Wanna See The SE Corner?

For the last two months I have posted many updates on the completion of the parlor in the 1894 Cross House.

But the south-east corner, the corner with the mantel and over-mantel, has been conspicuously absent from these many posts. This is because there were big holes in the SE corner, created to snake in wires so that the 1894 gas/electric sconces, which had been plastered over and long forgotten about, could be resurrected.

So, while I worked away at the other three corners the SE corner was…ignored. Also, I felt kinda overwhelmed at the task of repairing the big holes although I don’t understand why. I have repaired hundreds of such holes over the decades. The job is not hard. Yet for some reason every time I would look at the SE corner my mind would go numb.


Finally though, with the SW and NW and NE corners done I had to face up to my inexplicable procrastination and get the damn holes repaired.

And repairing the holes proved effortless. Gee. What was I so freaked out about? All I can say is that the human psyche is really strange.


The SE corner when I purchased the house.


The SE corner a bit over two years ago. I scraped off the old wallpaper and the highly damaged ceiling was sheetrocked over (today, I would repair it).


The SE corner after everything got primed, but before I discovered that a pair of gas/electric sconces were originally to each side of the over-mantel.


To snake in wires great big holes were cut into the walls. Ugh.


For a bit over two years the parlor was just primed white but with holes in the walls and ceilings where the sconce wires had been snaked through. Even after the floor was refinished. I grew worried that this status would become permanent. And this scared me…into action.


This fear proved a great motivator, and I endeavored to get the parlor finished. Then, last week, I — drum roll, please — patched the damn holes in SE corner. I felt victorious. I felt incredible. I AM SPARTACUS! Well, wanna see the the SE corner finished? Scroll way down…






















…ZOUNDS!!!!!!!! The room is almost unrecognizable from…




As of today, the painting of the parlor is finished.




I now have to do some work on the base molding. And install electric outlets in the base.



NOTE: The parlor is now a bit…vibrant…but it will calm down after it is furnished. For example, the wall medallions, which are now highly visible, will recede after everything is in place. 



  1. M.E. on June 9, 2017 at 9:43 pm


  2. Renovating Robin on June 9, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    Wow! Gorgeous. And I am so envious of your original fireplace tile. Just beautiful, Ross. Congratulations.

  3. B. Davis on June 9, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    How exciting! How awesome! Way to go!!

  4. Barb Sanford on June 9, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    WHOEE!!!!!!!! is right. Glorious!

  5. Ken on June 9, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    I love it.

  6. Sandra Lee on June 9, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Hurray!!! Ross you DID IT!! I love it!!! Beautiful and what must be a sense of GREAT accomplishment!!!! Yay Ross! I am so happy for you!

  7. aB on June 9, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Oh dear! I completely forgot about the stri-ped (two syllables please) floor! Just wait until those stripes come out from under their covers to play with the walls. I can already see that those wall medallions will recede. I think though that ceiling is going to shimmer and become a highlight (no pun intended) of the room. And the wine colored, curved couch will have found a perfect home. I. can. hardly. wait. Please hurry, patience is not my long suit.

  8. Mike on June 9, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    It’s been a long time coming, I am very happy for you. I think it would do you a world of good to have a few friends over and entertain them in your great new parlor.

  9. Stephanie on June 10, 2017 at 12:56 am

    So very happy for you, Ross! What an accomplishment!

  10. Seth Hoffman on June 10, 2017 at 5:54 am

    Looks amazing!

  11. Miriam Righter on June 10, 2017 at 6:03 am

    It is absolutely gorgeous! But in my opinion, you are not quite done. My eyes were drawn to the upper right corner where the wall seems bare to me. I wonder if a dark (blue?) medallion, curving around the corner near the top, might balance the wall better. Of course, the photo might just be obscuring your balance of colors. I am in awe of your decorating sense! And your energy to get this done!

    • Ross on June 10, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      You have a good eye.

      And there IS a medallion in the upper right side. It just doesn’t read in the image, but it is visible as one walks around the room.

      The medallions are done with metallic paint, so they “change” as one walks around the room, and depending on how much light hits them.

      In the morning the room is kinda dark. In the late afternoon the room is very bright. At night the room is artificially lighted. So, during the course of the day all the medallions change in visibility. The effect is kinda neat.

