The Cross House

Who IS She?

Yesterday, I did a post which ended with this image. The caption read: “The framed picture makes me incredibly happy. And, too, a punched-in-the-stomach kinda grief…for what might have been.”


This confused readers. Huh? What?

For, it seemed that most people did not recognize the woman in the image.


And, without context what I wrote would, yes, make no sense. Sorry. Sorry!


The image is of Hillary Clinton, and was taken when she was First Lady by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. It is my favorite image of Hillary.


I chose this portrait as the central focus of the parlor for several reasons.

When the Cross House was built in 1894 it was inconceivable that a woman could run for President. Indeed, women were not even allowed to vote in 1894.

While my house is historic, I have always wished that it reflect the fact the 123-years have passed since it was built. Things today are not as they were in 1894. And while I very much love owning a historic house I love even more how much better we are as a people today.

And I want the Cross House to reflect this.

It thrills me that the first woman to run for President is represented in my 123-year-old house. This contrasting dynamic — historic vs. modern — excites me, and I have no desire for the Cross House to appear frozen in time; preserved in aspic. Rather, I want the house to seem very much alive, a house which has developed and matured over time. A house which embraces societal change.

In addition, I just love Hillary, and hugely admire her dedication over many decades to make life better for millions of people. When her titanic effort to create national health care failed in the 1990s she did not retreat to lick her wounds but began a new fight to create national health care for children. This was successful and eight million children benefited from this program. This is but one of hundreds of such examples whereby Hillary was a positive impact upon many millions of people.

So, I was devastated on 11/8/16, and have not recovered yet. I am still grieving. I am still in shock.

To walk into my beautiful parlor, and see this fabulous woman, is a bittersweet encounter. For, while I feel punched in the stomach for what might have been, I am also ecstatic having Hillary grace my 1894 parlor. Luckily, the latter feeling predominates.



40 Responses to Who IS She?

  1. That’s Hillary! I zoomed in when you posted it and figured you really, really, REALLY liked Téa Leoni! Wow, can’t believe that’s Hillary!

  2. I thought it might be, but the photo is such an unusual pose for her. I am not really good at telling one movie actor/ actress from another, so I didn’t want to say anything and betray my ignorance of modern recreation. And I feel exactly the same about Hillary!

  3. Same here Kelly! I didn’t recognize her either, I’m not sure if I’ve seen her with her hair like that. It’s a very good picture of her!

  4. Count me among the people who (a) recognized the photo, (b) admire Hillary greatly (though I don’t always agree with her), and (c) am still reeling from the election results and fallout. The fact that she holds a prominent space in your home is wonderful!!

  5. I share your feelings about Hillary, and I love the juxtaposition of this image in that house!!! Wonderful!

  6. I feel your pain, Americans who hate Trump, which, to be honest, should be all of you. I would like to say that the Trump reign is going to be very good for Canada, thank you very much.

    • “Americans who hate Trump, which, to be honest, should be all of you.”

      COULD NOT AGREE MORE. Its reprehensible that ANYONE would be attracted to what he is, and what he is about. A complete moral failing.

      Though he is a total con-man, and sometimes even the best of us get conned. But really? Ugh, it just blows my mind.

      • Tiffaney not everyone is a blow-hard like you. I support our president and I respect all my neighbors regardless of how they vote. This is a blog about a house restoration not a forum for you divisive and malicious rhetoric. It’s time for swallow your disappointment and stifle.

        • Dear Michael,

          Tiffany, while voicing strong opinions, did not call any other readers names.

          Your comment however called her names, and I respectfully request that all readers of this blog refrain from doing this!

          Also, while this blog is very much about restoration, it is not exclusively so. I retain the right to post on any subject which interests me, although non-restoring subjects are normally (but not exclusively) posted under Other Cool Things.

          This post, while discussing my decorative choices, certainly involves politics! Note however that I never mentioned Trump.

          Trump does have many supporters, and I know many here in rural Kansas. And we still get along!

      • Yay Tiffaney!! Yay Ross!!!

        That is such a beautiful pix of her!

        I think she would have been great for the country and for some reason there are many out there who don’t get how damaging this current operation has become. Oh well, perhaps the obstruction of justice will stick–finally something to prove how damaging the behavior has become & how it is hurting our country.

      • The United States Constitution gives every American the right to blow as hard as they like, but this American saw your reply as a breath of fresh air, at a time when others are blowing harder than I have ever seen. So many Americans don’t seem to know the difference between an election and a reality TV show.

    • Hi Glenn!

      80% of America did not vote for Trump, but he does have strong core supporters.

      Still, his current approval rating (Gallup) is at 37%, which is the lowest for any president (in his first year) since such polls were enacted in 1961.

      It also should be remembered that even George Washington was HATED by many people during his presidency! Even Thomas Jefferson worked hard to undermine Washington, who he deeply believed was a mortal danger to the country. I know! Amazing! But true!

  7. What better way to show the dichotomy of the two eras. I LOVE the room, except the white table is a little off scale, I believe, for the room. Maybe if it was lower or between two chairs. You are doing such an excellent job of preserving this gem from the past and giving it a bright new future.

    • Hi Linda!

      The table, in person, does not look too large. The room is BIG! And the table looks well with the BIG sofa and the TALL upholstered chairs.

