The Cross House

The Brutalized South Facade

The weather has warmed up! So, I have resumed my focus on the south facade of the Cross House.

And boy, is it beat.

I have now worked on the west facade, north, and east. And most of what was there in 1894 is still there today. Very few shingles or siding needed replacing, and almost no trim.

But the south facade? Geez. The sun, combined with gutters left unattended, has just brutalized all-that-is-wood.


See the boarded-up window (upper right)? The sashes, at first, seemed unsalvageable. But…they are now gorgeously restored and will soon be revealed. The window frame was a mess though, and this was caused by the sun, and the fact that a downspout was missing for who-knows-how-long just next to the window. You can see my cobbled-together downspout. It ain’t pretty but it works!


The window sill was just gone. Or so it seemed.


After removing the entire window frame, I discovered that the sill was in two parts. The lower part (1-1/2-inches thick) was in fine shape! But there was a 3/4-inch upper part which could not be saved. This was replaced with pressure-treated lumber, so as to avoid it rotting in twenty years or so.


With the still now resurrected, the rest of the frame needed attention. All the finished trim proved unsalvageable.


Today. The SIDES of the frame are original. The lower part of the SILL is original. The upper CROWN trim is original. But all the white parts? That is new PVC trim, and with new pine trim just below.


My intention is to help assure that this window will not look in twenty years what it looked like two weeks ago. I write twenty years because while the original lumber lasted, sorta, for 124-years, this was enabled by the fact that it was almost certainly old-growth lumber. But new lumber? Well, new lumber is mostly shit. I have zero confidence in it lasting past two decades.

Hence, a pressure-teated upper sill, and PVC trim. When it is all painted nobody will be the wiser and the restored window should have a much longer lifespan.

Good wood is still available today but at an exorbitant cost, and via a time-consuming search.

I also like the idea that my very old house can be renewed by taking advantage of modern products.


There is a small window to get the frame painted and re-installed. Cross your fingers!




6 Responses to The Brutalized South Facade

  1. My goodness, what a fiddly business to process all of those parts! I’ve faith that you’ll having it installed and looking ship shape in no time. Happy Thanksgiving Ross.

  2. Ross! I am praying for the weather to hold … opportunity for this work to come to fruition!
    Hugs & warm wishes this Thanksgiving & happy day after Thanksgiving feast tomorrow! Celebrated with my great love Kelly O’Hara & meeting his youngest! Made a gr8 feast & brought China & crystal over. Pies superb & turkey in oven. We meet my children first 3 weeks in December; KC, MN & Denver 4 birthday & Xmas extravaganza!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you & all your family & friends of choice! Big shout out to Justin & Scott! (Hope deep fryer has been helpful🙂)

  3. Happy Turkey Day, Ross! I don’t want to jinx this amazing weather by talking about it too much 🌞 after all, it’s Kansas.
    I’ve never worked with exterior PVC trim- it looks fantastic! My gutter guy mentioned it once and I foolishly ignored him. (never ignore a gutter guy!) Question(s): how does it take paint? Is prep a standard sand & prime?
    “Brutalized” is certainly the appropriate word. Our winters can be harsh and our summers can be wretched but, through it all, there is our fierce Kansa wind. Kansa is a Kaw word that can mean a couple of things: “people of water” and “people of south wind”. Familiar, huh? 😉
    Your beautiful house has seen quite a lot in 124 years, Ross. Thanks to you, it will see much more. 🌻

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