      • Miriam Righter on June 10, 2017 at 2:22 pm

        I thought it might be the lighting, but I wasn’t sure! The room is gorgeous and totally not what I would have planned, but off the wall gorgeous!

  12. californianinkansas on June 10, 2017 at 9:25 am

    I love it! The room will be a shining jewel of spring when it is all lit up at night during the winter.

  13. Mike on June 10, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Did anyone else spy the tasseled picture cord hanging from the picture rail to the right of the south window? A sign of things to come! 🙂

    • aB on June 10, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      I noticed. I figure ‘someone’ is just toying with us.

  14. Sue C. on June 10, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    I have to tell you this, Ross! I am so excited. This afternoon we were driving to a weekend family reunion in Little River, KS, and I had completely zoned out that you and the Cross house are in Emporia. As we were coming into Emporia from the east, we were admiring the lovely old homes. All of a sudden we saw one with scaffolding on it, and I said, “Look, someone is working on this one.” Then I saw the colors and yelled, “That is Ross’ house!” I made my husband drive around the block twice,and we turned around in your driveway in the back. So if you saw two weird people this afternoon in a dark blue and white Mini Cooper gawking at your house, it was us. Your house is even more beautiful in person. The stained glass windows on the north side were just sparkling. You and the Cross house made my day!

  15. Colin Boss on June 11, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I can only echo all the other comments: It looks fab. The colours come together well and the ceiling looks just amazing. As for the fireplace and mantel, I am so envious, having a bit of an obsession over these! Now to see the furnishings and all the other elements come together to complete it. Well done Ross

  16. Cody H on June 11, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    I’ve been very quiet throughout this whole process, hoping that it would all come together better than I was thinking it would, as you fed us little bits and pieces…but Ross, man, it’s STUNNING. I would be waaaaaaay too chicken to even attempt such bold colors, but dude, it just WORKS in your parlor! I love it Ross! Love it love it love it!

    Couple questions for you, though:
    -Do you intend on returning gas service to whatever sconces you decide to install?
    -Have you actually been able to locate a pair?! YOU HAVE TO SHOW US!
    -The mantel looks….off, to my eye. Has it not been de-shellac-ed and refinished yet?

    • Ross on June 11, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Thank you, Cody!

      I will not be returning gas service to the sconces or chandelier. I plan to place votive candles where the gas jets were, and will light them for parties.

      No, I have not found any gas/electric early 1890s swing-arm sconces yet. And I need a LOT for the house.

      The mantel retains its old finish. It needs to be refinished, but I will not do this till winter. The mantel is actually varnished wood. But all the trim in the parlor has a faux wood finish. So, the mantel never did exactly match the trim in the room. And it never will. But it will look better come winter!

  17. Cody H on June 11, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Also, have you considered blue shades for the fixtures in this room too? I think electric blue shades would make a HUGE statement! Just a thought!

    • Ross on June 11, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      Oh yes. I have SO considered.

      Blue? Or yellow? Or red?

      But finding a matched set of eight will be extraordinarily difficult, and could easily run about $1,000. So, yikes!

      • Cody H on June 12, 2017 at 8:56 am

        I have run across far more yellow shades than blue, I’ve noticed, so that would be the EASIER option, but personally, I would totally opt for blue if they can be found! I absolutely ADORE my blue shades, but they would look even better in your parlor! Maybe you can do yellow ELECTRIC shades, and stick with clear gas shades, or vise versa, until such a time where you have a full matched set of 8 to make it complete? It just takes time.

        • Ross on June 12, 2017 at 9:13 am

          You are getting sleepy, sleepy.

          Your eyes feel heavy.

          You are getting SLEEPY.

          You are now…asleep. Deeply asleep.

          Now, it is important that you remove your blue shades and send them to Ross.

          Nod if you understand.


          Now, at the count of three…

  18. Stewart McLean on June 29, 2017 at 8:23 am

    If you tell me every time you have something that you know you can do, but dread, I will say,” I bet you can’t do just one.” Then you can try, fail, and the job will be done.

    Or you could follow Mary Poppins advice:

    In every job that must be done
    There is an element of fun
    You find the fun and snap!
    The job’s a game

Leave a Reply Cancel Reply

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