polish up the wood. The side of the sash facing inside was stripped of its old shellac using denatured alcohol. The hardware was also removed, left in the stripper, then cleaned, and reinstalled. The glass panel was bedded, and glazed. When the glazing dries, the exterior will be primed with oil-base paint, and then two coats of black oil-based paint.


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Then, atop the roof on the north porch, I only had a small bit left to paint (under the large window to the left). There was a lot of old paint build-up under the window, so I glopped on paint stripper and let it sit for several hours. Then I sat my butt on the roof, and scraped off all the old paint to bare redwood. Today I will sand, and paint this triangle. If all goes well, I will also remove all the wood scaffolding on the roof!


In the main bedroom is a pitiful mantel.

In the main bedroom is a pitiful mantel. Pitiful because it got rained on for several decades from a chronic roof leak directly above. Right after buying the house, I removed the mantle to stop its being further damaged. The roof leak is now fixed, so I reinstalled the mantel a few weeks ago. (At some point one of the tiles surround the fire grate was replaced. Can you guess which one?)



There are these sweet swags on the right side…


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…which were missing on the left side. I was aghast! Just after buying the house, I cleaned off the mantel shelf which was covered with old leaves and other detritus. As I pushed all this into a trash bucket, something caught my eye. The swags! They had fallen off! I carefully picked up the swags, and stored them in the butler’s pantry.



Yesterday, I woke the swags from their slumber…



…and they once again grace their intended place in the great scheme of things. As I have written before, there is something oddly satisfying knowing that in some very tiny way, something is better in this crazy world.







  1. Chad on July 26, 2016 at 11:03 am

    The wood looks like it’s in great shape though under the damaged finish. What else will it take to get it in good shape?

  2. Mary Garner-Mitchell on July 26, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I enjoy every one of your posts so very much, Ross. The fact that you spotted the little missing swags amongst the swept up trash is testament to how completely your senses and soul are imbedded in this wonderful house! I can’t wait to see the restored mantle. The progress on the exterior painting and repair mesmerizing to follow. It looks wonderful! You must be exhausted at the end of the day. Do take good care of yourself in this miserable heat.

  3. MikeE on July 26, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Something about this post reminded me of a movie I saw decades ago, “Batteries Not Included”, starred Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy as the elderly owners of a NYC diner/apartment building. For those who never saw it, the old couple are trying to hold on to their home against developers, and one night the building is destroyed by a gas fire and explosion. What the developers didn’t know is that they old couple were harboring a family of tiny aliens in little saucers, and these aliens put the whole building back together good as new, one tiny piece at a time, in one night. Too bad you don’t have a family of little aliens in the attic…

    • Brandy Mulvaine on July 27, 2016 at 6:05 am

      I’ve never seen that movie, but now I want to watch it!

      • MikeE on July 27, 2016 at 1:27 pm

        Honestly Brandy, it was sort of an odd movie, even for the 80s…a mix of ET, Twilight Zone, and Driving Miss Daisy 🙂 The old building in the movie had a mosaic tile floor in the entry, and after the building was destroyed, the aliens started by moving the scattered tile fragments back into place. That was what I thought of when I read about Ross’ finding the little wooden swags and putting them back where they should be.

  4. Connie in Hartwood on July 26, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Ross, what glazing compound, primer, and paint are you using on your windows?

    • Ross on July 31, 2016 at 11:24 pm

      I use DAP glazing, an oil-based primer, and black oil-based top coat.

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