THE 1970s…are in the house!

Previously, I did a post about decorating the parlor and library of the 1894 Cross House.

In the parlor I was thinking about using an incredibly wild & crazy 1970s-inspired paper by the esteemed Bradbury & Bradbury.

It arrived today.


Proof. That I might be insane.


The library has almost NO wall space as the room is 80% bookshelves and 15% windows and doors.

But what little wall space there is will soon be covered in the above WILDLY unexpected paper.



Bo really really really wants me to choose period-correct papers for the house and we have debated the issue at length. And at some point I plan to, at some considerable expense, recreate the 1894 papers for the two-story stairhall: wallpaper, frieze, and ceiling paper.

If Bo is able to reconstruct the 1894 parlor paper from the remaining fragments, I will almost certainly recreate this paper, too, at a later date.

But in other rooms, like the library, I plan on having some fun, and love the idea that the house will reflect 123-years of design.

Still, I am now certain that Bo, during his recent visit, cast a spell over the house. I can hear it whispering: Period-correct papers! Period-correct papers! Period-correct papers! 

And it is not just me. The other day Justin and I were walking through the house and he asked: “Do you hear that?

I froze. And in my most nonchalant voice said: “Hear what?”

“It’s like a whisper. I can barely hear it…”

I smiled, as if unconcerned, when inside I was freakin’ out man! Freakin’ out!

“…but it seems to be be repeating something about…period-correct papers. Huh? What does that mean?”

At that instant I realized: something had to be done.

A few hours later I went online and found an anti-spell. For only $9.99!

After I unrolled the paper above, I invoked the anti-spell…and the whispers subsided. Whew. Whew!

Now, I just need to read the fine print on the anti-spell to make sure the wallpaper hanger will also be protected.





  1. B. Davis on March 23, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    You’re nuts. In the best way possible. lol It’s YOUR house now. It is not 1894. Do what makes you smile! (at least in one room)

  2. Seth Hoffman on March 23, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    Although I’m generally not much of a fan of 70s decor, I do dig that paper. While clearly from a very different era, the pattern and scale have vague similarity with some Victorian styles, so I think you can claim that.

    Besides, during its heyday, wallpaper was often re-applied every 5-10 years anyway, so I see no reason that your first paper installation needs to be made with the gravity of permanence.

  3. joanne on March 23, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    You are doing a fabulous job in that house…but it IS your house! Have fun! If, at a later date you decide the voices were correct, THEN use period correct paper! Until then, tell those voices to just quiet down, in the utmost polite way…or yell it loudly!Either way, the paper WILL be fun! I was prepared to not like it, but you are right once again…it’s happy fun paper!

  4. Kelly on March 23, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Honestly, I don’t get it when people complain about period/non period correct wallpaper/furniture/paint colors. Things like that are not permanent so why the hell does it matter? I just want to scream at people when they complain about that. I think the wallpaper is pretty cool, it’s fun and put a smile on my face when I saw it. It’s not like you are removing a wall to put it up. Tell people that complain about it to go play in traffic. 😀

    • Ross on March 23, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Kelly! I love it when you vent!

      You make ME smile!

      For The Record:

      I enjoy having fun with the debates between Bo and myself. And I hugely enjoy such debates! They make me think more about what I am doing.

      I hope (hope!!!!!) it is obvious in my post that I took a huge dramatic license in telling the story! Certainly Bo did not cast a period-correct spell on the house! During his visit he was actually exceedingly professional in respecting our diverse approaches to decorating a period house, and I even commented on this to him.

      It is true that Bo really wants me to install period-correct papers throughout the house but he has never pushed his opinions. [UPDATE: Bo states that this is not true! See his comment, below!] Bo thinks that because the house is SO intact that it deserves wall/ceiling treatments which complement the historical integrity of the house. I both agree and disagree. My response, full of conflict, will be reflected in SOME rooms eventually receiving reproductions of the original papers, and SOME rooms going wild like the library.

      I am continually in awe of Bo’s expertise (his deep level of knowledge blows me away) and am immensely grateful for his willingness to share his brilliance/passion with me and on this blog.

      • Kelly on March 23, 2017 at 9:57 pm

        Sorry, I didn’t mean about Bo just toward the people that act like you’ve killed a baby kitten because you chose a certain choice of wallpaper/paint. Don’t let Bo play in traffic!! I’ve enjoyed your posts about him/search for the original wallpaper design.

        • Ross on March 23, 2017 at 10:05 pm

          I know what you mean!

          While Bo is exceedingly professional in offering his views, I well know the feeling of being singed by people who get REALLY mad when I do something they disapprove of! I am always stunned by this!

