The Eventual Sewing Room

The other day I did a post about the Sewing Room at the Cross House and mentioned that, when it was finished, I would rent it to a roommate.

Several readers did not quite understand. Was I planning to add a kitchen to the room? Would there be a bathroom?

So, I did a quick plan which, it is hoped, will explain all.


The Sewing Room as designed in 1894. The big sliding door (upper, left) opens to the Hexagon Bedroom.


The Sewing Room as it will be. Not to scale!


  1. Murphy bed. I will install a Murphy bed into the 1929 Murphy bed cabinet.
  2. New closet. The big sliding door to the Hexagon Bedroom? That will instead open to a new closet. The new closet wall will, of course, be removable, and will not damage any original trim. The Hex Bedroom will be used as a storage room by me, for my lighting business. The new closet will create not only additional storage for the Sewing Room tenant but will help soundproof between the two rooms.
  3. Original closet. The 1894 closet will be recreated.
  4. Bathroom. The 1894 bathroom will be, again, a bathroom but with a new configuration. The original encaustic tile floor will be restored. The very tall wood wainscoting, now lost, will be recreated. I plan to install a period-correct marble-topped vanity, a 1927 toilet original to the house, and a 1950 tub original to the house. The bathroom will look, overall, like an 1890s bathroom with some “updates”.
  5. Closet. A utility closet, accessible from the hallway.
  6. Laundry chute. The 1894 laundry chute. This will, again, allow clothes to be dropped down to the basement laundry room.
  7. Dumb-waiter. A dumb-waiter. The 1894 dumb-waiter is long lost. It originally went from the kitchen to the basement laundry room. I will recreate this feature, but the dumb-waiter will travel from the basement to the second-floor.
  8. Sleeping porch. The 1894 sleeping porch. This was later turned into a closet, then later into a glassed-in porch. I re-opened the porch, and will restore it.


I am hoping the room can be ready for rent in the spring of 2020.

I have no certainty of what the rent will be save that it will be the most expensive room for rent in the city. I imagine rooms can be had for like $300 in Emporia. So, I am thinking something like $600? The roommate will also have full use of the first-floor (including the kitchen), and laundry room. So, one can live in a FABULOUS house, with a private room, for $600 a month.

And…kitty petting privileges will be included.




  1. Leigh on December 3, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    Awwww… your tenant privileges get better and better! Full use of first floor? Yes! Including the kitchen? Yes! …and laundry room? Yes! In a fabulous house? Yes! With a private room? Yes! …and kitty petting privileges????? YES!

  2. Annette on December 3, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    $600 a month man that is so cheap by Australian standards. Right I’m moving in. (The kitty petting privileges sold me)

    • Calder on June 21, 2020 at 11:03 am

      I thought you meant 600 a night!!!

  3. Dawn Rocco on December 3, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Me Me pick me !!!!! As long as I don’t have to clean up after everyone else. Well ok just a little. Oh never mind what do ya need done?? KITTIES GALORE!! WOOHOO !!!!

  4. Nathan Davis on December 4, 2018 at 1:13 am

    Well, im moving to emporia!

  5. Christine on December 4, 2018 at 5:36 am

    Ross, looks like you should plan on having a commune! One rented bedroom is surely not going to be enough. 😉

  6. Cody H on December 4, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    Would it not make more sense to use the Hexagon Bedroom and the Sewing Room for your office and storage spaces, and to use one the round or rear bedroom for a rented space? I guess I don’t understand why you would want to create an unnecessary division between the two spaces, when you could hugely use the fact that they are adjoining to your advantage, not having to run out into and down the hall to access to your storage. That would drive me to drink!

    • Ross on December 4, 2018 at 4:03 pm

      Cody, there is NO WAY that I am giving up the Round Bedroom! It is my DREAM office!

      Moroever, the Sewing Room is much better for a roommate:
      1) It faces south.
      2)It has a very large and fabulous bathroom.
      3) More closet space than the Round Bedroom.
      4) It has a porch!!!!!!

      None of these things would matter much for my office but will matter a great deal for a roommate.

  7. Seth Hoffman on December 4, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    I think this looks like a good plan. The balcony will give the tenant a nice extra space too.

    The closet built behind the pocket door is a clever idea, and constructing it around the existing trim and made entirely reversible is in keeping with the past uses of the house as well. I look forward to seeing how this project proceeds 🙂

    • Ross on December 4, 2018 at 4:06 pm

      Thanks, Seth!

      Also, by building a “removable” closet behind the pocket door, the door can still be used AS a door. Initially, I had just planned to screw it shut (as it was for many decades) and build a soundproof wall just behind it. So, the door would have been transformed into…paneling,

  8. Dan Goodall-Williams on December 4, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    I hope that you end up knowing the renter and it isnt a total stranger.

  9. AHodson on December 4, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    I am dying to see a picture of the tile in the original bathroom, that will once again become a bathroom. What does that space look like right now?

  10. Jackie on December 4, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    I’m seriously hoping it does end up being one of us, that would just be too perfect!

  11. zhera on December 31, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    I want. I want the sewing room, Ross!

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