Enon Hall

April 4, 2006

Where to begin...

We continued to plug away on the siding through the weekend. Gay's also been having to hit a fair amount of it with Kilz before our final paint coat. Because the siding sat for a while before we started installing it, some moisture built up in some of the packs and caused some Tannin bleed. The Kilz is taking care of that.

This weekend I also vented the last shower. They're all being vented to the eaves where I am just using 4" round soffitt vents. I investigated all of the "official" shower vent outlets and they're all giant eyesores, too big to even fit in our soffitt board once the bed moulding is in place. They're large because they all have dampers to prevent air from blowing into the house. But all of our shower fans have built-in backdraft dampers, so I don't see why a normal round buck fifty vent won't work just fine. At worst, we might have some whistling wind in the vent pipes between the soffitt and the fan once in a while, but I doubt that will even happen.

The front doors... For months now we've had a sheet of Tyvek stapled over the front door opening. The jamb has been in and trimmed out for some time, but still no doors. These doors are the original old double door set and they may be the death of me. I feel like we have built this entire addition to accommodate these doors. Our Amish woodworker did a lot of repair work on the doors, replacing missing rails, etc. Then I did even more when I discovered they still weren't square. Then we finally got them primed and painted and ready to hang. A couple weekends ago we decided the day had arrived. I wrestled the doors into place (70 pounds each) only to find myself staring out into the front yard through a half inch gap between them. Don't ask me what went wrong, I really don't know. I guess I built the jamb too big, but by that point there was no changing the jamb so I had to add splines to the doors. So once again the doors went into surgery.

As of this morning, the doors are once more primed and painted and ready to go. We hope. Maybe we'll hang them tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

While we've been working on the siding nothing has been happening inside the addition. Absolutely nothing. Sometimes I start to feel good about our progress and then I open the door to go in the addition and suddenly am reminded that the inside is still a great big shell, going nowhere in a hurry soon.

I'm trying to get our plasterer lined up to begin in early May, but we have a lot of work to do before then. Like trimming out the windows, installing wainscotting, trimming some of the doors, etc. So we'll be splitting our time now between the inside and out. And now that the time has changed, we have some extra daylight. And with HVAC, we can now do some work in the evenings inside. Even so, we're still just two people. Two people feeling a bit overwhelmed, but plugging along.

Today I turned my attention to trimming out the windows inside. I did two in the master bedroom.

Well, I finished two but the net gain is only one. I did the first window (left) and then we decided that the trim wasn't wide enough. So I did the second window with 4" trim so that we could compare the two. We definitely like the wider trim better, so I'll redo the first window to match and then proceed on to the others.

It's hard to see the trim in my photo, but here is a window in Williamburg that we are modeling ours after.

The only difference is that in the new construction areas we have thicker walls (2X6) so the sash is set back about 3 inches, creating a little bit of a window sill, even though there is no stool. The windows in William's room (old 2X4 walls) will look like the one in the photo, with very little setback.

On other fronts, I've been ordering lots of material, which feels a little like progress...

Front porch posts - We decided to make them match the tapered posts on the back porch, so we're having these made. (Ka-ching)

Porch flooring - I've finally settled on a porch flooring material. After investigating everything under the sun the guy at the lumberyard showed me a sample of treated Southern Pine flooring (7/8"). It's kiln dried, treated, kiln dried again, and then primed on all sides. Sign me up! So that's ordered.

We've also ordered the beadboard for the back porch ceiling. Works out nicely that that porch is 32 feet long, so we can use 16-foot material.