      I dislike coffee tables. They did not exist before WWII, and I have a habit of walking into them because they are too low. I also dislike, when sitting, having to bend down to place a glass on a coffee table, or pick one up.

      Ideally, I prefer center table 28-inches high. This is a “tea table” height and makes for an ideal center table, and it can also be used for eating.

      My white Knoll table is 30-high, but with the ten-foot ceiling height it looks well.

      • I understand your reasoning to have the “tea table”….maybe if it wasn’t so very white but it wouldn’t have the same juxtaposition that I think you are expressing.

        • Hi Linda,

          The center table is more subtle in person.

          The base is white but the top is Calacatta marble, which is a creamy color with gold veining. I chose this over the more standard Carrara marble which is white with black veins. I thought the former would better complement the woodwork in the parlor.

          • Thank you, Linda!

            As you sit in the parlor, the adjacent library is highly visible. It has miles of white shelves. This also helps balance the white elements in the parlor.

  8. I would have framed a print of a Gibson girl. To each his own. I do not idolize politicians. Even the ones I vote for.

  9. It looks great and I love the components that the photo brings to the room (see all above the discussion). May I say, I’m not keen on the tassel on the picture rail. You expended so much effort to make the rail perfect and the tassel draws the eye and therefore away from the other lovely elements. imho.

    • Gee Anne, I like the tassel. It helps balance the height of the window framing and boldness of fireplace surround. I think it anchors the huge frame and keeps it from just floating there somewhere on the wall. And best, it adds a bit of a wink to the Victorian era, nice juxtaposition of old and modern. I’d say perfect touch Ross.

    • Hi Anne!

      I did expend a great deal of trouble bringing back the lost picture rail. After such work, it seemed silly not to us the picture rail as intended. And the tassel, while a flourish, was common during the Victorian-era.

      It also delights me, because it is SUCH a period-specific look, and such a wild contrast from the actual picture! I love these kinds of new/old contrasts.

      • And it’s your lovely house, so you should do as you like. I still await a PEEK, however small, into the library – you are still teasing us.

  10. I LOVE the height of the table. I, too, share a total disdain for coffee tables. They also are just the wrong height for toddlers to bash their heads on the corners. They also interfere with dogs wanting attention (I have one). And I love the tassel.

  11. I just love how this room is coming together. I haven’t heard any mention of the thought process (assuming there is one- you’ve put a great deal of thought into the entire room!) that went into the rug.

    To my eye, which is admittedly not up to par, it seems dangerously close to the wall stencil- pattern-wise, like two colors that are meant to match, but don’t quite, or two pitches that are just a tad out of tune with each other.

    As I said, though, patterns are my Achilles heel- I don’t even wear printed tops unless they’ve been approved by my more fashion forward friends. Heaven knows I’ve had some disasters when left to my own devices!

    • Hi Lynn,

      The rug was not intended to match. It was intended to be (and I appreciate how odd this will seem) a bit off.

      The following post will better explain…

  12. I think your room is spot on and beautiful Except for the Hilary photograph. My heart dropped when I saw it. This would be the perfect spot to hang a portrait of yourself or a loved relative or friend. I’m so sad about this decision. Yes iI know it is your house you can do what you want too, but, I was thinking if you took it back now, you might could get your money back. Hilary. Eeeeeeeeeew! But the rest of everything is just awesome!

    • Hillary is on my wall because of my enormous admiration for her long devotion to making the lives of people better, her great intelligence, humor, and tenacity.

      I believe that in time history will support my opinion of Hillary and not yours.

      You know, Eleanor Rosevelt was reviled in her day.

      And, while this may surprise you, so was George Washington. Many people thought he was as a traitor, a bad general, and a secret monarchist determined to abolish the Office of the President and transform himself into a King with absolute power. All this was absurd, of course, but people believed this deeply, including Thomas Jefferson.

      Oh, and it may also surprise you that Hillary has been voted the Most Admired Woman in America for the last 15 tears in a row via Gallup. It seems that I am not alone in my high opinion.

      • Hillary aside, Your house is awesome! I can hardly wait for your next post! If I were local, I would be a volunteer on your project. Tim

  13. I think that most people, who stand for what they believe in, are reviled by someone else. Eleanor and George are great examples. Abraham Lincoln also comes to mind as do most real leaders. My issue today is the people who don’t stand for anything, yet take the time to express revulsion for those who do. They don’t seem to realize that any change is not as good as change based on well thought out principles, openly expressed, and stood by when others disagree. I don’t respect those who are chipping away at human rights by negatively categorizing the ones who are working the hardest to find solutions. I am amazed at the number of people who judge based on another’s judgement rather than looking at facts and making their own. They seem to be afraid that giving everyone equal rights will make them lose something. It is all so painful to see.

  14. I love the picture of Hillary. And with the “cracked glass” ceiling you’ve got going on it is particularly poignant.

    I’ve just spent the last few days reading all your posts about the Cross House starting at the beginning. And this whole room is made perfect by her portrait. I too was crushed by her loss in 2016. It’s fitting that during that time you were working on this house, deeply affected by the election, and that she is now here. I’m with her too.

    • Very nice to meet you, Erika!

      And thank you for your comments. I love having Hillary in my parlor. Every week, I look at the portrait and smile.

Leave a Response

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