Searching for Elusive Finishes. II



In my previous post, I wrote about the cast-iron frames, and insert panels, which cover the openings of each of the eight fireplaces in the Cross House. These beautiful creations are all glopped with paint, and I belatedly wondered: WHAT was lurking under all the paint? The answer, at least regarding the Library insert panel, was the remains of a copper-plated finish (upper third of panel). The rest had been burned away from the heat of the many fires. I am breathlessly awaiting a quote to recreate the copper plating with an antique finish.



Of course, my mind (and Bo’s) immediately began racing with THE question: what was hiding under the other seven frames/panels???????? Of particular curiosity was the fireplace in the Round Bedroom, because it has highly distinctive BLUE tiles, the most vivid in the house. I could not picture a frame/insert in copper-plate. Can you? No, so WHAT was hidden under the blue paint? Silver plate with an antique finish?



Ahhhh, no. More copper! Really, I was quite startled.



What you are seeing is mostly copper paint. There are just small bits of the original copper plate remaining (on the flowers).


Well, now I have to do another frame and see what is under its paint!

The Entrance Hall fireplace?


Long Bedroom?

Or the other three fireplaces?

Oh! I am wracked with indecision! Wracked!



  1. Mary Garner-Mitchell on October 12, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Oh, Ross. I love this. I also believe the copper will be lovely with the blue tiles. The copper compliments this hue as well as ties best into the wood tones. Silver might be nice but I fear would be a bit much.

    • Ross on October 12, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      I will have the antiqued copper plating recreated. I was just surprised it was there!

      • Mary Garner-Mitchell on October 13, 2016 at 5:25 am

        I have one of these lovers that my mother gave me. It too has multiple layers of paint, the last being flat black! Guess what I think I’m gonna HAVE do now??? (I just use it decoratively in a tableau — my fireplaces are colonial and federal).

        • Mary Garner-Mitchell on October 13, 2016 at 5:28 am

          “Lovers” ??? LOL!!! I mean COVERS!!! (Though stripping my lover might lend a nice surprise, too!)

  2. Bo on October 12, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    Reminds me of the time after I bought my 1894 house when I broke through the drop ceiling in the entry and discovered a plaster ceiling medallion lurking a foot above in darkness!

    I rushed around knocking holes in all the other drop ceilings – and didn’t find a single other one. 🙁

    Sometimes the stories I tell myself about how it should have been are more interesting than the stories of what it really was. Though your house, delightfully, keeps throwing the other sorts of good surprises…

  3. Carole Sukosd on October 12, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Oh what problems you have because you have eight fireplaces. EIGHT ! ! ! ! ! 8…..Oh my. I can’t wait to see them decorated for the holiday seasons ! ! Seriously, have you figured out your approximate move in date ? We all want to know when to plan our “road trips” to Kansas.

  4. Melody on October 12, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    All Of Them!! 😀

    Don’t ever lose your sense of wonder and that undeniable curiosity! It keeps us intrigued!!

    • Ross on October 12, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      All of them?

      Only if you come help!

      • Melody on October 13, 2016 at 11:09 pm

        The only thing I know how to restore is frying pans.

        But…. I certainly would come for a visit if I could ever manage to have both the time and money ~ at the same time! ~ to be able to take a good road trip.

  5. Mike on October 13, 2016 at 9:06 am

    We have a fireplace in our dining room with the cast iron frame and a very ornate plate, both painted. We installed a small gas log in the fireplace several years ago, and the plate has been in the back of a closet ever since. Your posts make me want to strip it all and use the plate, just not sure that it would work with the gas log…

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