ABOUT THIS WEBSITE (To skip, scroll down)

In 1999, before "blog" was even a word, I started this "web journal" to chronicle our mostly-DIY restoration of our 18th century family home in Virginia. What started as a way to share images with folks around the country who had experience with old house restoration, soon became something else. In its heyday, thousands of followers checked in regularly; the site was featured in various media outlets including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Renovation Style magazine, and others; random strangers began showing up at our house, expecting impromptu tours; and people started recognizing us in public (usually as we attended some renovation or design show). This site also became known as the granddaddy of the houseblog movement as brave souls all across the country began sharing their ambitious and beautiful renovation and restoration projects online.

When we made the decision to build a historically complementary addition so that we could make the old home our primary residence, the site updates became an almost daily account of our head scratching, accomplishments, challenges, and failures. Our followers became a support system for us as we worked seven days a week on the house for almost two years. Posting the day's work and receiving some virtual "attaboys" kept me going as the all-consuming project made us more and more isolated from the real world. When we did venture out, we found that we had become one dimensional...all anybody knew to talk to us about was the house.

Our followers were surprised to see the site suddenly go dark in 2008. I hadn't planned for the site to end then, it just happened. And we didn't say goodbye, because we didn't really realize ourselves that it was the end. But, after two years of being consumed by the house and ten years of the site, we were ready to re-inflate into three-dimensional characters and restart the other aspects of our lives. In the back of my mind, I thought that maybe someday I'd start posting here again, but it just hasn't happened. That doesn't mean that the work has stopped. Since the last post, we've done a lot of work on the Dutch Colonial: braced the house and completely rebuilt the crumbling north foundation wall; replaced all the wiring; restored and lined an old chimney, returning three fireboxes to working order; replastered the parlor; and more. It's still a work in progress. When friends ask us when we'll be done, our answer is still the same: "Never." And that's okay with us; Gay and I still enjoy the work and, occasionally, we post a photo of our latest project on Facebook for our friends, and that's enough.

We've kept this site online because people still find it useful. (And we refer back to it from time to time to look something up or stroll down memory lane.) Nearly once a week, I hear from somebody who has found this site and writes to let me know that they just spent the last twelve hours reading the journal from beginning to end. What's a shame is that the old bulletin board ("Forum") is no longer available, so if you read the site, you'll need to ignore the many "talk balloons" that used to click through to related discussions with our followers. I'm sorry that that content was lost when the technology became outdated; there really was some great information there.

We remain appreciative to the many folks who followed this site when it was active. Many, many aspects of our work were made better by your suggestions, experience, and expertise. One loyal follower even sent us a beautiful embroidered sampler as a gift. We treasure it and it hangs in the old center hall.

A family update: We're all doing great and we love our home. My work keeps me busy, Gay stays active with the house and local community work, and William is in his last year of college (yes, it's true). Sadly, Lucy is gone, but a new Jack Russell puppy, Andy, is taking charge.

You can read a great recent story about our work here.

Thanks for stopping by. We hope you enjoy your visit. The old homepage is directly below.

Bill Chapman
October 2015

Welcome to Enon Hall in historic Lancaster County, Virginia. Follow along as our little family tackles a very large project together, restoring the ancestral home of Virginia's Hathaways. In our family from 1762 until 1939, we bought the house without stepping foot inside and have been hard at work ever since.
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© 1999- William H. Chapman