The Cross House

Stencilling…A Series of Shots

FIRST SHOT: The stencils are too hard. They look spray-painted on. I was kinda yearning for a more faded look. (NOTE: The unpainted oddity to the left is the 1894 wallpaper discovered behind the radiator. The radiator will be reinstalled after all the painting is done,)


SECOND SHOT: Faded, yes. But too faded.


THIRD SHOT: Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Stencils OUT OF CONTROL!


FINAL SHOT: Ahhh. All is now well. The stencils now look (particularly in person) hand-painted, and each medallion varies from dark to light. The blue is an unexpected touch, as desired. Note the bit of picture rail, upper right.


FINAL SHOT: There is nice variation in the stencils; some are quite subtle and some are less so. And you can see how well everything works with the stained-glass, which has been the #1 consideration. I also wanted the stencils to complement the woodwork.


I am using six colors:

  • Copper (metallic)
  • Dark gold (metallic)
  • Silver (metallic)
  • Blue
  • Pearl
  • Pale gold

The metallic colors shimmer and change as one takes a promenade* around the room. The effect is striking. Once the whole room is stenciled this effect should be kinda amazing.

Next week I will begin stenciling the frieze!

The ceiling will also have stencils but this will have to wait until I do some repair work on the plaster.

*channelling Jane Austin.



15 Responses to Stencilling…A Series of Shots

  1. Far out! I’m enviously enjoying the process of seeing your vision materialize. I’m intrigued by your design philosophy and can’t wait to see the two eras fully juxtaposed – something I never considered, but am anxious to see (yet I’m sure will be genius!) One day I’ll have to head east for the CRoss House Grand Tour to get the full effect. Thanks for sharing your amazing adventure with us Ross – great fun reading your posts!

  2. I know everyone will offer their congratulations, but the design just doesn’t tickle my fancy. I could see a fleur-de-lis with a half drop on those walls. Or a paper or stenciling similar to the Tiffany designed papers that were in the Mark Twain House in Hatford, Ct.

    • It seems that your fancy is for a period-correct stenciling, which I totally understand.

      But I am very consciously going for a non-period aesthetic with regards to the parlor, and the stencil chosen is a component of the eventual finished look.

  3. Well Ross, you might say I am obsessed with the aesthetic that I like. I don’t know if many will agree with me, and there was trashy design(kitsch) during the Victorian era, as well as the sublime. What pleases me the most is that I find Victorian designs to be masculine, even when they are covered in birds and flowers. Dark oak- or walnut- geometric shapes, flattened floral shapes and animals strikes me as masculine. While Victorian houses have been called (painted) ladies I still see artistic elements that strike me as masculine, and that has great appeal. Cirlicues, ruffles and pastel colors do not appeal to me. And so ends my rant.

  4. OH WOW! I just love it…especially the touch of blue. The fading in and out is genius. The eye just wants to travel through it all and back again. Thank you Ross for sharing your process.

  5. I love, love, love the blue against the lovely green wall. You have an exquisite eye for color!

    • Thank you! The blue is there because I long ago learned the value of the Discordant Element. Something which isn’t quite right, but brings the rest to life.

      It is more art than science!

  6. Sitting in my own front parlor gazing out the window while drinking my late morning coffee and reading your post…my eyes drift across the landscape of my farm’s south pastures…pausing along the tree line, my eyes delight in the harmony of newly emerging elm leaves colored a bright chartreuse against a pale blue spring sky finally free of winter’s somber clouds. Understand completely how these inspiring colors will give you many days of JOY in the regal parlor of the Cross House, Ross!

  7. I actually like the crazy, out of control version, myself. There were a couple that you covered back over that definitely needed to go, but I’m missing that little blue guy peeking out from the top of the baseboard. He was cute!

  8. Ross,
    I just love how you have brought the walls to life!
    Your vibrant and daring palette choice ( that very weird signature chartreuse of yours) is so unexpected and works so well against the wood and stained glass. The metallics add elegance and mystery-and you handled the stenciling so well with the stippled variagated tones.

    I always feel that a room dictates to what it wants to say and of course, also reflects the person who lives there.
    This masterful combination of lyrical stencils and jubilant color reflects your brilliance, uniqueness, humor, eye for detail and perfection.
    Well done! It’s looking glorious!

  9. I love how they are ‘there’ but not jumping out to get you! It is like jewelry worn well! Accentuating the windows, but not stealing the show!

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