The Cross House

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.




32 Responses to Wanna Meet the Bo Mystery Light?

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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. 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.

  5. 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!

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

  13. 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!

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