Enon Hall

November 2, 2005

Most of my day was spent sneezing, coughing, blowing...the first cold of the season. Ugh.

I bit the bullet and loaded up the van with all of our window sashes and restoration glass and hauled it off to a glass shop to have the glazing done. The price wasn't bad considering how long it would have taken me. Now, by the time I have the window frames all built, the sashes should be done too.

The framers packed up and moved on to their next job today. Was kind of sad to see them go since they've been here just about every day since August. They're still on call for a couple items, like cutting the hole in the roof for the chimney when the mason gets up there.

Now that their work is done, I can say that I would highly recommend the company that did our framing: Eagle Construction from Saluda, VA. It's really been a pleasure working with them. They have done what they said they would do (and done it well) and billed exactly what they said they would bill. They were here every day like clockwork. Not once did I wonder where they were and when I would ever see them again. And everybody on the crew was good to work with. The only mishap was the mistaken removal of the plaster in the law office last week. I'd say we got off pretty well. Big thumbs up!

So they have left us with a big ole canvas upon which we can apply a finish. We're ready to get going, but it's nice knowing that they're standing by should we run into trouble.

Now, where the heck is our plumber? -- Bill

November 6, 2005

Last weekend I stated that I was ready to move into full production of the new window frames. That turned out to be a bit of an overstatement. Instead, I wound up spending several more days this week refining the casing details. Finally, I have a perfect match for the old windows.

I am really proud of this work since I have never built anything like this before. (Mainly because I've never had the right tools before.) The thick beaded piece of trim is the first moulding that I have made on my new W&H moulder! That piece also has a rabbet all the way around the outside so that it overlaps the sheathing properly, but still gives me the thickness that I need inside the window frame to match the old ones.

At this point I have two assembled frames. One (the first try) that will look fine in a second story window, with the help of some caulk, and one where everything fits perfectly. Using the second frame as a model, I have all of the parts for the rest of the windows in the new construction. (I will still have four windows to build for William's bedroom.) William doesn't have school tomorrow so we're planning to have an assembly day. Gay will prime them as they're done.

Gay pulled down the warped and broken tongue and groove boards in the back porch ceiling.

It'll be a while before we put the new T&G ceiling up, but I wanted to go ahead and get the old material down while we still have the dumpster here.

The new chimney should be going through the roof tomorrow!

The mason almost reached the ridge on Friday and the carpenters came back to cut the hole.

This view from the other side shows the two flues. The larger flue is for the family room fireplace and the smaller one is for the smaller fireplace in the master bedroom. The sizing and spacing of the flues will make this new chimney very close in size to the old chimney that it is supposed to balance.

With a slight chance of rain tonight I went up to put a tarp over the hole in the roof and got completely sidetracked by the view from the roof.

I spent almost an hour up there soaking it in. Man, now I want to add a cupula over the garage! Just big enough for two people to poke their heads above the roof and get a 360 degree view.

The photo above is a composite of five photos to make a panorama. Click on it to view it much larger. (You'll need to scroll to see the whole image.) --Bill

November 11, 2005

The mason finished! The new chimney is done, as is the front step with limestone tread.

Mechanicals are moving along. The plumber worked two days this week and made a lot of progress. Everything is drilled and all of the stacks are in place. Next week he'll work on supply lines. The electrician only showed up one day this week.

We decided to have the plumber run a drain line and water lines up under the floor of the room above the garage in case we someday decide to add a bathroom up there. That room is so big that it could be an apartment. Adding these capped-off lines is only costing us a few hundred dollars to do right now, but will save us big bucks if we do decide to go that route in the future.

Our roofers have been finishing up this job nearby and will be here on Monday. They got slowed down by heavy winds yesterday. Makes installing a metal roof tough! I love this little building. Might hook a chain to it one night and drag it to Enon Hall...

Meanwhile, I installed all of the window jambs in the new construction and trimmed out some of them. They're all ready to receive the sashes when the glass guy is done with them. Once I have the sashes, I can start on the four windows in William's room.

I picked up the sills for the center hall doors today. I had them made from white oak. The French doors for the upstairs screen porch arrived yesterday. We are waiting on two more doors. Once they're here the framers will come back to install them and drop in the door sills. The rim joist needs to be notched so that the sill will drop down into the floor...the old fashioned way.

Gay's been busy back-priming trimboards.

We're making a trip to Williamsburg this weekend to look at some trim details and take some measurements. -- Bill

November 14, 2005

The roofers got started today. It's like a bright, shiny new penny! But I remember from last time that it only takes one rain to turn the copper brown.

I only got a couple more windows cased today because I didn't want to work directly below the roofers.

If it looks like I'm being a bit unsafe here, there's a 2X4 nailed across the window on the inside with a rope tied to it. The other end of the rope goes around me in a nice bowline. (My years as a Cub Scout den leader paid off!) This simple rig allows me to stand on the window sill to work and I can lean back with both hands free to hold the casing and nail it into place. It's a whole lot more secure than it might look...

My siding order is running behind schedule. I hope that it will be ready by the first of next week.

Meanwhile, I started some prep work for William's new bathroom and will be back on that job tomorrow.

