Behold: the Frame-Up!

We usually love snow, but this year Edge Hill has been hit by every dry slot the meteorologists’ forecasts, leaving us with a very dry and mostly mild winter.  Bad for sledding, GREAT for house building.  Thanks, Mother Nature!

Our last post left you with a view of the below-grade poured walls, with the north wing of the house begging to rise up and show its new form.  Ta-Da!


What we’re calling the “Pavilion” (in other words, the addition – in blue, above) and the rehabilitated (and somewhat expanded) Summer Kitchen (center building to the left of the Pavilion, above) are all framed up and connected!  First, they started on the floor structure which ties into the Big House for one unified first floor level .


Then, up went the walls.  The framers actually framed, sheathed, and insulated these sections on the ground and then raised the whole unit as one:


It’s like a very complicated barn raising!  Taking advantage of some new insulating techniques, our house has a rigid foam insulation on the exterior, house wrap, and then the spray-foam insulation will be applied after all of the trades complete rough-in.  Placing a layer of insulation on the exterior of the vapor barrier will hopefully help prevent any mold-inducing condensation from occurring inside the wood framing of our walls.  For maximum coverage, the entire interior will also get a course of spay foam insulation.  We should be nice and sealed up (or, as sealed up as a new-old house can be).

Finally, the walls are up, and you can see the small second story addition (our new closet) taking shape:


The roof for the Pavilion was framed on the ground and then a crane placed it and the other roofing trusses in place:




Next came the curved entry called an “exedra”. Think of this like one half of a clam shell above the door.  We straight up stole this from good ol’ Thomas Jefferson and we feel no shame.  For more about Pavilion IX, the T.J. structure that inspired our Pavilion, look here.   The framers told me that they had previously done an arched entry, a curved wall, and a dome, respectively, but they had never done all three at once!


They nailed it!  Here is a view from the inside:


This magnificent room will be the hub of our family life: the kitchen.  A staircase will descend from to the right corner of the above picture (currently boxed off for safety) down into the basement.

Work has also been ongoing in the original portion of the Big House where we are remodeling one the ten original rooms (the only one that had already been remodeled before).  Originally, this upstairs room contained a back staircase and a smaller bedroom, but in 1952 the stairs were removed and a bathroom was installed on the second floor (no more chamber pots or late night outhouse excursions! Luxury!).

We are taking that room and dividing it into two bathrooms, one en suite to the master bedroom and one hall bath/laundry combo for the twins.  We are so very happy we will be keeping the other nine rooms of the Big House virtually identical to their original form, but we had to have some upstairs bathrooms, y’all (and do you REMEMBER what that existing bathroom looked like?  Frat-tastic).

During our demo, we found this amazing architectural ghost of the old back stairs, and you can just see how those risers clipped the frame of the door below (see the diagonal line in the top right trim?), and how good of a job they did in matching that trim when the stairs were removed.


And here is a shot of the staircase peeking down from the second story; those stairs were quite narrow!  Suck it in!


Last, I will leave you with what may be our favorite find to date.  I was removing some old sheets of particle board “flooring” in the attic in preparation for the vacuum removal of the dirty old cellulose insulation, when I stumbled upon this scrap of paper.  It was dark.  I picked it up and put it in my pocket.  The next day I remembered it, retrieved it, and was amazed.

The stamps read “Confederate States”, and this envelope is addressed to Capt. James Beale, 14th Regiment Va [illegible], Jenkins Brigade [illegible].


You. Guys.  James Madison Hite Beale is thought to have BUILT Edge Hill circa 1840!  This is concrete proof tying him to the house!  We have no idea how it survived, but it is a great find and we are excited to add it to our treasure trove of house history (we also have an original signature from JMH Beale, but admittedly we bought that on eBay).  We keep saying we are at the end of our treasure-finding days, but who knows what will turn up next!

Until our next post, I’ll leave you with our new favorite view on the farm, which is shot from the window in our future mudroom (just imagine that pile of dirt is some fresh sod, that’s what we do!):



2 responses

  1. What a unforgettable gift you are sharing as you renovate this old Shenandoah County plantation house. Allowing the viewer in the room where it happens, your clear, knowledgeable description and photographs educate and stimulate unwavering interest in this project. My gratitude is endless.

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