Wanna Meet the South Facade?

Before I formally introduce the unrestored south facade of the Cross House, I thought you might enjoy a quick revisit of the restored west and north facades, and the partially restored east facade.


The west facade, when I purchased the house, March 2014.


The west facade, today. All the images enlarge if you click them.


The north facade, 2014. (This image does not enlarge.)


The north facade, 2015.


The north facade, today.


The east facade, 2014.


And today. I was hoping to finish this but the timing of the 2017 Heritage grant requires that I move over to the south facade. So, the east side will get done…last. However, all the first-floor windows are restored, as is the second-floor window to the right, and the dormer windows. Note also the new roof shingles on the extension.


Now, are you sitting down?

Do you have a glass of wine on hand?

For…prepare to be TERRIFIED!


The unrestored south facade. I have not touched it since buying the house.


NOT scary, left. VERY scary, right.


Gleaming, left. Depressing, right.


I will  be ecstatic to have new paint fully wrap around the curved cornice. The stone column in the middle is not original. I am LIVING for its departure.


A dramatic left/right contrast.


There should be TWO columns on the stone base. Not one column and a 2×6.


See the two 6×6 posts? Those will be columns again when I am done. See the protruding stone? That is not original and I am LIVING for its departure. The main porch has paired columns everywhere BUT in this location where there was, and will be, two separate columns on two separate stone bases.


All the shingles on the second floor will be removed. I estimate that 50% can be reused. The window sashes, and stained-glass, are already restored.


The porte-cochère is one of the beauties of the house although that is hard to appreciate now. Note the very sad columns.


The siding under the porte-cochère is in excellent condition. Unlike ALL the remaining siding on the south facade. The glass storm door broke recently. It will be gone soon in any event.


The previous owner removed most of the old paint on the headboard ceiling. Thank goodness. The area of remaining paint is the original.


The Tyvek part was rebuilt in 2014. The extension to the right is the servants hall. Its siding APPEARS in good condition. It is not. Under the window, the siding is hiding massive termite damage to all the sheathing, structural 2×6 framing, and sill. In short, EVERYTHING below the window on the right will be replaced.


Currently, all the shingles are being removed on the second floor. The large window (upper, right) has been remove for restoration. There is considerable damage to the diagonal sheathing.


Luckily, the THIRD floor appears to be in good condition.


The restoration of the south facade is all part of the 2017 Heritage Trust Fund grant. Without this grant, and the 2015 Heritage grant, I would never have been able to do all the work accomplished to date, or undertake the work which will consume the rest of 2018 and much of 2019.

Kansas is the only state I know which offers outright grants to qualified properties. So, while Kansas is famously conservative in most areas, it is stunningly progressive in this area.



  1. Annette on October 23, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Oh my, it’s scarey but inch by inch it will get done. And incredibly the whole outside of the house will be finished. Cross house will truely be saved and whilst the Kansas Heritage trust people have helped it could, no would not have happened without your vision and incredible hard work. This is going to be exciting. I’m so glad we get to watch the progress

  2. A.H. on October 23, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    No comment on the wooden post holding up the entire balcony over the porte cochere? I wonder if there used to be columns there or not- looks scary!

    • Ross on October 23, 2018 at 10:40 pm

      There was a single VERY tall column there. I have…parts of it, and will have it recreated.

  3. Bethany Otto on October 23, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Scary but so fabulous! I look forward to following the progress.

  4. Jeff B. on October 23, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    Hi Ross,

    How are you sure the added stone piers on the curved porch weren’t done to correct a structural deficiency in the original design (like you encountered in other parts of the house)?

    • Jenine on October 24, 2018 at 9:37 am

      That was my question as well. The added stone piers match what was there, at least from what I can tell from the pictures, and wouldn’t have been added on a whim.

      • Ross on October 24, 2018 at 9:54 am

        The one stone pier was added because a previous owner was convinced that the huge round curved roof needed support. So he added the stone pier and a column above.

        But there was no evidence to support this assumption. So, several years ago I removed the column and there has been zero deflection to the curved roof.

        The stone projection created between the single stone piers was added for a gas cooker.

