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.

August 3, 2003

After being MIA last weekend I got several E-mails asking if I had fallen off the ladder. (Come on...am I really that inept?) Actually, last weekend William and I were at Cub Scout Camp. We had a great time, but this weekend I was back at work on the screened porch.

I decided to go ahead and replace the spindly boards on either side of the door with posts constucted to match the others.

I assembled three sides of the posts on the ground, including the base. I then attached blocks to the top of the porch and slid my three-sided posts into place.

I had to jack up the porch roof slightly to do this. When I lowered it back down the posts were perfect and unmovable...unlike the previous boards that you could wobble with your hand, or accidentally kick out of position.

Before I closed the posts in William added an impromptu time capsule inside one of them. He'll probably re-discover it 70 years from now. Or maybe his grandchildren will.

I rehung the old screen door and scraped and re-used the old trim. The change probably won't be noticed by anybody but us, but we're pleased.

Before                                                                        After

I reinstalled the vertical and added another new, wide horizontal rail on the left of the door. I need some more lumber before I can finish things up on the right of the door.

By the way, a friend tells me that the center rail is called a "whiskey rail." Me, I prefer "Guinness Draught rail." -- Bill

August 4, 2003

Seems like there is no end to the scraping on the screened porch. Spent many hours today scraping and priming before the rain rolled in.

Our shutters should be arriving any day now. (Oh joy, something else to paint!) We won't be hanging them until we get further along with the painting. Plus, I need to take some time to study the windows for clues about the original hardware. There are plenty of telltale signs; just need to match them up with the right hardware. -- Bill

August 10, 2003

We had limited work time at Enon hall this weekend, but did manage to get more priming and painting done on the porch. Like the new ceiling color? -- Bill

August 14, 2003

Gay spent the last two days painting the porch. We should be ready for screen! -- Bill

August 17, 2003

No progress at Enon Hall to report for this weekend.

Yesterday we went to St. Mary's City, Maryland to pick up William from Camp Flintlock where he spent the last week with about 25 other boys aged 9 to 14. (His first time away from home for camp without either of us!) He lived in a tent, slept on a straw bed tick, chopped wood, cooked over the fire, learned to throw tomahawks, fire a flintlock rifle, learned drum calls and rudiments, etc. All while in Colonial garb. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in the 18th century, other than being homesick at night...and terribly dirty and stinky.

St. Mary's City is an interesting place to visit. They have uncovered the 17th century capital of Maryland there and are rebuilding the town on its original foundations...though we were dissapointed to see them using a crane and other modern implements to rebuild the church.

We spent last night there and then visited Stratford Hall on the way home today. It's a beautiful place and gave us some ideas to implement (on a much smaller scale) at Enon Hall.

Our shutters arrived last week, but I still haven't had time to research hardware. -- Bill

August 24, 2003

I am determined to get the screened porch finished before I turn 40. (Of course, that only gives me until this Friday.) I really don't understand why this project has taken so long...I guess it's all the little details that add up to a lot of hours. Like when we decided to replace the ceiling fan. At first the plan was just to run conduit along the ceiling for the wiring. The old fan's wiring was just stapled to the ceiling, run down the wall, and plugged into the outlet...so conduit is one step better, right? Then I decided I couldn't bare to spoil our nicely painted ceiling with conduit...so why not do it right and fish the wiring. Well, three hours later...or "three holes later"...it's still not done. The wire is successfuly up the wall and in the ceiling...now I just need to figure out how to snag it from a small hole in the center of the room where the fan will hang. I wisely stopped when my patience started wearing thin. I'll approach it again in the morning with a fresh brain.

I'll post another update and some photos tomorrow night. Meanwhile, if you read this tonight or early Monday morning and have some great wire-chasing advice, post it to the Forum please! -- Bill

August 25, 2003

Where would I be without William? I cut my hole in the ceiling this morning for the ceiling fan electrical box. Then I was trying to figure out what exactly to use to try to grab the wire that was sitting up there somewhere above the ceiling. I didn't know how far away it was from my hole. Was it in reach of a paint roller pole...or farther away? William suggested that I hold the digital camera up through the hole, take some photos, and then see if I could see the wire in them. Why didn't I think of that?

And yep, there it was. Not nearly as far to the center of the room as I had thought. I could see from this image that the wire had only made it to the second joist...or 32" from the wall. That meant it was about 7 feet from my hole. So I found a 7' long, skinny lumber scrap and duct taped a coat hanger hook onto its end. I fed it up into the ceiling and then began my fishing expedition.

(I guess this is one reason why it's good to not have 16-inch biceps.) Within ten minutes I had successfully pulled the wire to my hole and was able to get on with the business of hanging the fan.

Meanwhile, Gay was doing a great job hanging the new screen. (William's getting kind of artsy with the photos, don't ya think?)

The fan's up. The screen is almost all up. We're in the home stretch!

An interesting finding...in the top photo of this journal entry you can see that the clapboards on the end of the house are a blue-gray. I have seen traces of this color in a couple other places and never knew when the house was painted that color. (All the photos I have ever seen of Enon Hall show white clapboards.) This photo tells me that the house was this color when the porch was added...which was sometime between 1940 and 1945. The house must have only been this color for a very, very short time. (Maybe they even hated the color and repainted immediately!) Another mystery partially solved. -- Bill

August 26, 2003

So whaddya do when you get really, really tired of cutting the grass in the field? Try making a few paths through the growth and call it your "maze field." Fun for the whole family!

Works for me! -- Bill

August 28, 2003

Poison ivy. Bad. -- Bill

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