A while back we learned a new saying from a disillusioned lady who posted to our Forum. "It's like going to DisneyWorld and seeing Mickey Mouse take his head off." (Something like that, I'm paraphrasing.) Since then that's become a favorite expression around here, especially with William. Well, now I HAVE ordered something that will surely rip Mickey's head right off. We've really been trying to be true to the period of the house with our materials. No fake woods, no vinyls, etc. Well, I've been trying to figure out what to do about a laminated beam in the ceiling between the kitchen and family room. The beam was too large to be contained entirely within the ceiling, so about 5 inches of it will be visible below the ceiling. I figured I was going to just have to box it in, but that seemed pretty inadequate. Well, now I've surprised myself and gone and ordered something TOTALLY fake (and perhaps even offensive in concept alone) to cover the beam. A fake 3-sided timber beam that will fit right over our laminated beam. Before you delete your bookmark to our site, check out this link and some of their gallery photos. Sure looks convincing in the photos. I ordered ours primed so we can try to give it a whitewashed look. You know what, they're cheap (relatively speaking). Our order came to $175, plus shipping. So if it arrives and looks awful...well, we'll just turn it into a fake log canoe or something. We'll see, but I'm kinda excited about it because if it DOES look good, it will sure take care of this problem nicely. My main problem if we use it will be that I will feel compelled to tell everybody who visits here that it's fake. I don't know why. Purist guilt I guess. -- Bill

April 9, 2006

Since my last post I've continued to work inside on the windows. I now have all of the upstairs windows trimmed, except for one.

A reader asked for a clearer view of the window trim, so here it is.

Today, Gay and I started putting the beadboard back in the law office. My work leveling the north wall really paid off as everything went up smoothly. William's taking on the job of priming and painting all of the beadboard. Big job. (I hope that includes the ceiling!)

Looks like my next task will be building the three door frames in this room so that we can finish running the beadboard.

Last week Gay applied the top coat of paint to some of the siding and windows and it's really looking good. But, for the most part, we're putting the outside on hold for a few weeks so that we can knock out some of the inside work that needs to be done before the plasterer can start. Then while he's working inside, we can get back to work on the siding. At least that's the plan of the moment. Man, already seems like April is rolling by. Easter is next weekend?!?! -- Bill

April 12, 2006

We've been ignoring the beautiful weather outside and continuing to plow ahead in William's bedroom.

Yesterday I built the jamb for his bathroom door, hung the door, and trimmed it all out. We're re-using a door that was a closet door in this room. In fact, its new location is maybe two feet from its old home. (If some "eagle eye" spots the odd framing above the door...yes, I changed my mind about what door was going here. This one's shorter than what I originally framed for.)

I also reinstalled the old beadboard trim that I had saved from this room: cap, moulding below the cap, and moulding along the top of the baseboard. I had to stop and do some sanding on all of this, so that slowed me down.

Today I built the jambs for this room's closet door and door from the hall. The closet door is also originally from this room, but the door from the hall is from the chicken house collection. Neither door is ready to be hung, but with the frames trimmed out we can now finish installing the last bit of beadboard.

The front doors are finally hung!

I haven't installed the rim lock or cane bolts yet, but the hard part is done. After A LOT of work, they meet very nicely in the center.

I love the texture of these two old doors, so I'll close with a gratuitous close-up. -- Bill

April 13, 2006

A few days ago Jim K in PA mentioned in our Forum that he needs to get his soffits closed up to keep the birds out. I read that and thought, "We can relate." We've had our share of birds in the addition, getting trapped and making a mess. Today i discovered that the problem is worse than I thought.

This duct chase is in the master bedroom closet.

I stuck my hand behind the duct today to move a wire and about had a heart attack when a bird flew out at my head. Upon closer inspection this is what I found nestled in the middle of the insulation.

Sure glad we discovered this before she had a chance to hatch those five eggs in the house! Then we would have had a real problem.

Our plasterer is telling us that he won't be able to get to us until two months from now...at the soonest. This is not good news. -- Bill

April 14, 2006

Having the day off from school today, William started priming the beadboard in his room. At the store this morning I sent him to get primer tinted to a deep red, while I picked out some lumber. The color he wound up with is more of a pinky-mauve.

