The Cross House

Round. Resumed.

Justin called me yesterday.

“Do you have any indoor work? I am freezing at the outside job I am working on.”

I replied: “Why, yes, Yes I do.”

And so begins today’s tale…


Last winter I began working on the FABULOUS round bedroom.

This will be my office. And I am living for the day when I am installed as such.

Before that can happen however…


…a bit of work may be required.


Save the now restored parlor, and the close-to-being-restored library, all the rooms in the Cross House look like this.

The previous owner rewired the room but I pulled all this out last winter because more than three times the wire necessary had been installed. The room was wired more like an airplane cockpit than bedroom. The previous owner did the whole house like this as he planned to have everything controlled by computer. However, the same idea can now be realized via wireless technology. So, what was state-of-the-art in 1999 was passé by 2018.

I then realized that the room should have its own electrical sub-panel because it is 3,696 miles from the main breaker panel. OK, maybe not that far but still crazy far away. With a sub-panel, I can bring a single wire to it from the main panel, and then all the room wires can feed off the sub-panel. But that single wire needed to be a special wire, a special and $$$ wire, which I purchased many months ago.


May I introduce my special and $$$ wire?


May I introduce my cute sub-panel? When the room is done I will hang a picture over it. (Note: I have the two missing blue tiles.)


The previous owner created a raceway near the ceiling by removing the plaster. So, I could reuse this to pull new wires. I thought it would be easy to drop the wires vertically down to the new electrical outlets. But…no. Justin and I discovered that between each vertical stud in the round tower are FOUR short horizontal studs. Argh! Thus a bunch of small holes had to be created to access these horizontal studs and drill holes through them to fish a wire through. Geez. And not for the first time I thought: WHY did I buy an old house???????? Luckily for the Cross House, this moment always passes quickly.


The non-tower walls have angled braces between each vertical stud. This meant more small holes.


Small hole debris.


We managed to install the cute sub-panel, run the endlessly long $$$$ wire to the main panel. and snake all the wires for the electrical sockets today. AND, we had a nice lunch at Radius!

Tomorrow, we will finish! Squee!!!!!!!!

Then — and I am sooooo excited — the repairs to the walls and ceilings can commence!



The above work is happening because it is too cold to work outside. But, this being Kansas, it will be 50 degrees in a few days. Then back to cold, then back to around 50. This is what the rest of November and December will be like. Hey, it may even reach 70 degrees for a short while. The plan, thus, is to jump between the round bedroom and the exterior re-shingling project till the end of the year. In January, I will focus full-time on the round bedroom.

The above work is happening, also, because the round bedroom needs to be finished before I can move in. I don’t need a finished bedroom or kitchen or bathroom but a finished office is a requirement. There is nothing worse than trying to do business or work on a computer with ladders and dust all around.



20 Responses to Round. Resumed.

  1. I wonder if all those braces in the walls of the round tower are to give it shear bracing- I’d imagine they are necessary to keep the tower from twisting under its own 3-story weight.

    • The diagonal corner supports were for bracing; the horizontal boards were called “fire blocks”, and were intended to slow down the progression of fire up through the otherwise hollow wall cavities. My great-grandmother’s house was likely saved from burning to the ground because of them; she had a receptacle short out one day while she was out, and the wiring in the wall ignited. her neighbor saw smoke seeping out between a couple of clapboards, and called my uncle down the road, who was able to put it out before it had spread. The cavity between the floor and the fire block was charred, but only smoke above it.

  2. Ross, I took note of the radius baseboard in the room and I am wondering how it was done. Was the back of the boards kerfed and then heated- or steam bent and nailed while still hot? I am very curious and also would be very surprised if there are many that can do the same kind of carpentry work today. I have seen round porch railings replaced with angled railings. There must be a source of information on how it was done. What say ye?

  3. Well hello again Kenny’s beautifully cleaned mantel!

    Also, it’s just thrilling to hear the present tense in this sentence!

    “The above work is happening, also, because the round bedroom needs to be finished before I can move in.”

    That’s no longer being said like it’s years down the line, and that just fills me with joy. ​😺 ​

  4. Lovely way to start my day, reading this post. So happy to see you are making Baby Steps(TM) toward moving in.

    I’m also looking forward to seeing how you decorate this room. I love all the stained glass in the Cross House with a passion, but the glass in this room is particularly lovely.

  5. Before I began my own restoration, I was in some ways terrified of “opening up” my house, afraid of what I would find, worried that I couldn’t put it back properly, etc. Now that I an well in to my second year of it, I actually enjoy the process (most of the time). Seeing how the carpenters did things over 130 years ago is awesome, and I get really excited when I find old measurements scribbled on a stud that has been encased in a wall since 1886. I am not at all good with heights, but I have somewhat subdued my fears; the reward is being able to examine and repair original exterior details that I had never even noticed from ground level. As my confidence has grown, so have my abilities; if it were not for the inspiration I got from Ross, the Cross House, and this blog, I honestly would have likely hired most of the work done and missed out on so much. Getting up close and physical with your house is very rewarding 🙂

  6. Running into more problems than anticipated is always the way with an old house. I’m glad to hear you are almost finished running the special and very expensive wire. I must say again how gorgeous that mantel by the sub-panel is, and especially the blue tiles. Swoon!

  7. What is the preferred Ross method to nearly cut plaster and lath for outlet boxes and other things? Signed, a guy who has to neatly cut plaster and lath for outlet boxes and other things.

  8. Finally, I have caught up! I love the fact you rescue cats. I love cats, but my husband is allergic…. I had cats in the past and plan to be a crazy cat lady in my plan B ( don’t ask!).
    You have done a great job on the outside! Pat yourself on the back.
    Now, how do I sign up for new posts? I want to keep up! Laura

    Ps I voted for her too and hate the orange cheeto

  9. Finally, I have caught up! I love the fact you rescue cats. I love cats, but my husband is allergic…. I had cats in the past and plan to be a crazy cat lady in my plan B ( don’t ask!).
    You have done a great job on the outside! Pat yourself on the back.

    Ps I voted for her too and hate the orange cheeto

    • Haha, our lips are sealed about Plan B, Laura, have no fear ;D

      I also wonder how you can subscribe to get notified about a new post, there only seems to be the means to subscribe to comments as far as I can tell? But that doesn’t make much sense on a blog so we must be missing something, help us mystified people out, Ross?

      I check the box that says notify me of new posts by email, but it doesn’t, only comments.

      • Jackie: I’m not sure what web browser you’re using, or if the subscribe option appears in different places in different browsers. But I use Chrome, and if I scroll down past “Leave a Response,” and the Name, Email, and Website fields, there is an option to “Notify me of new posts by email.” I think if you click that box, you get the email notifications. I could be wrong, but I think that’s how I subscribed.

        • That’s what I click, Barb, yep, and I get email notifications, but only for the follow up comments, not new posts. I’m using Firefox, I’d not considered it being a browser problem, hmmm ​🤔 ​I’ll hope over onto Chrome and post this reply, and check that box, using that, and see if it makes any difference next time Ross makes a new post. ​😃

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