Oh, we've decided (once again) to leave the dummy chimney on the right of the Dutch Colonial. We don't have any doubt that it will have to come down at some point for structural reasons, but we made this most recent final decision based on the following. We stood, centered in front of the new front door and concluded that the chimney should go. Then we centered ourselves in front of the Dutch Colonial front door and decided that we would definitely miss it as it relates to that structure. And the Dutch Colonial should always win any toss-up. So it's received a stay of execution and we've saved a little money. It's all good. -- Bill

November 15, 2005

The roofers were back on the job today with about ten workers. And this time they brought their mobile pan-making machine.

Sheet copper from the roll on the left is fed through a series of rollers in the machine and emerges from the other end perfectly folded and ready to head to the roof. It makes it look way too easy.

I cut out the rest of the floorboards where William's new bathroom will go so that it's ready for the plumber to do the rough in. Also, the electrician will be replacing old wiring that we expose as we go.

The law office floor has been covered with dirt as long as we've owned the house, and obviously for decades prior to that too. Today I took a wet towel and wiped down a small area to see what we really have under all that grime.

Pretty nice! And this photo was taken several hours later after the water had dried. I think we'll just need to clean and oil the floor and it'll be perfect. I certainly don't want to refinish it and remove all the old character. -- Bill

November 16, 2005

After just three days on the job, our roof is 95% done! Just a few little odds and ends to finish up! This company has a large crew and they really swarm on the job and knock it out. It looks fantastic, but I'm actually looking forward to the new copper turning brown so that it all starts to blend together.

I'm also having these guys make me copper drip caps for all of the windows.

You might recall that we plan to paint the new kitchen floor. I ordered the flooring for that room today and should have it on Friday. I decided to go ahead and install this (once it acclimates) while I'm waiting on the siding so that it can get some wear and tear (character) in the coming months before we paint it. This flooring will be four and six inch widths and will be face nailed with Tremont Nails. The floor in the adjoining family room will be antique heart pine from Carlisle in five to eight inch widths. The flooring that we're using in the kitchen is just standard 3/4" pine and is about 20% of the cost of the old heart pine. -- Bill

November 18, 2005

$!@&*!%!! !&$@?!!

Winter finally arrived last night and the weatherman says it's here to stay. So I went to crank up the oil boiler. We have a full 1,000-gallon tank of oil from last season that I haven't wanted to start dipping into until we absolutely needed to, since it's like black gold this year.

Every year since we installed the new Utica boiler in 2000 it has taken a service call to get the thing running in the fall. Which I haven't minded so much, since they needed to come clean it out and do routine maintenace anyway. But it has seemed like it's been overly problematic since the start. We've had to replace switches, pressure release valves, etc.

Today the service tech quickly pronounced our 4-year-11-month-old boiler to be "shot." The interior is cracked and it's filled with water. Dead. After just five years?? Give me a break! I don't know what kind of warranty the thing had...the tech left with our manual to go back to talk to the company's owner. I'm waiting for a call from him now.

So, now winter temperatures are here and we have no heat other than the space heaters that we've been using. (Oh, and the oven in the kitchen.) The plan had been to use the boiler, and hopefully just the oil that we have in the tank, to tide us over until the new heat pump is installed...which hasn't even been scheduled yet. Now, I need to get that rolling...fast. And get our electrician accelerated so we can get our electrical inspection. Gay's cold. Gay's not happy. Ugh. -- Bill

November 22, 2005

I'm behind on updates to the journal, so here's what's been going on.

The cast iron core of the boiler has a lifetime warranty but we would have to pay the labor for replacing it, so we opted not to. Instead we made a trip to Hell (uh, sorry...that's what I call Wal-Mart) and stocked up on thermal underwear.

The HVAC rep came by yesterday morning and we're awaiting word on when they can get started with the installation. Meanwhile, the electrician has shifted his focus to getting the new service wired, inspected, and up and running to feed the heat pumps.

Gay's been working on priming window trim. Even climbing out the window onto the porch roof to work on this one. She's not keen on heights.

I've been working on framing William's new bathroom and closet.

This room is a real challenge with its sloping floor, out-of-square walls, and creative chimney. It requires lots of head-scratching for me, which makes for slow going. I'm also having to do some extra framing in order to work around some cool elements that we want to preserve inside the wall, like the original gambrel siding. All of the boxes and angles should make this a very interesting little room. I won't put up the main partition wall for the bathroom until the plumber and electrician have done their thing and the shower insert is in place. My original plan was to level the floor in the bathroom by sistering all of the joists. But then I figured out that leveling the floor would mean that there would be a 2 inch step up from William's bedroom to his bathroom. So, I decided to just let the floor do its thing, only leveling under the shower. We'll have to get him a wall-mount sink, instead of one with a pedestal so that it doesn't look like the Leaning Sink of Pisa. The area where the toilet will sit is pretty level.

Our siding is still MIA. As are our window sashes. I meant to call the glass shop today to pester them, but forgot about it. We've had two days of driving rain. Sure would be nice to close up those windows!

William's been leaving messages here and there in the walls for future generations to find. I particularly like this one.

He's also read that people used to put shoes in the walls of a new house for good luck. So, he's planning on donating an old pair of his Converse for that purpose. Maybe the smell will also help to repel mice. -- Bill

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© 1999- William H. Chapman