The Cross House


So, I got up at 5AM this morning, breathless to paint the swags on the tower.

Would this solution work????????

When I arrived at the Cross House at the crack of dawn, I had no idea how to reach the swags. My ladder is not tall enough.

Still, I was desperate. MUST SEE SWAGS GREEN!

Then I remembered that I had some rope in the car. So I wrapped myself in rope, and swung out from the third-floor tower windows. Scary!

I was able to place my feet against the protruding trim below the swags, and balance pretty well. Whew! Except holding the paint can and brush was not easy. But I was determined!

Well, I just finished!

Wanna see the results?

Scroll down…























ZOUNDS! I think this may be the solution!


(It is possible that everything I wrote above is a lie. It is also possible that Alex kindly sent another Photoshopped image. But, no matter how the results were created, I like the results. Thanks, Alex!)

34 Responses to Ta-Da!

  1. It looks great, Ross. However, if those swags are highlighted in that way, then shouldn’t all the other decorative metal be highlighted the same way? You probably said so, but haven’t you already determined the manner in which the raised details were treated? I.E., they weren’t highlighted in this manner as a rule?

    • Originally, the decorative metal was painted, it seems, the same color as the background metal. But, the projecting cornices were green on green, while the “flat” decorative bits were the original creamy wall color on creamy wall color.

      So, in 1894 there were TWO different treatments, but both were nonetheless still X color on X color, or Y color on Y color.

      As previous posts have detailed, I tried to recreate this scheme but ended up deviating from it, and thus created a consistency problem.

      What I am now trying to do is just let go of What Was In 1894 (because it is impossible to recreate it, as previously detailed) and just go with What I Like.

      You see, to be consistent, I would have to paint the swags green, plus the entire flat metal panel between the second- and third-floor windows. Alex showed this in a Photoshopped image…and the effect is not appealing.

  2. I am with you. Unquestionably the best of all of the options. Although I am disappointed that you didn’t really wrap rope around yourself and hang out the window to paint them. That would have been as impressive as the final results.

  3. You frightened me!! Then I realized this is Ross & the year 2017. Lol!! Is there someway to embrace the red chimney so it’s not just there. Ross has never liked “just there”!!

    • There are two more towering chimneys. As you walk around the house they are highly obvious.

      So, the chimney in the image is not alone!

      • Ross, I don’t remember if you’ve ever mentioned lightning rods in your posts, or if Cross House ever had them, but seeing your chimney reminded me of this website for just such things:

        Cool stuff, and reasonably priced, IMO.

        And just for the record, I really didn’t think twice about you hanging out a window wrapped in rope to paint. I really didn’t. *grin* I guess it’s cuz in my mind, you’re closely related to Superman!

  4. HAHA I wanted to see the picture of you hanging by a rope out the windows!!
    Yes, I agree – that looks perfect.

  5. That looks better than I thought! I think you have your answer, and I’m glad to hear you talk about doing what you want, not what was done in 1894. This has just enough dark green to make it stand out, but not so much that it looks too heavy.

  6. Now for the medallion! Picked out in dark trim green like the sashes or boldly colored like the turret bands or left alone??? That should be easy to photoshop!

  7. Is it weird I actually belived Ross would hang out a window in a rope in order to paint? I didn’t even question it…

  8. Looks great, now I can’t remember if you have addressed what will happen to the chimney stack. It looks so out of place now

    • Hi Linda!

      As I wrote above, there are two more towering chimneys. As you walk around the house they are highly obvious.

      So, the chimney in the image does not look out-of-place in person!!

      • Will the chimney stay this colour? Do you please want to do a little video tour around the outside of the house for us?

  9. Ross, when I enlarge the black and white images of the house the medallion reads a bit darker than the siding color, but not as dark as the trim colors. I’m wondering if the base were that creamy color rather than the color you used (sorry, I remember the agony such a revelation caused) then the medallion could be the darker color you are now painting the house? Likewise, when I look at the lattice trim under the porch, the lattice itself looks lighter than the trim boards around the lattice, but not as dark as the trim on other parts of the house. Just my eye wondering. And yes, I realize it is a big house, a hot summer, a high up in the sky scaffold and the sweat of your brow, not mine doing all the work. And your delicate sensibilities and attention to details that agonize over each restored inch.

  10. Ross, I’m not sure what your decision is for ALL the scroll work around the house, but I do hope you enhance it. It’s so beautiful that it should be brought out, not hidden with one color paint. Just my 2 cents (or is it now 10 cents).

  11. After binge-reading from the oldest to current in the last few days, I have the greatest admiration for the quantity and quality of the work you’re doing. When you started talking about the colors you wanted to use in the parlor, I thought you were nuts! However, I now think it’s beautiful.

    It’s been intriguing to watch your connection with the house changing during the time you have had it. Originally, it seemed like you had a certain, clear path you were following, but as time moved on and you listened to your Grande Dame, she has clarified what you can do to and with her. I’ve greatly enjoyed your interaction with her. In essence, this says it from me:

    When the Cross House grumbles, Ross gets cross
    But when the Cross House smiles, Ross if full of joy!

    Try saying that first line fast a few times…

    • I arrived at the Cross House yesterday and saw right way that the two potted plants on the front porch were wilted. That seemed odd as they are on an auto sprinkler. So I went inside to fill a bucket of water.

      But no water! Damn! I must not have paid the bill.

      So I went to city hall (just two blocks away) to pay the bill. When I asked how soon the water would be hooked back up the clerk gave me a strange look. I asked again. Same strange look.

      Then the clerk asked: “Have you been out of town?”

      “No, why?”

      “Don’t you read the newspapers or listen to the radio?”

      “No, why?”

      “The whole city is without water. The water main broke.”

      Oh. I wanted my check back!

      Anyway, I was directed to a Salvation Army which was giving away gallons of water. Because I live alone they would only give me a gallon. But I needed two for the plants! So I said: “I have cats!” Without hesitation the two elderly ladies handed me another gallon, with a big smile. “For the kitties.”

      The day saved!

  12. Wow, love the swags!!!! Believe it or not, once I was helping paint my folks home where the lot sloped on the south side so that there was not an extension ladder made that could get me up to the peak. So, my brother-in-law parked his pick up on the north side. I wrapped my waist with rope, climbed over the roof, rappelled down the south side and painted all of the high places. It worked remarkably well until Mom saw what we were doing and pitched an absolute fit!! Years later when the house needed to be painted again, she put her foot down hard and they ended up installing vinyl siding….Ugh, the horror of it, but it worked for them. I drove by the old place a few months ago and the current owners (who love all things old) were pulling off the vinyl siding, prepping and painting the original siding back the way it belongs. Sometimes you just have to love an 80 year old couple who thought first about the safety of their son rather than preserving the appearance of their old, worn house!!

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