The Cross House

Revealing a Colorful Past

Under many many many layers of wallpaper on the kitchen walls I found many many many layers of paint. It is interesting that the kitchen was repainted regularly, then suddenly wallpaper was introduced.


On the right is, I think, the top layer of plaster. Then you can see many layers of paint. I count at least a dozen. I think an infrared stripper will clean all the paint off. Must ask Santa for one.


6 Responses to Revealing a Colorful Past

  1. Are there any clues as to whether the original stove was wood fired, coal, or gas? Having a wood or coal fire going constantly would put a fair bit of soot on the walls. Maybe it was constantly repainted to keep it looking clean and fresh.

  2. Wow, that is a lot of paint! I like that you’re exploring the various colors through the years.

    I don’t know the history of it, but the theory on repainting to cover soot seems reasonable. Perhaps there’s evidence of this in the area near where the stove would have been located.

    Our 104-year-old house has at most 4 or 5 layers. It was owned by conservative Midwesterners for long periods, though, so they were less likely to go to the effort of redecorating very often.

  3. In the UK kitchens in particular were usually painted either this shade of green or a light yellow in Victorian and Edwardian times. Because of grease, soot etc, kitchens were usually repainted every other year. My Edwardian apartment was built around the same time as the underCross(Ross?) House and has almost the same colour, again under multiple layers of paper and shades ranging from apple green through to a dull, mustardy yellow which seems to have been the original.

  4. The top layers being wallpaper and the earlier layers being paint makes sense. Attitudes toward kitchens have changed drastically since 1894. In 1894 a kitchen was a workspace for the servants. But gradually people stopped using servants and started doing their own cooking, and kitchens started being treated more like living spaces. There’s no need to decorate a workspace, just keep it clean and presentable enough so that the servants take pride in their work. But a living space is deserving of wallpaper, and in general, the most expensive finishes you can reasonably afford.

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