Wanna Meet Wacky?

Now that the parlor is, seemingly, done a last, my mind has focused on the library.

I have only shown the library in tantalizing bits. This is largely due to the fact that I have been unable to get any good images. The room, it seems, is just really unphotogenic!

Nonetheless, the room is very close to being done. In 2015 it was painted, and bookshelves were installed (and filled with books).

The curtains were hung in 2017 (thanks, Bette!).

Last November I finally got the shelving island built.

But, the wallpaper needs to be installed. A frieze painted. The picture rail installed. And some sort of pattern needs to be on the Tiffany blue ceiling.

The wallpaper is a wacky 1970s reproduction by the esteemed Bradbury & Bradbury. A reader, Megan, suggested a truly wacky frieze stencil. And, today, I started to play.

Wanne see?

Scroll way down…

But be prepared for MADNESS!

























The picture rail will be painted black, and will have an applied leaf trim (like in the parlor).

The frieze stencil is fabulously insane. But its 1970s pop-art vibe works well with the 1970s paper. There are five light pendants hanging low over the island and these, too, are from the 1970s.

It was not my intention to do a 70s’ theme in the library but it has evolved that way. Go figure, man.

Oh, and I have no idea what to do with the ceiling. Although I may do nothing.


The wallpaper. Crazy, man, crazy!


The curtains. You can see a bit of wallpaper to the left.


The island. Guarded by five 1970s pendants.


The Lady Bat. Another bat sits on the parlor mantel. Both are by my friend, Susi.



I think of the parlor as being the adult.

The library will, it seems, be the teenager.

In bellbottoms.




  1. Annette on March 9, 2018 at 10:38 pm

    Oh wow, wow and wow. Not a 100% sure about the frieze just yet but I could be convinced. I love that you’re taking the more difficult but so much more interesting path with decorating. It shows that you can add your own personality in a period home. So many people just go with the mini museum look and it becomes boring. No one will ever call Cross House boring whilst you own it! Play away.

  2. Bette Davis on March 9, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    Wow I’m loving the island! My favourite room!

  3. Curmudgeon in Canada on March 10, 2018 at 12:44 am

    Yessiree, you do have eclectic decorative tastes! Ikea meets post-60’s flower power meets Victorian. It’s always a hoot to see what you come up with along the way to the completion of each room. We await further updates on the library with bated breath!

  4. Jamie on March 10, 2018 at 6:01 am

    I’m wondering about the pendants hanging down so low, or maybe it is just an illusion in the image? It would appear at the current height they would impede using the island as a work space? What if trying to speak to someone on the other side, do they hang so low they would obstruct eye contact?

    • Ross on March 10, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Hi, Jamie!

      They are not so low as to impede use of the island top. They do obstruct eye contact. This is a very small price to pay for the dramatic effect.

  5. Pamela on March 10, 2018 at 6:07 am

    A little Yayoi Kusama is creeping in there. I just love your pendants and I can’t wait to see them with the frieze. How amazing it will be to have the luxury of an island in the library. That alone would make me want to move in prematurely (forgetting the hardships like no kitchen and plumbing).

    • Ross on March 10, 2018 at 9:02 am

      No kitchen and no plumbing? Details, details!

      The island is going to have a marble top. When I can afford it.

  6. Grandmere Louise on March 10, 2018 at 8:08 am

    But where is the space for the comfy reading chair? Or is that apparent lack part of the photogenic problem?

    • Ross on March 10, 2018 at 9:04 am

      Hi, Louise!

      There will be two chairs, and a small table, in front of the radiator. It should be delicious in the winter months.

      • Grandmere Louise on March 10, 2018 at 9:11 am

        Ah, I feel all better now. Gotta have those comfy chairs. At the library the other day a concerned librarian asked me if I wouldn’t be more comfortable in one. I had gotten lost in a book and just slowly folded down on the floor.

  7. Alice on March 10, 2018 at 11:55 am

    I like the wallpaper but I think the frieze is going to compete rather than complement the wallpaper. But it is your house and if you like it go for it!

    • Ross on March 10, 2018 at 7:58 pm

      Hi, Alice!

      The library is mostly shelves shelves shelves. There will be very little wallpaper or stenciled frieze. Mostly just walls-o-books.

