The composition is straight from the camera with no cropping so far. One of the challenges of shooting this particular subject from that vantage point was the fact that there is a rather busy freeway (I-70) about 50 yards behind the building, and semis and SUVs sort of detract from the ambience. IIRC, this shot has a semi or two directly behind the house. Several of the other shots had to be timed carefully to keep the traffic out of frame as well. I did boost contrast quite a bit to bring out some texture in the sky; the day was hazy and the lighting was a bit flat.
I'm thinking that if I crop, I'd take just enough off the left to eliminate the disembodied branches on the left edge, and enough off the top to keep the same aspect ratio, and call it good. Or else just clone out the branches and leave the crop alone.
For the B&W conversion, I followed my usual practice of doing a levels adjustment on each color channel such that .01% of each color channel is clipped to black and white, and then theimagingfactory.com's excellent Convert To B&W Pro set to boost contrast and bring out as much sky texture as possible. The levels adjustment maximizes tonal range, and limiting clipping to .01% confines it to small specular highlight and shadow areas that do not detract from the overall image.