The Cross House

The O C U L U S

Yesterday I had an unfinished oculus. Today…


…I have a finished oculus. And…




ZOUNDS! The lightning bolts are bright white. The oculus has a base coat of teal, then chartreuse, and then pale teal; all applied in a mottled, cloud-like effect. The ceiling is pale teal.


The idea for lightning bolts was derived from the Bradbury & Bradbury ceiling paper, which I have always loved. The paper is based on a period sample, so lightning bolts may be period-correct for my parlor.


The conceit is that the lightning shattered the ceiling. It’s OK if I am the only one who sees that!

Finishing the oculus, and rehanging the incredible period-correct gas/electric chandelier, makes a dramatic difference in the room. The cracked glass ceiling effect, which dominated yesterday, instantly became a background element when the oculus was finished. Then the chandelier somehow made sense of the unusual painted effects I have wickedly introduced. Note how the curvaceous nature of the chandelier complements the ribbon medallions of the walls.

It will not surprise that my heart was singing this evening. Loudly and with gusto.



30 Responses to The O C U L U S

  1. Stunning is the most appropriate response to the finished parlor! The view toward the windows with the exquisite stained glass was so lovely. Wow! Love the gas/electric chandelier–gorgeous!!

  2. Bravo! You did a fabulous job- it all has come together so beautifully! It’s personal, poetic and quite a unique statement.

  3. This turned out great! Even though these aren’t colors I would like together, you’ve blended all the parts together masterfully. Would love to see what it looks like at night with that gorgeous chandelier all lit up.

  4. This is why you’re a designer and I’m not! I never would have thought of this color combination in a million years. When I saw the oculus yesterday, I thought, “oh, that looks great…what do you mean, it’s not finished?” Then when I saw it today, I can see how all the elements are coming together just like you taught us way back when you gave us that design lesson!

  5. Incredible! You never cease to amaze me with your vision and execution! Attention to detail doesn’t begin to describe your work! If I was a 120+ year old house I’d want you to restore me! I so appreciate the sparkle you add to the world!

  6. The oculus sizzles and crackles and lights up the whole room with that new-fangled electricity. Well done.

  7. You should do a post with tips on how to paint a ceiling without getting a crick in your neck. I have an idea for my entryway but the thought of standing on a ladder for hours looking up gives me a neck ache.

  8. I like it the way it is, but somehow wonder if Ross is really finished with this?

    (What about a tiny pop of cranberry, copper or pink somewhere up there in the heavens? Shhhh…just a kernel of an idea…nothing fully formed…)

  9. I so love your house. Like several others, this design concept is something I would never choose or even accept the idea of, but it really came together beautifully. Please post a picture taken at night with the chandelier all aglow. This room looks like a wizard lives here….hmmmm.

  10. Ross, the whole room has come together beautifully. I love the view towards the bay window where all the colours come together in conjunction with the stained glass. The lightning bolts are a revelation and coordinate with the engraved glass shades. I imagine it feels great to walk into the room and see such wonderful progress.

  11. I think the lightening bolt needs to be metallic or outlined in metallic, or have a high gloss like the “cracks” in your ceiling do…. something about the white just isn’t right to me…. but I LOVE it regardless!! I’ve read every one of your posts and I love what your doing. You have inspired me and given me such great tips like using the dentured alcohol to take the old build up of varnish off my banister since I’m not removing it. I’ve removed everything from my house and am basically rebuilding it (and refinishing all the woodwork) from the studs out. All by myself.

    • The lightning bolts are high gloss white. But they are on top of a gloss background. This does not create the same effect as the cracked glass (gloss lines over flat).

      And congrats on your hard work! I wanna see pictures!

  12. You’ve accomplished the impossible and made the inside of the Cross House more fascinating that the outside. It just looks stunning.

  13. Oh, my! I love this…not only is it beautiful, but for me it evokes a mad scientist’s laboratory. An opening to the sky with tumultuous storm clouds brewing above; lightning bolts ready to harness and invigorate whatever design creation Ross is conjuring up next! This ceiling will never be static.

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