          • Kerri on March 23, 2017 at 10:35 pm

            I totally remember the great pantry debate and I kept thinking, OMG, I hope they don’t make him so mad that he shuts down the blog! I really thought one of three things would happen. Either you would get mad, decide you were wrong and change it back, or just stop writing about controversial decisions. (I do trust though that you haven’t instituted an “open floor plan” just to spite the naysayers!)

            [Ross response: This made me smile, too! I enjoy differing opinions and love it when readers feel comfortable offering them!]

    • Seth Hoffman on March 23, 2017 at 11:43 pm

      Yes, I totally agree. Should we expect the owners to wear period-appropriate clothing when living in the house too?

      Now people who paint over original millwork, that I do feel strongly about. THAT is not so easily changed!

      • Ross on March 24, 2017 at 8:21 am

        Ah! Painting original millwork!

        THAT freaks me out!

      • JET Texas on March 26, 2017 at 9:21 am

        There are people who do this.


        Since they’ve got it covered, no need for Ross to do it.

    • JET Texas on March 26, 2017 at 9:19 am

      I agree. The house will be restored, that is what matters. Woodwork, stained glass windows, lincrusta….Ross isn’t tearing down walls and creating an open floor plan! Who cares about personal decor that can be easily changed? Besides, that 70s wallpaper looks groovy. I say yes to anything that makes you smile.

  5. EJ on March 23, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Ross, I like the paper, love the colors. It wouldn’t work in any other room, but the library. It’s fun and fits you. I do believe Mr. Squires approves and has a smile on his face.

  6. Mary Garner-Mitchell on March 23, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Cross House A-Go-Go!! I love it!!

    • Ross on March 23, 2017 at 9:40 pm

      Ya’ made me laugh! And I suddenly have a hankering to install a Disco ball in the library!

      • john feuchtenberger on March 23, 2017 at 10:02 pm

        Party at the RossCross House! Have to eschew the smoking, of course:

        • Ross on March 23, 2017 at 10:08 pm



        • Lisa Ann Phillips on March 29, 2017 at 12:45 pm

          Were they twerking??? OMG, nothing new under the sun is there? LOL!!! Love the wallpaper Ross! 🙂

  7. Kerri on March 23, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    I love the paper and besides, it’s period correct in the sense that it IS wallpaper. Maybe a good compromise on the whole period correct versus not period correct debate would be to restore the wallpaper if you can figure out what was there originally (assuming you don’t hate it) and then do as you please in rooms you can’t determine what the original wallpaper looked like. Anyway, love the wallpaper and also your new chair!

    • Ross on March 23, 2017 at 10:23 pm

      Kerri, you have touched upon an important issue.

      While I show the above wild & crazy paper, I am also going to stencil on a frieze, and ceiling patterns.

      This way, the walls/ceiling WILL reflect a period-correct approach in having patterns. And I am doing this because of what I have learned from Bo.

      Three years ago I had NO idea of how to decorate an early 1890s interior. Today, largely thanks to Bo, my eye has been “tuned” and having plain walls/ceilings would now seem odd to me.

      I have hugely enjoyed the creative challenge of trying to be respectful of the house while simultaneously having fun!

  8. Bo on March 24, 2017 at 1:00 am

    This will look great in the library, which definitely has its own style and identity. Plus, wallpaper is reversible.

    • Ross on March 24, 2017 at 8:23 am

      Thanks, Bo!

  9. Colin Boss on March 24, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Ross, this is a fantastic paper which will look lovely in the house. The colour and pattern are so vibrant, and given that you intend to use sparingly, will not overwhelm. As others have said, any house is a home which reflects the tastes of the owner. Therefore there is no need to live in a museum, rather have the home reflect your tastes as well as the various periods the home has survived through.

  10. Bo on March 24, 2017 at 1:53 am

    I didn’t read the previous comments, and didn’t realize I had become a compass point for navigating the stormy waters of “period-correct interiors”…

    Ross does take artistic licence in representing my “point of view” at times – for instance, I don’t believe he should install period-correct papers throughout the house – and that’s just part of being engaged with this fantastic project and blog.

    I am really not a stickler for period correctness the way it sometimes gets interpreted or projected – more an advocate for the power of deeply informed period inspiration. And I certainly get that not everyone has the time or the interest in going there for themselves.

    But not everyone lives in the Cross House, either.

    I would hope my whisperings to Ross have more to do with visions of artistic opportunity and evocations of era-inspired beauty and experience than some rigid or moralistic “right” or “wrong” way of doing things…

    As I’ve stated before, I believe in establishing creative goals and then measuring solutions by whether or not they “work” to achieve those goals. Having fun is an essential goal! (And also not the only goal when restoring an exceptional old house.)

