Enon Hall


These journal entries track our progress as we undertake our adventure of restoring this very old home. The main reason for keeping this journal on the web is that we have found that there are very few resources (books or websites) that follow all of the trials and tribulations of restoring an old home...from start to finish.

June 2, 2002

A hot and dry weekend at Enon Hall! Mid-afternoon on Saturday our well dried up leaving us with no water for the rest of the weekend. We've been so long without rain that the grass is already burned up and crispy. Let's hope for some rain this week!

I finished up the cellar bulkhead and made the doors. Everything is primed and ready for paint. I've ordered hand wrought strap hinges and pintles from Fagan's Forge and they should come in this week. -- Bill

June 9, 2002

Moved kind of slowly this weekend. I'm suffering with shingles. Not the roof kind...the painful skin kind. Ow!

Scraped and primed the beaded board siding around the new bulkhead. The siding is a mix of original 18th century clapboards and some later 19th century replacement boards. For the most part it's in fair condition. Looked a lot better when I finished scraping out the beads. There is some rot on a few boards next to the door. Appears that the door frame is rotten, as well as the window sill. For now, I just primed everything and will come back and address replacing the rotten parts later.

Installed the bulkhead doors with the new strap hinges. So glad to see the old doghouse entrance gone! I built the bulkhead so that the front face can be lifted out allowing direct walk-in access...or you can just step over the front. This allowed me to build the bulkhead directly on the doghouse foundation rather than lowering that foundation and regrading.

Time for another gratuitous look at how far we've come. Next big step...the roof. We're thinking cedar shake on the gambrel and standing seam copper on everything else.

Left photo: 1999

Left photo: June, 2000

Gay worked on glazing the bathroom window and weeded the vegetable garden. Still no rain. Still no water in the well. -- Bill

June 16, 2002

On Saturday I painted the back of the house that I had primed last weekend. The rest of the weekend I took it easy (shingles still making me miserable) and enjoyed a nice Father's Day on the boat.

One kinda strange thing did happen on Saturday. I have had a CD by a band called Genghis Angus for several years now and listen to it every now and then. After I finished painting on Saturday I put this CD in and flopped down on the sofa to relax. Oddly it started playing on track 8, instead of 1. (I hadn't hit "shuffle" or anything.) As I relaxed I started listening to the words of this song for the first time. The song is called "House to Defend."

    All the souls who have lived in this house
    come back for a visit
    press their faces against the glass
    to see what we've done with the place
    all the plaster has been healed
    and it waits for the paint
    broken window panes, next job
    keep the Winter from blowing in our faces.

    We wanted this
    house to defend
    fingers on hands
    work with no end

    There's a mildew in the crawl space
    and a nasty creak in the floor
    like the sound of the builder and his men
    finally sitting down two centuries ago
    all the Christmas mornings, all the mother's warnings
    recorded in this brick
    they come playing back with every chip of paint
    make the finest work song you'll ever know

    We wanted this
    house to defend
    fingers on hands
    work with no end

    They want us on the ghost tour
    but we've seen no spirits yet
    maybe they are pleased with our work
    and they won't haunt us, because they know that...

    We wanted this
    house to defend
    fingers on hands
    work with no end

Wonder who wanted to make sure we heard this song... William and I listened to it about three more times and now he wants to shoot a music video of Enon Hall set to this song. Cool idea. -- Bill

June 23, 2002

We had a fun (and dirty) weekend cleaning out the kitchen quarters outbuilding. I'm hoping to work on this building in August and wanted to get all the junk (trash left by the previous owners) out so I could get a better look at the frame. Mark Dameron brought his dump truck over and we had no problem filling it to the top. William had fun chucking trash out the upstairs window.

With the building finally empty and broomswept it was easy to see all of the issues. Like this rotten sill that has caused the front wall to roll forward completely off of the brick foundation.

When you look at this rotten corner post floating above the the rotten and separated sill joint, it makes you wonder how the building is even standing. Amazingly, two of the four walls are perfectly square. The other two are way out.

Upstairs in the loft the floorboards are amazingly wide and long. Would never be able to find lumber like this these days!

The photo below is two shots pieced together to show more of the first floor.

William, of course, immediately claimed the building as his own. He started moving his stuff in right away and turning it into a "Civil War soldiers quarters." (He's really into the Civil War now.) Not sure exactly what the end use of this outbuilding will be but, meanwhile, it is a great place to play.

With the dump truck there I was determined to get rid of three big blocks of concrete that were used as footings for the addition I tore down two years ago. They're way too heavy to pick up, even for two people, so they've just been sitting in the back yard. I rolled each of them halfway across the back yard to the truck. After trying several techniques, Gay and I finally found that if we wrapped a rope around each piece and I pulled while Gay pushed, we could get them in the truck in about four "heave ho's." The last pull on this one caught Gay off guard and she wound up on her stomach on the board. (You can laugh. I sure did. She's so happy that William was there to document this with the camera.)

Good news! We got water back this weekend. They had to come drill the well about four feet deeper. It's muddy water right now...but it's water. By next weekend it should be settled and clear. -- Bill

June 27, 2002

Well, we've signed the contract for our first major financial expense on Enon Hall. Since we've done all the work to date ourselves, with the exception of some clearing, our out-of-pocket has been largely materials and not a tremendous amount.

Now we're going forward with re-roofing the house. We will be putting cypress shakes on the gambrel and standing seam copper on the screened porch and 19th century addition (the highest roof). For now, we're not going to do anything with the kitchen/carport roof because we're not sure we'll be doing with that in a couple years. (We may raise it to two stories or change it in some other way.) The existing metal roof on the backporch will also remain, although we may repaint it so that it sort of matches the copper. Eventually I would like to see it be copper too.

This should make a dramatic change in the presentation of the house so we're excited about it. Not to mention that a new roof is long overdue. We have a couple leaks in the house that are overdue for correction. We counted about 6 layers of shingles on the screened porch!

Will take about two weeks to get the Cypress, so I expect the work won't begin until mid to late July. -- Bill

June 30, 2002

Saturday I spent the day helping William make his video for the song "House to Defend." (See June 16 above.)

After shooting all of our footage we set up a makeshift edit suite in the kitchen quarters and had fun putting it all together.

See the world premiere of "Enon Hall - House to Defend" by clicking here. (Requires Quicktime. File size is 9MB, so it'll take a while to download unless you have high speed access.)

Meanwhile, Gay and her mom did some painting (gradually getting all of the outside doors painted) and weeding in the garden.

Miracle of miracles...the "damn fig bush" lives. (Damn!) Although it looks dead as a doornail there are signs of a pulse and three of four tiny new green leaves sprouting. A gentleman actually emailed Gay a while back after we had administered last rites and said, "Don't let Bill dig it up yet. It could come back." Wow...who'da thunk!

We're back in business with clean well water! We had to clean out every faucet screen and replace the toilet guts (once again!) to unclog everything from the initial sand that came after the drilling. We heard from a neighbor that the Haydens had experienced difficulty with the well from time to time. Doesn't seem that they ever took any steps to try to fix the problem though. -- Bill

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