It's rather gross, but it will serve the purpose of a good base coat for the deep burgundy that he intends to paint the beadboard and trim.

I made the baseboard for our master bath, which will also be getting beadboard wainscot. I picked up some 5/4 X 6 fir (wanted yellow pine but they didn't have any in stock and I really didn't want to wait to order it, so I bit the bullet and got the more expensive fir) and used the table saw and dado blades to cut a shallow setback into the top of the board. Once done, you could see the cut marks of the blades, so Gay ran over them with a sander and also knocked down the sharp edges. After that, it looks just like the 1850s base in the law office and dining room.

The desire to plaster has me working backwards from what would be normal for drywall...and presenting some conundrums. All our trim is supposed to be installed and painted first so that the plasterer can work up to it. This is why we're rushing on things like the beadboard. But I'm not ready to put down floors yet so I guess I will wind up running the flooring up to the baseboard instead of the baseboard sitting on the flooring. Then the shoe moulding will cover the corner where they meet, as usual. As I write this I am now wondering if I should just tack a firring strip in place to establish the future top of the baseboard, then install the beadboard on top of this. Then after the plaster is done we can install the flooring, remove the firring strips, and then install the baseboard on top of the flooring like it should be. That might be a good idea. But now I have to tell Gay that she really didn't have to sand that 70 feet of baseboard today after all. And I really could have waited for the cheaper pine...Oy. -- Bill

April 17, 2006

I'm getting pretty tired of beadboard. I spent all day Saturday putting up the beadboard in the master bath and finished it up today. Well, all except for the cap, corners, etc. Oh, and I didn't run all the way up to the door trim yet. Mainly because there is no door trim yet. Or jambs, for that matter.

Here are two views to show the layout of this room.

The door jambs are slow going because none of the doors has been restored yet. So before I can build a jamb, I have to go retrieve the door from the chicken house and determine what size it will be when I have finished doing any necessary repairs, squaring, etc. Each jamb is a bit of a leap of faith.

Trimmed out the French doors in the master bedroom.

William did some more priming in his room.

The faux beam arrived today. It looks pretty good. Except that it's yellow. And made of polysomethingorother. I'm still optimistic, but reserve my final opinion until we whitewash it. -- Bill

April 23, 2006

Last week was mostly a bust. Two days sick. Two days in Richmond. One day cutting grass. Not much got done on the house. But we did get to see John Prine, which is always great. (I think this make seven times that I've seen him now, since '82.)

A couple small accomplishments...

I finished off the top of William's new closet.

I didn't take the closet all the way to the ceiling so that the old beadboard ceiling would be exposed all the way to the corner and he can use the top of the closet to store stuff in baskets. I wanted to trim the edge with bed moulding to match the ceiling, but since he'll be dragging those baskets back and forth over the edge I couldn't just nail it up there without also securing the top edge of the moulding really well. My challenge was figuring out how to rip a 65 degree angle on a 1X6 using a table saw that only goes to 45 degrees. After some head scratching and a couple experiments I finally got the correct angle by securing a scrap strip beside the fence and feeding the stock across the table at a 20 degree angle. 20 + 45 = 65. That board got nailed to the top edge of the closet and then the angled top of the bed moulding fit right up to it, closing up the space and giving me a good nailing surface. He could do pull ups from the bed moulding now without pulling it down. But I better not catch him trying. Behind the 1X6 is a piece of 3/4" plywood.

So William's room is totally trimmed now and ready for plaster. Not counting his bathroom. One down.

I also put up the faux beam between the kitchen and family room. (Every time I mention this project I get hate mail.)

It's a 22-foot span, so I had to order two 12-foot pieces and join them in the center. I'll cover the joint with an iron strap or something.

At each end I cut the beam to wrap around the wall sections there. Once the blueboard and plaster is up it should really look like the beam is sitting on these walls. I think it's all going to work. -- Bill

April 25, 2006

I ran out of stock for door jambs and probably won't be getting more until early next week. So that's given us an excuse to bounce to some outside projects this week and enjoy the beautiful weather.