      And I have no idea of what the end look will be! But I am excited!

      I feel like the captain on Star Trek: venturing out into the unknown!

      • JET Texas on March 12, 2018 at 9:52 am

        So will you paper behind the shelves, or sound the shelves?

        • Ross on March 12, 2018 at 10:04 am

          No paper behind shelves.

  8. Jennifer on March 10, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Not a fan off the 70s generally yet can’t help but love the crazy wallpaper – and the frieze makes me think of champagne bubbles. I can’t wait to see them together!

    • Ross on March 10, 2018 at 7:59 pm

      Champagne bubbles!

      Oh, Jennifer, I just love that!

      I am stealing that!

  9. Jonathan W on March 10, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    I love the pendants. When I helped my friend move to their “new” 1890 home (from a house that was literally falling apart) we brought their 1970’s pendant and hung it in their living room. It had to come with, as we were all attached in some way.

    Monday I’m actually going there (two states away) to attempt to restore their windows! I hope I don’t screw it up…And I THINK I have all the supplies I need.

  10. Stewart McLean on March 10, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    If it were my library shelves, both those on the wall and the central, “island”, shelf. I would install baseboards with cap molding at floor level matching the originals in the room. I would put a molding around the outside edges and top of the shelves on the walls that would hide the places where the ends of each individual shelf meet an upright. Faux painting just like the original woodwork would finish it. The whole room would tie together. The vibe would be LIBRARY.

    Of course it’s not my library, so I am fully aware that what I would do is unlikely to be the right thing for you. I have confidence that you will come up with something that will wow us all. No pressure implied.

    • Ross on March 10, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      Hi, Stewart!

      A huge huge huge issue of mine regarding the Cross House is NOT confusing the historical narrative.

      The shelving I installed in the library was deliberate: I wanted it 100% obvious that the shelving was not original.

      After I am long gone, I want future owners to have zero question about: Is this original?

    • Jonathan W on March 12, 2018 at 2:07 am

      Personally, I would’ve probably done the same as you Stewart, but at the same time, I do love and admire how while Ross didn’t made it “new”, he also didn’t go cheap. They look custom, and not awful like every single bookshelf today which is made of Particle board and some kind of coating or veneer . It’s real. I wanted to do that for my mom, but at the time I didn’t have the funds so I went cheap. But I’m already regretting it.

  11. Bethany Otto on March 12, 2018 at 9:17 am

    You don’t believe that “70’s era pendant lights” will work until you see it–wow! I’m in love with your library.

  12. Christy B on March 12, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Hello Ross,
    I had a dream last night that you had finished your restoration of the Cross House and you were hosting an open house to showcase the achievement. Every room was more stunning than the last — even the theater room which was made from the fuselage of an old airplane tacked on to the second floor exterior! Feel free to steal the idea if you want to do something truly wacky 😉

  13. Kerri on March 12, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Hi Ross! I LOVE the wallpaper and like the stencil, but I’m not sure about the color. Maybe white or black or green instead? Anyway, can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  14. Julia on March 12, 2018 at 11:26 pm

    I’m new to your blog, Ross, but thoroughly hooked and also charmed by the community you have developed in comments 😊

    I have to admit there is a delicious anticipation, something akin to charging down the stairs Christmas morning, when you write “Wanna see? Scroll way down”

    Love it, love it all!

    • Ross on March 13, 2018 at 9:18 am

      Very nice to meet you, Julia!

  15. Andrea on March 13, 2018 at 8:19 am

    Looking at the bits and pieces I’m struggling to see it all, but after the parlor I’m excited to see you pull this all together. I’m sure something is lost in translation with only pictures. I can not wait for the day I hopefully get to see the house in person. I drive by every day and marvel at the transformation thus far. I trust you, keep going.

  16. Kim on March 13, 2018 at 9:37 am

    You’re right about this room being difficult to capture on film, Ross – my perspective feels off and I’m having problems viewing the scale of everything. I suspect that will settle down once a few more things come together.
    I rarely envy jewelry but, 💚 I’m mad for those pendants! The frieze and wall papers will be interesting to work with. I’m especially drawn to the graphic, black outline of the blue flower – its almost an interpretation of the pendant shape. Scrumptious.
    It will be Wonderful seeing this room evolve.

