The Cross House
Riley asked what my plans were for the Cross House post-me.
I have actually given this a lot of thought.
In my lifetime I have seen houses beautifully restored in the 1970s, and then demolished three decades later because they were in such poor condition.
I have also seen houses in perfect condition, and architectural masterpieces, be bulldozed.
These thoughts trouble me as I endlessly work on the house. Will all my work be in vain?
A big old wooden house is akin to leaving a dining table on the front lawn. Imagine what it will look like in a few years. Big wooden house require endless maintenance. And even a house in mint condition can deteriorate with stunning rapidity once maintenance stops.
So…my plan is to leave the Cross House to the state. I have no heirs. My remaining estate will go to endowing a maintenance fund, which I will also fundraise for.
And another state-owned historic house is a few blocks away, Red Rocks.
I am old enough to know that life usually does not work out as we plan, but sometimes it does. In 1978 I moved to New York City with the big dream of owning my own successful architectural design firm. And that happened. I also yearned to get some books published, and I did.
So, what follows are my plans. Only time will tell if they became a reality.
THE CROSS HOUSE MUSEUM
While I am restoring the Cross House, I will not be restoring the kitchen to what it likely looked like in 1894, and nor will the decor reflect 1894.
But if, say, twenty year from now, my plans for leaving the house to the state seem a go, I will move into the carriage house and begin the process of undoing some of my work, and creating, as much as can be ascertained, what the Cross House looked like, and functioned as, when built.
So, a coal stove will go in the kitchen, along with a 1890s slate sink.
What will be my bathroom will be restored as the Housekeeper’s Room.
The two en-suite bathrooms created in 1929 out of closets in the Round and Octagon bedrooms will be restored as closets.
All decor not in keeping with the 1890s will vanish. But…maybe some rooms, like my bedroom, will remain as I had them, to reflect my years of ownership. Maybe.
And so on.
In some room would be archival material depicting the lives of those who have owned or lived in the house. Maybe this will be on the expansive third floor?
This process will, I believe, be completely fascinating, and I cannot think of a more engrossing project for late old age.