The South Commences!

Today, work officially began on the south facade!!!!!!!! The focus will be on replacing/repairing all the damaged shingles on the second-floor. The huge window to the housekeeper’s room was also removed for restoration.


All the shingles will be removed. The goal is to re-use as many as possible. I am guessing though that 50% will be new. After the first section of shingles was removed, this horrifying water damage to the sheathing was discovered. EEK! The sheathing is so bad that one can poke a finger through it. EEK!


Not long ago, new shingles had been installed in just this area. But over the rotted sheathing!

This just freaks me out! FREAKS ME OUT!

The damage was caused by a leaking built-in gutter above, and even though new shingles had been installed a while back, the cause of the damage and not addressed!

Whenever I find damage, I put on my Sleuthing Hat and work to find the cause. Then I fix the cause. And only then do I repair the damage.


The big curved cornice is missing its scroll work in one area. I have a box of scroll bits in the basement so am excited to see if the missing bits are in the box!


After all the shingles are back in place, they will be primed but not finish painted. The goal is to repair all the damaged siding on the south side as part of the Heritage Trust Fund grant. After this is all done, the next step will be to finish paint the south side.


Only rarely do I look at the entirety of the south facade. Because, when I do, I became paralyzed. OMG, I think. This is soooooo much work. This is impossible. This can never be fixed. NEVER!

Instead, I only focus on a small section. And think: Oh. This ain’t so bad. This is certainly doable.

Then I proceed with my patented Baby Step Method™ and get to work.



  1. Christine on October 23, 2018 at 6:30 am

    You GOT this Ross!! This section has fewer than 300 shingles. The sheeting is in big pieces, and other bits (windows,cornice) are also big, leaving only a relatively small area with small detail work. Your baby steps method has worked wonders on other parts of this house. Applying same consistent, thorough, care will have this section of your home finished in no time. In fact, I believe that this whole section could be done before the end of October! Put on your blinders a just do the work in front of you today. That’s all you can do. Coraggio, coraggio!! You GOT THIS!!

  2. Barb Sanford on October 23, 2018 at 9:08 am

    I’m 100% sure you’ve been saving the best for last. When I think of the miracles you’ve worked on the other three sides of the house, I just know the south side will be amazing when you’re done. Looking forward to seeing it all come to fruition through the patented “Baby Steps (TM)” method.

  3. A.H. on October 23, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I’d imagine that small, teeny window, just to the left of the kitchen window in the first picture, catches the sun as it rises in the East in the morning.

    Have you ever seen a small ray of sun enter the top of the bathroom from this in the morning hours? Just curious! Also, I wonder why that window was placed up so high!

  4. Dawn Rocco on October 23, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Little by little. Just think about when the painting can begin, you’ll be so excited. I’m excited just knowing your starting the south facade! I am so in love with the Cross House. It’s like I can feel her joy with each step that you take. Thank you for giving me something else to look forward to besides the often depressing news. I know my comments are often stupid. I don’t know a lot about any one thing but I do know a little about a lot of things that life has taught me. Thanks for putting up with me!

  5. Seth Hoffman on October 23, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    While that does look pretty scary, at least it is a small area, so it should go faster. Hopefully the studs behind are solid, or at least only require local reinforcement. I’m sure you already have a good idea of this, as with that kind of water damage, I’m guessing the plaster has long fallen off the inside of that wall.

    This is a good illustration that keeping a good roof and gutters is always the most important part of building maintenance, and the very first part of a restoration!

  6. Michael H on October 23, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    I am thrilled about the move to the south facade and can’t wait to see your progress! I’m not sure from your description of your process, but have you considered pre-priming and painting the shingles before you reinstall them? From my many years of watching This Old House, this seems to be a common practice to help with a long lasting paint application (priming all four sides), and to help you cut down on time on the scaffolding.

  7. Hilliary on October 24, 2018 at 10:55 am

    How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! That is what I always say to myself when I am overwhelmed.

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