  17. Dan Dylema on March 13, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I admire your loving care of your restoration. I check out your progress almost daily. I look forward to your latest post. I have owned a 4100 sq ft brick colonial revival that was built in 1906. It was relatively easy to maintain however in Michigan my heating bills where astronomical. Living in house so large felt lonely unless I invited large groups over then the house felt wonderful and alive. For the majority of time I used the maids sitting room which was very small and cozy with an electric blanket over me. The house was well maintained but it took a solid two days to clean and dust. Living in it alone would spook the crap out of me at times which would make laugh the following day for my ridiculousness. Once I watched the shinning which I’ve seen a million times made me push a dresser in front of my bedroom door. Good grief I was an adult in my thirties. I eventually sold the house and moved into something more efficient and comfortable size wise. But all my friends and including myself still call it my house still. It was a fun part of my life and i never regretted it. I still drive by and critique what the new owners alter. I’m soo close to pulling my car in the driveway and tell them how stupid they are. Somehow it will always be MY house.

  18. aBell on March 13, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    Groovy! Maybe all that is needed now is an egg shaped chair hanging from the ceiling?

    • Ross on March 14, 2018 at 8:22 am


  19. kay on March 14, 2018 at 3:13 pm

    Hi Ross
    The pendants remind me of small pineapples hanging upside down. Sooo cute! Love it! I love how excited you get when a room or anything in the house just comes together. It shows how much love and work you have put into this house. I can’t wait until you start on the kitchen.

  20. Carlyn on March 15, 2018 at 10:40 am

    I love the wallpaper. However, I think the frieze design will detract from it. A scattered, stylized daisy pattern in black, similar to the relationship between the frieze and the wall design in the parlor would set off the wallpaper without competing with it. If you’re really set on the bubble frieze pattern, I think it should be a much smaller scale so as not to compete with the wallpaper.

  21. Connie in Hartwood on March 15, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    I’m going to come right out and ask … is there enough wall space remaining in this room to go to such effort to brainstorm and mix patterns and elements like you’re considering? I love the wallpaper. The frieze, not so much. The pendants are awesome, but I would raise them out of line of sight.

    (I see that you’ve already, technically, run out of shelf space and are using the top for books. Love that!!)

  22. Steve on March 16, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    This house in Michigan makes EVERY decision you have made in decorating the Cross House seem boring, bland and conservative. Not even slightly wacky.

    Keep it up! I love watching your work unfold.

    • Melissa on March 25, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      This link is… idk how to even… the mirrors, the statues, the lawn ornaments… OMG! I could spend hours looking at this fascinating, spotlessly clean, scary, house! It’s amazing and wonderful and frightening! I want to go there!

    • GrandmereLouise on March 25, 2018 at 10:11 pm


      Was that … a crocheted ceiling?

      Never mind. I don’t want to know.

      • Melissa on March 26, 2018 at 1:09 am

        I think so!

  23. Debbie on March 23, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    OMG – looks like my bathroom that my Mom did for us in the ’70’s except it was orange!!!! It took me several weeks read all of your wonderful posts, just found website. Kinda don’t say much.. have you looked at EBTH, some cool stuff sometimes….

  24. Brendan on March 24, 2018 at 10:21 am

    On the ceiling, I see a Peter Max styled mural, with lots of literary references. I know, Peter Max, more the 60s then the 70s, but it’s what I see working in the room. The funny thing is, I’m all about “period correct” and the appropriate antiques, etc. I would never do what you are doing. But since you are doing it, I’m having fun coming up with ideas for your house, unrestricted to period correctness! Cheers!

  25. Brendan on March 24, 2018 at 10:29 am

    One more thought…how ’bout inverting the frieze…small bubbles at the picture rail rising to the large solid yellow area at the top…then use that same color as the background for whatever you do on the ceiling…you know, the Peter Max stuff! 🙂

  26. Sarah on March 31, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Those pendants rule! I’ve been binge-reading this FANTASTIC blog over the last few weeks and no spoilers please – this is where I’ve gotten to. And I can’t keep silent anymore!

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