I had said that the pack porch ceiling could wait until after the rest of the addition was complete since it's not essential for getting our C.O. But it really didn't make sense to hold off on it. It made more sense to go on and get it up, primed, and painted before we put down the new porch floor. So we chose that as our first project of the week.

It took us all day yesterday and today to finish. While we still have all of the sawhorses and walk boards on the porch, we may go ahead and prime and paint it this week.

Our dogwoods have really been pretty this spring. I fertilized them last year and I think it paid off. In the front yard the crepe myrtle is starting to leaf out and the red maple is really pretty. We spend so much time working on the house that sometimes we forget to just stop and look around us for a minute. It's been weeks since I even walked down to the dock, which is just a crime. But I have been paying attention to views out the windows. William's bedroom (the law office) definitely has the best views, front and back. One of the benefits of a one-room-deep house is the ability to have windows on both sides of the room. Great for cross breezes too. -- Bill

April 26, 2006

Brazen little guy. Broad daylight and not ten feet away from me. Lucy's not going to be happy to see this.

We started priming the back porch ceiling today, but knocked off after finishing only about a third of it. Three straight days of working over our heads is starting to take its toll. The primer is tinted to a light blue and the final coat will be a similar blue. -- Bill br>

April 27, 2006

Last July I posted that we found this shutter dog and were able to prove that it came off of the house. Even which window.

Last night I was perusing the new issue of This Old House Magazine and was excited to see a photo of the exact style of shutter dogs on page 52!

The photo was part of an article about salvaging shutters and attributed the restored shutter dogs to Ed Donaldson Hardware Restorations. I actually purchased some mortise locks from him a few months ago and love scanning his site, drooling over all of his restored door hardware. But I had never checked out his shutter dogs.

After seeing the photo I quickly went to his site and found them still available. I bought 9 pairs to use on the front of the house. They're not Colonial, but date to the 1880s or so. Still it's very cool to be able to use the same dogs that were on the "new" part of the house and be able to point to our excavated dog that proves it. (We'll still be using wrought 18th century style dogs on the Dutch Colonial.)

In other news, today we finished priming the porch ceiling and I installed the rim lock on the front door. -- Bill

April 30, 2006

"The Week of the Porch" is drawing to a close. Or at least it will as soon as the truck from the lumberyard pulls up tomorrow. Then I'll have to get back to work inside on door jambs and trim.

Gay painted the back porch ceiling yesterday while I moved upstairs and worked on the master bedroom's screened porch. For months now it has looked like this.

Now it looks like this...

Now, I just need to finish siding inside the porch and figure out how to treat the spindles that we need below the whiskey rail for code.

The window inside the porch is in the dry end of the master shower.

Gay and William planted our vegetable garden a couple weeks ago. Since then, Lucy and William have been on patrol for rabbits. (We suspect rabbits of laying waste to Gay's new "Old Blush" rose bush.) Yesterday, Lucy got two rabbits. She executes. William conducts the burial. The good news is that we haven't seen a single groundhog this spring. Bad news is something is definitely residing under the smokehouse and Lucy's obsessed with getting it. Been a little over a year since the skunking. But she doesn't appear to have learned anything. -- Bill

April 30, 2006 (Later that day)

So you've been following our journal for years. But how well do you really know Enon Hall? Print out our fun crossword puzzle (PDF) and see how you do. Most of it's pretty easy if you've been following along for a while. And if one or two stump you, you should be able to look up the answers pretty easily here on the site. Have fun! (The puzzle was created at Puzzlemaker.com.)

P.S. - Oops! 26 across - I spelled the answer wrong. Dan Quayle says write in the correct answer and then add an "e" to the end. You know, like in "potatoe." (Sorry)

Also, some of the answers are two or more words. -- Bill

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