Reversing the…OOPSIE.

When I purchased the Cross House in 2014 the south hall looked like this.


Then some idiot (who shall not be named) decided that it was vital to improve the traffic flow in the house by punching through the butler’s pantry to create an opening from the kitchen to the south hall. Can you believe this idiocy?


Luckily, a wiser head prevailed and this senseless destruction was reversed. After the wall opening was infilled the panty was fully reinstated. Whew! But THIS mess remained. Until…(scroll way down)…



















…other bits were reinstated!


The Lincrusta has minor areas of loss (easily infilled). The base and chair-rail fit right back in place. And see that rectangle of exposed lath (top)? That is the east portion of the lost “extension”…


…which I detailed, at length, in a previous post. The “extension” is to the left (east), and right (west), and was trimmed with gold gesso trim (stored in the basement!). The adjacent door frame was not original (circa-1929?), and was gone when I purchased the house.


With the wall now infilled, the “extension” can also be reinstated, which I am unnaturally excited about.

This is happening because it’s too cold to be working on the shingling. Tomorrow though may be OK to work outside!





  1. Colin Boss on January 17, 2020 at 11:36 pm

    Hi Ross…Happy New Year – and decade to you! That looks great. Whilst I can appreciate your desire to improve entrance to the kitchen, I think that ultimately this is the best approach. Keeping the integrity of the house has always been your main driver, so well done in reversing this.
    Sending weekend wishes from a sunny, but thankfully, cool-ish Dubai.


    • Ross on January 18, 2020 at 12:15 am


      You keep threatening a visit! And you are always welcome!

      Happy new year/new decade to you, as well!

  2. Linda A. on January 18, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Howdy! Ross, not only do I have my town hooked onto the weather channel on my Kindle but for the last several months I have Emporia too. And your weather out there is going to be worse than ours here in central Illinois for the next 10 days. I just looked before I read your blog this morning and thought, ” Oh darn! Ross is going to have to be inside working for some time now!” What items are on your list for these winter months? The bathrooms? The plaster? Super windy here today. We don’t want you up on that scaffolding!!

  3. ArtistSusan on January 18, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Looks nice, and I’m sure you will make the repair disappear. Of course, I was still hoping you would opt for a secret door into the pantry for the best of both worlds. Stay inside during bad weather, Ross. Can’t wait to see what you do next!

  4. Cody H on January 18, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    I don’t know..had it not been for that you rendered recreating the “arch” impossible because of where you punched the door through, I probably would have opted to keep it. It was especially evident just how circuitous the route is from side door to the kitchen the other day. That’s a very, very long walk.

    But, BUT..the arch 100% needs to be reinstated.

  5. Brian A on January 18, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    Wait a minute: The previously removed south hall door frame pictured in the last photo appears to have had a door attached to it. Whatever happened to THAT door?

    • Ross on January 18, 2020 at 11:46 pm

      You have good eye, Brian.

      I’ve been pondering the same question. Is THAT the original library door?

      • Kerri on January 19, 2020 at 2:51 am

        That would make a lot of sense. I was wondering why they would not have just used the original library door for the new
        library entrance, but this would explain why they didn’t do that. Maybe the door to the library/motel bathroom was the original pantry door.

  6. Anne L Taylor on January 20, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    the extension details are on the right side of the arch… are they also on the north side and if not how come?

    • Ross on January 23, 2020 at 8:06 pm

      Anne, the left side of the “extension” was removed before I purchased the house. I will be reinstating it.

  7. ruth miller on January 22, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    I really don’t remember how I came across your blog, but, I have found it very interesting. I’ve spent many late hours reading your posts. The Cross House is a beauty and, very worth saving. You are doing a great job restoring it. I also am learning stuff from your posts. I now know what lincrusta is. I’ve wondered about that for several years. Thanks !
    Interesting about the doors, the thin strips of trim, the original wallpaper, and so much more. I love the shades of color you are painting the exterior. Exterior color is so very important. I believe it must enhance the overall beauty of the house.
    Ruth miller

    • Ross on January 22, 2020 at 11:27 pm

      It is very nice meeting you, Ruth!

      And thank you for the kind words!


  8. ruth miller on January 23, 2020 at 10:03 pm

    Hello Ross,

    Last night my husband was looking over my shoulder. He wanted to know where the fabulous house is located. I told him your story. Then I showed him more photos of your house, all the while thinking to myself, “you know this house”. When I got to the one of the three stained-glass windows with arched tops, I said to him, “I have photos of similar windows on a giant house here somewhere in Indiana. I’ll show them to you tomorrow.”

    Well tomorrow has come. I set to the task of going through the gazillion memory cards I have. Lady luck was with me, for the first card had the images of the three windows. Yep, they looked like the ones in your house. I clicked to the next pic , and there she was…drum roll please…the Cross house. I took the photos on my way home from out West to Indiana, 2013. We took hwy 50. It was a GADZOOKS moment when I saw the house. We parked across the street so I could capture her to memory card. We commented on how large she must be in square footage, and that she still had shake shingles on the tower’s cap. We also made note of the horrendous shades of color on the house. Not “yummy” colors, but uhg colors when put with one another on any house. We also hoped someone would buy her, to bring her back to her glory.

    We converse about old houses like people talk about politics…’cept we think our subject is much more interesting.

    I would post the pics, or just one, if I knew how. I tried cut/paste…didn’t work.
    Keep up the good work!!!


    Ruth Miller

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