Please Allow Me To Introduce My…Lincrusta

The first floor of the Cross House is blessed with a lot…a lot…of Lincrusta.

Old house nuts afficinadoes across the land know that Lincrusta is a linoleum-like product embossed with patterns. But the general public has no idea what Lincrusta is. Thus, on numerous occasions when I have given tours to people, I hear: “You know, that is hand-tooled leather!”

When I gently point out that this is not correct, and explain that the wainscoting material is actually linoleum, I am met with sympathy and a shaking head, as it is obvious to them that I know nothing. “But, everybody knows that is hand-tooled leather!” When I further explain what Lincrusta is, the look of sympathy increases, combined with a hint of annoyance. And I can hear what they are thinking: This guy knows nothing! Geez!

In anticipation of a gala tomorrow evening in the house (my first!), I have been scouring and vacuuming and polishing and burnishing. As such, the Lincrusta has been assaulted with a toothbrush and a wet rag laced with Murphy’s oil soap.

Below is a dust-laden Before image:






After. The round tower. Tomorrow evening there will be a harpist playing in the tower. I am breathless with anticipation.



More after, more round tower. I look forward to dealing with the alligatored shellac on the trim. In time my little pretty, in time.


It has been exhausting but pleasurable getting the house clean. Of course, this antiseptic state will last but briefly. No matter, for my memory of this temporary state will outweigh the reality of a few weeks hence.

Memory good! Reality bad!


  1. Sharol on April 30, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    I love the look of the Lincrusta wainscoting. The decorative details in your house are so awesome and I feel a little jealous. I’m certain your gala tomorrow will be a grand success. Enjoy…you deserve this.

  2. Vicki F. on April 30, 2015 at 11:57 pm

    Looks great! This is one of my favorite things about your house. Hope all goes well with your gala and please post pics for those of us who did not get an invite..sniff, sniff. JK

  3. Sue C. on May 1, 2015 at 1:13 am

    Your lincrusta is gorgeous! I don’t know how many times I have seen it called tooled leather in real estate ads or on home tours, but I have kept my mouth shut, as I know I won’t be believed. I had never heard of lincrusta until after we bought our (now former) house in 1985. My spell check is even trying to tell me it isn’t a real word!

  4. Denali Dragonfly "Grace" on May 1, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Your attention to detail is inspiring. I can’t wait to see it in person. You might simply suggest when they get home they Google it to see who is right.

  5. Sandra G. McNichol on May 1, 2015 at 10:40 am

    GORGEOUS Lincrusta! Wow. So beautiful! I love it. I had no clue what Lincrusta was, before this post of yours, and I definitely qualify as an old house nut. Thanks for sharing & educating; now, I am coveting large areas of Lincrusta…sadly Lincrusta won’t work in my present home. Please take and share lots of pics of your gala party, of the harpist playing in the tower, etc. etc. Is it a black tie event? I love getting dressed up in formal dress, and there are so few opportunities to do so. Have a wonderful time! (I know you will!) 🙂 Cheers.

  6. Andrew on May 1, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Best wishes for a fabulous party! You’ve introduced so many good vibes into the Cross House the past year, this seems like a natural progression, the first of what will hopefully be many festive events. Cheers!

  7. Matt on May 8, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    That Lincrusta is the stuff of dreams. So delicious decadent and detailed. Your cleaning really made it ready to face another 100+ years in pride and style. Bravo!

  8. Carla on June 19, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    What an exquisite example of this material! I can’t believe the beautiful state it is in. Alas, we have only the shadow of what once was Lincrusta in our main hallway, but the beautiful birds and flowers Lincrusta panels over the doorway were still present, and are currently being restored.

    • Ross on June 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      OMG! Is this THE Carla? Of the Danville Experience????????

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  10. Seth Hoffman on October 12, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    That is incredible artwork, and even more incredible that it’s survived!

    • Ross on October 12, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      I agree!

  11. Alison on February 2, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Oh. My. Gosh.

    You have just presented me with another house-related obsession and possibly the most amazing solution to my dining room design.

    Thank you! ha ha!

  12. Judy on February 1, 2021 at 9:01 pm

    Hi Ross – I have been mesmerized by your website. All meals for the past three days have been eaten over my computer keyboard. Very messy, but oh so enjoyable.

    So much is special about your blog:

    1. You are literate, you use the correct words, have VERY few grammatical errors (only two noted to date) and. most delightful of all . . . you can spell.

    2. The comments come from an equally intelligent population. I rarely read comments but I read every one of yours. Congratulations to you and all of your clever “Groupies”. You are a delight to read.

    3. Somehow, the written nature of your works seems more fitting than videos. Is it because your work on the house is a tribute to the past? Or because I am a visual person (not auditory)? Or . . . ahem, because I am 75 and more and more seem more comfortable in the past? By the way, those are rhetorical questions and will cause harm to anyone foolish enough to answer them.

    4. I have a passion for the past and have worked as a volunteer interpreter for a re-created village circa. 1914 (the eve of the Great War). I enjoy your journey with your beauty of a house.

    I am sure you already know this website:
    But I just want to make sure. Nagging Old Lady . . .

    • Ross on February 1, 2021 at 9:10 pm

      Well, it’s very nice to meet you, Judy! And thank you for the kind words! I get a thrill when anybody appreciates my writing.

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