The Cross House has five levels:
- First floor.
- Second floor.
- Third floor.
The first three levels are heated by radiators and have a 2-zone central AC system (and one zone can also heat the first two levels if the radiator system fails for any reason).
The third floor has forced-air heating/cooling.
The third floor is locally known as the Ballroom. While it may have been used as such during its long history it was not designed as such. This is confirmed by an 1895 newspaper article on the house:
“On the third floor are servant’s bed rooms which are nicely fitted with bath room and closets — and there are, also, two large store rooms.”
In short, the third floor was the domain of servants and storage. I suspect laundry was hung up to dry on the third floor during the winter, too.
The third floor of the Cross House. The top is south. All the images enlarge if you click them.
- This dormer was never built.
- This area does not have full head room and is under-the-eave space.
- This area was built as two rooms. Over to the left was a full bathroom and, I think, a walk-in closet, and over to the right is what I call the Plaster Room, as it was originally plastered. As was the bath and suspected closet.
- This wall was never built.
The big room of the third floor is all beadboard, “in southern yellow pine” (from 1895 article). Including the ceiling, which is now covered by sheetrock. The wood was originally varnished before some ding-dong painted it all white. Argh! ARGH!!!!!!!!
So, this is what my third floor would have looked like originally. This is the astounding Armour-Stiner House, which I did a post on. Image Joseph Pell Lombardi.
Looking west. The image does not covey the enormity of the space. It makes each visitor gasp. Hexagon tower to the left; round tower to the right. Much of what sits in the middle of the room are five dismantled armoires which were installed in 1929 on the second floor to house murphy beds for the newly created apartments. When the house was converted into a motel in 1950 the beds were removed and the armoires used as closets. I plan to reinstall most of them. Now, if you start to turn clockwise…
…you see the north wall.
And more north wall.
A bit more north wall.
The north niche. Which I enjoy saying. It has full headroom. The hand print is from a 1980s tenant.
On the south wall are doors to the only separate rooms on the third floor. The left door went into a full bathroom. The right door went into, I surmise, what was either a housekeeper’s room or servant’s hall.
The left side has two floor levels. The high level is because of the porch below and its high ceiling. The lower level was the 1894 bathroom, which had plaster walls. The upper level was also plastered, and had a single window. Its purpose is unknown (closet?). The toilet on the upper floor dates 1926. I will most certainly be reusing it. There be nothing better than peeing in a historic loo.
The wall between the rooms. This is typical of the whole house, and while the angled braces are a good construction technique they make it a bitch to rewire. These rooms were stripped to the studs before I purchased the house and it pains me to think how much encoded information was thrown into the dumpster. Sigh.
The tell-tale trace of plaster walls is evident.
Speaking tube!!!!!!!! This goes down to the sewing room below. And last year I purchased the missing mouthpiece on eBay! I cannot wait for the moment to restore Speak!
The south gable originally had a triple set of windows. Only the one on the left remains. The other two were replaced by a door, and a fixed-glass panel. The door was to access a massive L-shaped metal fire-escape, which I had removed as it blighted the house and dominated the fabulous porte-cochère. One of my great joys is de-blighting the house in every possible way.
The original triple window set. Only the one on the right remains, sorta…
…and the sashes have been reversed. I will have this window restored. The poor dear.
The Plaster Room door opens to a non-original landing, which led to the now removed fire-escape. As it is quite pleasant stepping outside, I plan to keep the landing and install a very discreet railing. That is the carriage house you are looking at.
This is my plan for the south rooms. Full bath to the left and with two original doors in their original locations. You will be able to stand at the sink and look out the window. The Plaster Room will be a guest bedroom.
Today Justin and I, because we are quite manly, hauled the heavy tub into place. I am uncertain if this is the original tub, or from the 1920s.
Justin felt an urgent need for a bath.
I would love love love to restore the Big Room. But it will be used as storage for the kazillion vintage lights I have. As will most of the basement. This huge storage capability is why I can justify the house.
At some point I hope to sell the lighting business. Or marry well. Then, I could restore the third floor. And a glory it will be. It is painful to me that, at least for a while, its beauty must remain muffled.