    I hope you all will get to experience Ross’s parlor/library someday – it is a fantastic space, and this wallpaper will be fabulous in it. The peacock bathroom paper is going to be killer, too!

    P.S. If any of you want to check out one of my projects that attempts to balance period style with personal inspiration, client creativity, and modern ways of living, you can look here.

    • Ross on March 24, 2017 at 8:40 am

      Thanks, Bo, for inviting us all into your mind!

      And I really DID think you wanted me to do all period-correct papers! I gladly stand corrected! And I amended by comment above.

      Your generosity and expertise ARE informing what I do at the Cross House. Also, you kindly left me with dozens and dozens of period catalogs which I have bene pouring over! Do I really have to return them?

      And thanks for the link at the end ! It is always a thrill seeing your work!

      NOTE TO READERS: The April, 2017, issue of Old House Journal has a GREEN kitchen which Bo consulted on! Fabulous!

  11. Chad on March 24, 2017 at 8:27 am

    There are very few instances where I’d want to criticize people to their faces. One I can think of, an old run down house with these massive wood beams in the living room. Then someone fixed it up but painted them. I could only see through the windows but I almost crashed my car.

    • Ross on March 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

      I once got into an epic fight with a new homeowner who tore out a stunningly intact 1940s kitchen!

      WHAT did you do????????

      WHY did you do that????????

      WHAT were you thinking????????

      ARE YOU INSANE????????

      And I don’t regret my fury!

      • Chad on March 24, 2017 at 8:43 am

        I told my mom that I might someday be compelled to make a backhanded comment to the neighbors who threw away a house’s worth of 1930’s 3-paneled shutters (that weren’t even peeling) and put up the flexy plastic ones. She told me I’d better not.

  12. Connie in Hartwood on March 24, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I really like this wallpaper!

  13. Lis on March 24, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Oh….. what a great idea…I also have some downright crazy wallpaper in my home, right at the entrance, probably just to make people aware of the general state of mind of the inhabitants of our house 🙂
    I am sure this will look amazing.
    In the end, you will live there and as part of the history of this house, I think it is almost mandatory to leave your traces.
    Have fun and go crazy. I’ll close with words out of my favourite book:
    “Have I gone mad? I’m afraid so.
    You’re entirely Bonkers.
    But I will tell you a secret,
    All the best people are.”

    ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

    Love your choice!

  14. Melody on March 24, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    If we were to expect that everything be left/returned to period correct decor, that would mean that my house would always have yellow shag carpet in the basement.

    • Ross on March 25, 2017 at 8:00 am

      A terrifying thought!

  15. Doug Walker on March 25, 2017 at 9:38 am

    The only way to tolerate that paper would be to dim the lights. Toke a couple of J’s— no it would take more than a couple. Better yet, turn the lights off, then smoke a couple of J’s. At that point you wouldn’t care what was on the walls.

    Period correct paper.
    Period correct paper.
    Period correct paper.

    Trust me, the 70’s weren’t so great.

    • Ross on March 26, 2017 at 9:30 am


      You are a fabulous curmudgeon.

      This, of course, is what I love about you!

  16. Sandra Lee on March 25, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Love the wallpaper for the library! Much of the library had to be redone such as the ceiling due to the fire/water damage. so I think it a great idea for a room that needed to be updated and what better than with a funky wallpaper. What fun! That and the peacocks in the bathroom are going to be sensational. Also your idea of putting together original wallpaper with recreated for the entry/stairwell will make a statement. It will be the first vision upon entry and will be perfect as it will be period along with period colors and with the doors and glass. That will be stunning! Of course prohibitively expensive and must wait a bit for that reason. Have fun with other rooms to make it your space! You have such a sense of peace and contentment every time you enter the Cross House, and that alone means to let your own creativity be unleashed. It will continue to give you peace and be so comfortable when you finally move in. Are you getting close to that point? Vintage lighting work projects interspersed with Cross House? Is the garage ok to bring over your vintage projects for storage? I remember that was the impetus was the need for immense storage space. Where will you work on your vintage lighting? Perhaps the garage will be your work area or will you dedicate Cross House space for your projects? Anyway you are energized and also at peace with your Cross House mission. Continue to be energized with ideas outside the box. That is your speciality! Haha

  17. Sandra Lee on March 25, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    OMG love the sensational Bob Fosse choreography/Cross House party scene! Also meant entry/two-story stairhall and not stairwell. Love your ideas and love the blog!

  18. djd_fr on March 26, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Have some fun. It’s not a museum.

  19. Nikki on March 30, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    So much Yessss! And you need a tall vase full of peacock feathers to go with it!

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