  5. Mary Garner-Mitchell on October 24, 2018 at 5:59 am

    Exciting and daunting! The porte cochere is enviable! BTW… are there before and after photos of the East facade? Or have I missed something?

  6. Jackie on October 24, 2018 at 6:46 am

    The entrance the porte-cochère serves has me wanting to look at the ground floor floor-plan again, but there’s no image. Now, has my fevered imagination invented me seeing ground floor plans before but they’ve actually never been there, or has that floor’s image broken since… I wonder which it is. ​🤔

    I’m amused by my thoughts as I look at the southern facade, I’m sat here thinking “there’s nothing here that Ross (and the redoubtable Justin) can’t handle.” You see you set the bar higher for yourself with each awe-inspiring feat you achieve, till I, for one, expect nothing to faze you at all! ​😅​ Maybe my supreme confidence in you will translate into ZERO problems arising with this facade, absolutely NOTHING wrong with some positive thinking, right?! ​😁 ​

    • Ross on October 24, 2018 at 9:56 am

      Hi, Jackie!

      You can view the first-floor plan here.

      • Jackie on October 24, 2018 at 11:40 am

        THANK YOU‼ It’s really nice to know I wasn’t completely imagining having seen a plan, haha, I see now I just looked at the wrong link, DOH!

  7. Grandmere Louise on October 24, 2018 at 10:40 am

    It is impressive to see how much you’ve done in 4 (and a pinch) years. Long live the patented Baby Step Method. This side of the house has so much interesting detail it will be stunning when it has had the Ross treatment. I look forward to it utterly. (Easy for me to say. I don’t have to put on the Tyvek suit in the summer.)

  8. SEB on October 24, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you thank you for including the oh so satisfying North and West facade photo updates in this post! I regularly refer back to the original “tale-of-four-facades” accessible from the go fund me page and have been waiting and hoping there would one day be a new post with an update. AHHHHHHH. Amazing progress.

    Ross, your work is just outstanding — As a delighted witness to this inspiring endeavor I find the slow and steady pace to be life affirming. Each detail gets its due.

  9. Jennifer Bayles on October 24, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    The Cross house could not have come into more caring and gifted hands than yours. This journey is absolutely amazing and I anticipate seeing crispiness with each and every update. Whether a little or a lot doesn’t matter. Everybody needs some crispy in this life!

  10. Peter J on October 24, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Ross do you have any pics of these facades from decades ago?

  11. Candice on October 25, 2018 at 5:14 am

    It’s amazing to see the transformation! Have you kept track of how many gallons of paint you have used on the exterior?

  12. Dan Goodall-Williams on October 25, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Thank you for all the pics. Just such an amazing house.

  13. Mike on October 25, 2018 at 11:27 am

    I know how busy you must be, so I try to limit my questions; I am wondering though if there is something provision to allow any precipitation that enters the 2nd story open porch to drain out? I remember the posts that you did when you were putting the floor back, and I don’t recall any gutter or floor drain. I would think that the large round openings would let in a fair amount of rain or snow, and the water would have to go somewhere…

    • Ross on October 25, 2018 at 11:34 am

      Hi, Mike!

      The porch floor slopes, and there is a drain (original) in the low corner.

      But, even in a huge rain storm, almost no water gets onto the porch. I cannot explain why.

      • Jackie on October 25, 2018 at 11:57 am

        What direction do your big storms usually come from, Ross? Here in the UK the prevailing wind’s south-westerly, off the Atlantic, most of my windows face east and they hardly EVER get any rain on them, no matter how ferocious said rain is.

        Considering how much thought architects put into designing houses, and Mr. Squires in particular, I’d not be at all surprised if that open porch wasn’t tucked into the corner of the house that’s most protected from the rain.

        Next time there’s a deluge, how about some practical experimenting. ​😜

      • Mike on October 26, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        OK, I am satisfied now, LOL. When you own one of these old houses, you wonder about such things, water is our mortal enemy!

  14. Brian A on October 25, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    Seeing the whole house displayed like this reminds me that one reason I’m enamored by the Cross House (and others like it) is because of its complexity. It’s not just a fancy house, not just a large house, but it’s a very intricate house, with a unique appearance on each side. In short, that makes it art. And that makes it worth studying, admiring, and restoring as only you can do!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.