Enon Hall

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January 21, 2007

OK, I think my journal hiatus is over. The break from posting (a whole month!) has been nice in a lot of ways, but I have also found myself wanting to report on some things that have (or haven't) occured.

So let's get caught up a little.

In case you missed them, I have posted a handful of "after" photos in the Forum. You can check them out here.

We've been having awful luck with our new kitchen appliances. We had to refuse delivery of the Jenn-Air double ovens after they arrived damaged. We were told that it would take 3-4 weeks to get new ovens. So we had to move the old range into the new kitchen to tide us over. It kinda ruins the aesthetic of the room, but oh well.

The Subzero refrigerator arrived with the doors screwed up. They don't line up along the top edge AND the freezer door is sprung and sticks out farther than the refrigerator door. A new freezer door and hinge has been ordered to fix this.

The Bosch dishwasher shipped without the proper mounting brackets. We've been waiting for two weeks now for them to arrive.

The washer and dryer are in and working great. So, I guess one outta four ain't bad.

And we still don't have countertops. Or a sink. So our new kitchen is yet another makeshift kitchen. Functional, but by no means finished.

The good news is that the dining room is once again a dining room. No appliances!

After living with the tankless hot water heaters for a while now I wanted to pass along some feedback. I find that I don't even try to wash my hands with hot water anymore. By the time the hot water gets to the faucet I'm already done washing my hands and have wasted electricity heating up water that never even made it to me. True...waiting for hot water is a common problem even if you have a traditional tank. But I think the difference is that I can hear the tankless hot water heater kicking on when I turn on the faucet, so I'm more aware that energy is being expended. And if I turn the faucet off without ever having gotten any hot water, then I am more aware that that energy was totally wasted. I should point out that the location of the tankless hot water heaters is important. Obviously, the farther away the heater is the longer it will take to get hot water. But the downstairs heater is only about 10 feet from the downstairs bathroom sink and still it takes a a full minute to get hot water at that sink. My other feedback is that maybe these appliances aren't the best thing for people on well water. The key benefit of these appliances is unlimted hot water. If you want to take a five-hour steaming hot shower, you can. But if you're on a well, you're probably a little more conscious of your water usage than that. So maybe "endless hot water" isn't so relavent. Another issue is that there are temperature fluctuations when you're taking a shower. You can go from super hot to tepid and then back to super hot. And I've already written about the noise. So would I recommend a tankless hot water heater? If you are on public water and have a large family with lots of hot water usage, yes. For people like us, probably not. For me, the noise is the biggest negative.

Now for something more definitively positive.

I don't think I ever mentioned that we went with epoxy grout in the master shower. We were told that it was super stain resistent and mildew resistent. Boy is it ever! We've been using the shower for two months now and it still looks like it's never been used. And I mean two months without cleaning it. I know that sounds gross, but it just doesn't need cleaning! The epoxy grout was expensive. If I remember correctly, I think it added about $300 to the cost of our shower. But, boy was it worth it! Nobody wants to be scrubbing grout all the time!

Well, that's enough of an update for now. We do have a couple of interesting projects coming up that will be fun to post. Until then... -- Bill

January 28, 2007

I got tagged by Brooklyn Limestone and Brooklyn Row House (we must be big in Brooklyn!) to come clean with 5 things you may not know about me. It's a little game that's been going on among housebloggers for a while now. I've enjoyed reading everybody else's "5 things"...most of which have been much more exotic and interesting than I will be able to muster. But here goes...

1) I proposed to Gay while playing Scrabble. My mission was to collect the letters needed to spell "Marry me" or "Mary me" or "meri me"...anything phonetically close would do. What I didn't foresee was that while I was focusing on collecting the necessary letters for the proposal, Gay would be beating my pants off in the game. During my first attempt things got so bad that I finally abandoned the proposal attempt and focused on regaining control of the game and defeating her. During the second game I managed to keep the score a little closer AND spell out my proposal.

2) I'm a bit competitive.

3) Wolfman Jack and Larry King. Two of the more interesting people that I've had the opportunity to work with over the years. I wrote and produced radio commercials featuring each of them. It took forever to get on Larry King's schedule to actually record the spots. The plan was that he would record them in his own studio and I would direct them over the phone. We happened to be on vacation in Tuscon the week that this was all supposed to happen, so I spent the week with my cell phone attached to my hip waiting for him to call. He never did. Instead, he wound up calling our house in the middle of dinner one night after we got home.

4) I once buried a car in the middle of a field. It was part of a promotion introducing the "Daihatsu Rocky." I was just a couple years out of college and was working for an ad agency handling the account. The agency owner wanted to give a Rocky away in an interesting way. "We could bury it somewhere and have people look for it," I chimed in...not really serious. "I like it. Do that," he said. My jaw dropped, but I managed to pull it off. I actually had the car buried in a field at beautiful Berekeley Plantation outside Richmond. The time I spent there working on that project actually contributed to my desire to own Enon Hall. It was the first time that I had ever stood alone in the middle of 500-acre field and the sensation of total freedom made its mark on me.

5) Number five is about Gay and William. They both appear in a television commercial that I produced for Archadeck (a national custom deck builder) back when William was about three years old. The spot's been running for about 10 years on HGTV. If you have high speed, you can view it here. William's easy to spot. Gay might be a little more difficult. William was also in a series of commercials that I produced for CWD, a children's clothing retailer. View one of those spots here.

OK...those are my five things you probably didn't know.

Now the fun part...I get to tag five other housebloggers...

This Decrepit Victorian House
Raise The Ranch
House in Progress
Home Building Diary
Pennbrook Farm


Yesterday, William and I made the family room fireplace hearth. Turned out that we didn't need this to get the C.O., so it slipped down on the to-do list until now. To match the hearths in the Dutch Colonial, we used old brick that we have accumlated here and there on the property.

The bricks are laid tight in a 1-inch bed of sand. No sand goes in between the bricks. This way you can actually vacuum the top of the hearth without sucking up a bunch of sand. The bricks are then contained by a piece of oak hearth strip.

Lucy seems to approve.

So far, we've only been burning sterno logs because we don't have a screen and I haven't had time to chop any firewood. The parged firebox is looking good now that it's all smoked up.

The mantel isn't installed; just leaning in place right now. Lots of work to do before it can be permanently installed. -- Bill

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© 1999- William H. Chapman