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.

October 6, 2002

What a mess the grouting was! I grouted a bath ceiling about ten years ago and remember it being pretty painless, but this sure wasn't. The float just wasn't working for me so I quickly defaulted to spreading the grout with my bare hands. This actually worked very well and allowed me to easily get into the corners. Meanwhile, I didn't realize that the sand in the grout was tearing up my fingers. By the time I finished I was covered head to toe with grout and my fingers were raw. (Even typing this is painful!) William enjoyed rinsing me off with the hose while I stood in the backyard in my underwear. Somehow, I don't think this is how the professionals do it. Regardless of the painful process, the end result looks great. I mounted the showerhead and shower controls and just need to get a longer threaded pipe for the faucet. The exhaust fan is installed, but I haven't wired it yet.

Several weeks ago, Gay picked up a vinyl remnant to use in this bath. The room is so tiny that we had talked about just stapling it around the edges and then putting shoe moulding down. There are unfinished wood floors in the bathroom, but they are in pretty bad shape and we were concerned about water seeping between the boards and causing damage downstairs. Today I spent about ten minutes on the floor with a belt sander (before I ran over a nail and tore up my last sandpaper belt) and was pleasantly surprised with how quickly and easily the wood floor cleaned up.

With a little more work, it'll be very nice. So I've convinced Gay that we should not cover up the wood floor, even though she's still a little concerned about water. I'll need to seal the wood and I'm also wondering if there is anything I can do to the grooves between the boards that would minimize seepage should any water get on the floor. Hmmm...just had an idea. I like the unfinished look...I wonder if I could just put Thompson's on the floor? Never heard of it being used on an interior floor. (If anybody has ideas, please e-mail me!) Meanwhile, I still need to finish some patching work, scrape the ceiling, paint, reinstall the toilet, etc. Gay's promised to work her magic on the nasty radiator.

William and I visited a cool little antique store in our area and found this wonderful painting. It reminded me so much of William that I had to have it for Enon Hall. -- Bill

October 13, 2002

Gay and I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary this weekend. (We've spent 25% of those years working on Enon Hall together!)

I applied another layer of joint compound to rough areas of the bathroom walls and Gay scraped and primed the radiator and painted the cabinets.

I got lots of great suggestions for sealing the bathroom floor. I think I'm going to go with a product called Velvit Oil.

We'd really like to celebrate Thanksgiving at Enon Hall this year, so we've been eyeing the dining room to see what it would take to get it presentable. We definitely need to paint. I started the process today by scraping out cracks for repair. I started over the mantle with a large bulging crack that just got larger and larger as I pulled out weak plaster. When I was done I had removed all of the plaster (and some large sections of drywall patches) from above the mantle, exposing the brick chimney. Gay and I are in negotiations about how to proceed. I like the idea of leaving the brick exposed, maybe painting it...and Gay would be more in favor of wood paneling. Either would do a lot to warm up this room. (But I don't think the latter would be ready by Thanksgiving!)

Forgot the camera this weekend, so no pictures to share. -- Bill

October 20, 2002

We didn't do any work this weekend. Instead we hosted Williams's Cub Scout den for a day of digging, archery, ghost stories in the graveyard, etc. Was a lot of fun.

The boys dug around a 19th century foundation and uncovered lots of cut nails, a clay marble, an 18th century pipe stem, and a cool old "Sphinx" padlock among other things.

The perfect setting for some pre-Halloween ghost stories.

And I helped the boys with their archery.

Meanwhile, here's a photo of the dining room fireplace as discussed last week. I brought in a couple old doors just to try to get a feel for what it would be like to put panels above the mantel. I think that's the direction we'll be headed. (Definitely won't be ready in time for Thanksgiving!)

Gay is having trouble getting somebody to come measure for a custom door for the bathtub. She's had two "no-show's" now. We did take our first showers this weekend...with a shower curtain duct taped to the walls. -- Bill

October 27, 2002

Three years working on Enon Hall and she's still smiling!

Today Gay painted the upstairs bathroom. But we're not real happy with the color. Not a big deal to repaint since the room's hardly bigger than a shoebox.

Meanwhile I patched more plaster in the dining room. Still hoping to get this room ready in time for Thanksgiving. Got to use one of my favorite tools...plaster washers...to reattach some loose plaster to the lathe.

But I was distracted by a foul smell in the kitchen emitting from a cabinet that houses a radiator. It wasn't hard to guess that it was a dead mouse, and the heat from the radiator wasn't helping at all.

I pried up the bottom shelf and found just what I was expecting...the dead mouse, plus about 20 years worth of nesting material. What a mess.

Once I got this cabinet base cleaned out (the bottom shelf is not going back in) I proceeded to remove all of the kickplates under the kitchen cabinets and found similar messes. I spent the next two hours cleaning it all out and scrubbing the floor under the cabinets as best I could. I'm going to leave all the kickplates off so that we can vacuum under the cabinets from now on...except for one kickplate that was cleverly installed using magnets. Great idea...and wouldn't you know, that was the only cabinet that didn't have a mouse nest under it. Maybe I'll actually get ahead of the mousies this winter. -- Bill

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