The moment you’ve been waiting for — I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:
Within the next ten weeks, we should have the mansion ready and (hopefully) the Summer Kitchen as well. Unfortunately, the Paymaster’s Office will take a little longer. Notice I didn’t say “finished,” just “ready.” The stuff that is absolutely required in order for us to get our occupancy permit and open the B&B is highlighted in bold.
[My comments in brackets. -Gregg]
[* In the workshop, the first floor is below ground level, and there was a water line on the walls about a foot above the floor. However, after six months we did not notice any water seeping in, so Brian went ahead and started painting. No sooner had he finished then the rain started, and it didn’t stop for a week. When it was done, the first floor was flooded — right to the old water line — and all of the new paint peeled right off. Thank goodness we hadn’t installed the air conditioning units yet, as I don’t think the warranty covers standing in two feet of water…]
On October 15, I published Dawn’s new to-do list. Let’s see what she’s accomplished in the last five months:
In addition, Brian took out the stairs to the workshop, which apparently were not built correctly and ready to collapse. But that also means we have to replace them.
That’s quite a bit of work for five months, but there’s still so much left. Now that the plaster is finished, paint is Dawn’s next priority — and with so much trim and ornamentation, that’s a huge job by itself. Olde York Homes will be looking to finish the cottages, and also build the kitchen island. Village Glass has more than enough windows and storms to stay busy for four months, Henry Hollenbech still has the summer kitchen to repoint, and Brian, poor Brian, gets everything nobody else wants.
Picture this: It’s September 6, the last day of my “vacation”, and I’ve spent the last five hours talking to the plumber, the contractor, and the septic guy, when the channel 11 news van pulls up, ready to do an interview.
Of course I knew they were coming — Dawn specifically scheduled them for my visit so she didn’t have to appear on camera — but that didn’t mean I was ready. Like so many other things on this project, if I knew what was coming, I wouldn’t have done it. Or at least I would have scheduled it early in the morning, so I wasn’t exhausted from talking all day.
Dawn was still dealing with the septic guy so she was in the cornfield during the entire interview, which was probably a good thing because she would have been kicking me throughout. Instead, she had to wait until it was on TV before she kicked me.
The original clip was ninety seconds long, but I’ve abridged it to 45 seconds — partly for bandwidth, but mostly to remove embarrassing clips of me saying the stupidest things. (Such as, “The biggest challenge is the cost, that’s what keeps me up at night.” Way to market the B&B, Gregg!) Rebecca Baer is the anchorwoman and she also did the interview.
Afterwards, I picked up a copy of “Guerrilla Publicity” which devoted an entire chapter devoted to common mistakes people make on camera. I’m pretty sure I hit every one.
Two technical corrections: Rebecca states the mansion was unoccupied for a year (it was 20 years) and that we gutted the entire mansion plus two other buildings (we worked very hard to preserve as much as possible in the mansion and Paymaster’s Office; we did gut the Summer Kitchen because there wasn’t anything worth saving.) Also, the “1902” seen at the end of clip was where the paper hanger had signed the wall; it is crossed out because the next paper hanger (in 1947) was a jerk.
Just in case we were getting excited about all the progress made so far…
While I harbor no illusions that anyone is interested in our fixtures list, we’ve spent so much time on it that it would be a shame not to include it. Dawn asked me not to include prices, but I can say it will be about $30,000 total, not including the kitchen. Ouch.
Addendum: After posting this, our plumber contacted Sanijet to get pricing, and they said they not only knew about Speedwell Forge, but had even gotten referrals from this journal! I’m not sure how that is possible, but in any case it didn’t translate to any discount for us, so I’m not going to worry about it.
I will mention (for free) that we’re using Sanijet because they don’t have any pipes, so when you empty and clean the bath, it’s really empty and really clean. If you want to see something disgusting, order their promotional video, which shows what’s in the pipes of a conventional whirlpool tub. Let’s just say I’ll never be using one of those again…
Unfortunately, they don’t make a clawfoot model, which we really wanted for Kathryn’s bath, so we’re getting an “air tub” instead. That also doesn’t have pipes, but it does have a loud air blower, which we’re going to put upstairs in the attic area. During my last visit we taped off Kathryn’s bath, and with a 6′ x 3.5′ clawfoot whirlpool tub, it’s going to be nice.
On our last day in PA, our friends at Forgotten Seasons B&B invited us over for breakfast so we could see what that was like. (We would have gladly made breakfast and cleaned the rooms just to see what that was like, too, but don’t tell them that.)
It was a very productive week. We moved all of the junk into a storage unit (although I’m not happy about paying to keep junk in storage) and I cleaned out the paymaster’s office a little. (I stress “I” because Dawn managed to get poison ivy, and so was out of commission the last day.