Wanna Meet the Bo Mystery Light?

I have good news.

And more good news!

This post offers a two for one!

  1. You get to finally meet the Bo mystery light!
  2. You get to see — drum roll, please — the painted-at-last stairhall niche!

Yes! Can you even believe it!


Last year I began the restoration of the stairhall niche. This entailed tediously stripping off the old, brown shellac on acres of wood. Then stripping the many layers of paint off the huge radiator. Then repairing all the damaged plaster, and putting in a new ceiling. But, before a ceiling could be installed, the “snake” (a meandering AC duct) had to be manhandled into submission.

Golly. So much work for so small a space. But…what a space!

So, wanna see?

Scroll way down…






























And Bo’s Mystery light…revealed! Bo brought the fixture to may attention last year. Even though it’s not a gas/electric fixture, it was simply too fabulous to pass up! And…


…it has a serpent!!!!!!!!




Today! I used the same colors I did on the upper hall wall. I consider the colors temporary even though they look fabulous. I just couldn’t deal with white primer any longer.


Last year, Blair gifted the Cross House with some period picture rail. I was excited beyond measure. There was enough to do the niche!


Toooooooooo exquisite! Thanks, Blair!


So, after much, much ado, the niche is about complete. The radiator need a two-tone gold paint job, and the floor needs to be refinished.


The niche with the 1,000 watt work light turned off.


The rest of the two-story stair hall still looks like a bomb went off in it but at least the niche, and the north wall of the upper landing, are looking’ good.

Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.





  1. Leigh on April 8, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    Hmmm, I see not a serpent but a kraken. Generous Blair. Impressive niche, Ross. If not for your blog, it would not be known on how much thinking (airduct) and paint/ varnish removal this area required. Very nicely done.

    • Suella Howard on April 10, 2019 at 7:17 am

      Sadly, I had to look up images of kraken…I think you’re right!

      • Leigh on April 11, 2019 at 12:59 am

        Thanks,Suella.The light fixture’s shadow accentuates the lamp’s gracefulness.

  2. David Gervais on April 8, 2019 at 9:21 pm

    There is something hanging out of the left side trim of the door on the right. It’s the right height to be the switch for the electric part of an original light fixture, but a very inconvenient location for modern residents.

    If not that, what was it?

    • Stewart McLean on April 8, 2019 at 9:25 pm

      If you click on the picture and zoom, you will be able to tell for yourself.

      • David Gervais on April 8, 2019 at 11:02 pm

        Did that- not enough resolution. Ross’ answer is what I thought, but The Cross House has remnants of other systems throughout so I asked.

    • Ross on April 8, 2019 at 9:29 pm

      Hi, David!

      That is a non-original light switch.

      It will soon…depart.

  3. Cindy Belanger on April 8, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    Gorgeous! I just love the woodwork and that light fixture, wow, so unique. The niche has come together so nicely, and most of the hard work is behind you.

  4. Blair on April 8, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    Yay! Picture rail in its natural setting!
    I am so happy you could make it work for you!

  5. Sandra Lee on April 8, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    Nicely done Ross!

  6. SEB on April 8, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Splendid result! I love the playful serpent.

  7. Annette on April 8, 2019 at 11:08 pm

    Oh my the nich looks amazing just like a little jewel box especially with the stunning stained glass windows. I love this little space, there are so many amazing little details.

  8. A. H. on April 9, 2019 at 1:04 am

    The area above the chair rail DEFINITELY needs some exquisite wallpaper! Looking great!

  9. Dan Goodall-Williams on April 9, 2019 at 4:27 am

    Inch by inch it really is happening! Looks superb! That light is to die for! Once the floor and radiator are done you’ll be able to breath. Great work as always!

  10. Jennifer Irwin on April 9, 2019 at 7:35 am

    How satisfying.

  11. Acronym Jim on April 9, 2019 at 8:37 am

    While the paint colors are only temporary, am I mistaken to assume they hearken back to the colors in the original wallpaper?

  12. Amanda aka Tigger on April 9, 2019 at 8:59 am

    This is one of my favorite spots in the house. It would be a great backdrop for some Live music during a dinner party. I love how the paint color compliments the exterior colors. That little niche is so happy. I can feel it sighing with joy!

  13. Hannah on April 9, 2019 at 10:41 am

    OH MY LAWD it is glorious. Thank you for letting us bask in its finery. Also that light is the best.

  14. Barb Sanford on April 9, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Love it. Love it. Love it love it love it! Wow, that was a lot of work for you, but the difference is spectacular. All the details come together beautifully. I know the paint color is temporary, but it works really well for now. Hard to imagine how you’ll improve on it — but I know you will — with your final wall treatment choice.

  15. Sam's Mom on April 9, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    WOW!!! speachless….

    Simply AWESOME!!!

  16. Jackie on April 9, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Dayum that looks classy! Blair’s picture rail really does look fabulous, doesn’t it!! ​😍

  17. Carl on April 9, 2019 at 11:38 pm

    Love the paint colors and the molding is everything. The light fixture ads just the right touch of whimsy. Reminds me of the beautiful old covers of House & Garden magazines when they were drawings. Designed to provoke ones imagination.

  18. Nathan on April 10, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    That is gorgeous! And in the mean time there is an artful contrast between the splendor of the niche and the (also splendid) ruin of the hall. Also I think its worth mentioning that in an 1890s house ive been in before (cant remember the name or id tell you) that retained its original lighting, not all of them were combination. Most of the main lighting fixtures were, but dotted around, in hallways and nooks, were fixtures that were just gas. And in the servants quarters but thats fairly standard.

  19. Lis on April 10, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Ohhhhh….. so beautiful!
    This light fixture is pure bliss. The fact, that it is asymmetric is complementing the charm of the niche additionally. A little asymmetry is sometimes the key to perfection.
    Greetings from Vienna, Austria

  20. Brita on April 11, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Wow! Wow! Wow! Do you just sit a chair there and sit with a drink and admire everyday? I think I would

  21. Vicki F on April 12, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    This looks great! Ross, you and the Cross House are treasures to each other.

  22. Bob Murray on April 16, 2019 at 11:42 am

    That looks amazing! But I’m left wondering where do each of those doors go?

    • Amanda aka Tigger on April 16, 2019 at 12:38 pm

      I’ve read every blog, so I can answer that question. 🙂 The door to the right leads to the north entrance vestibule. The door to the left is a telephone closet.

      • Bob Murray on April 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm

        Thank you Amanda!

        • Amanda on April 18, 2019 at 12:42 pm

          You’re welcome, Bob!

  23. Shelley on April 18, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    It looks beautiful! It’s amazing how much impact that tiny little space can have! The details are beyond fabulous!

  24. Nancy from Georgia on April 21, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    I’ve been waiting for that light fixture to be revealed!! Love it! It really looks great!

  25. Marilyn Moon Franks on April 23, 2019 at 6:55 pm

    Ever since I first saw this niche, I waited with bated breath to one day see it in its glory. And Bo is to die for. I’m swooning. Beautiful work!

  26. Allison on March 6, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    very whimsical light fixture. i love it!!! i love the paint colours too!

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