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December 2017 Restoration Update

Dec 5, 2017 | Historic Preservation, News & Announcements

Roof. Restoration of the roof on the central portion of the house is complete. The standing seam metal roof was scraped, repaired where necessary, then primed and painted. The soffit molding along the eaves on both sides of the house was badly rotted in a number of places and had to be completely replaced. When the old soffit molding was removed, several squirrel nests of undetermined age were uncovered. The new molding was milled at Hicksville Lumber Company to match the profile of the original. Carpenter Dave Kardok from Harpers Ferry did a masterful job of installing the new soffit molding. He created a series of small vents under the edge of the roof, screened to keep out insects, to allow better air circulation in the attic. With the new molding in place and painted, new gutters and downspouts were installed. The new gutters and downspouts are larger in diameter than the ones replaced and do a better job of handling rainfall and melting snow. Completing this work is a major step in preserving and protecting Happy Retreat for the future. 

We are now turning our attention to the roofs on the two wings. These present special challenges due to renovations made to the house over the years. In the 1920s, a bathroom was added to the second floor of the hyphen between the house and the west wing which we plan to remove. 

However, the diverted water flow is greater than the gutters can handle, resulting in overflows which at times have run into the basement. We are working with architect Kevin Lee Sarring to develop plans to address both of these and other issues. We are grateful to the donors to our successful “Raise the Roof” campaign who made this important restoration work possible. 

Smokehouse/Stone Kitchen. In September, Matt Webster, Director of Architectural Renovation at Colonial Williamsburg, architectural historian John Allen and architect Kevin Lee Sarring spent an afternoon inspecting the smokehouse/stone kitchen and detailing plans for restoring both buildings. A final restoration plan will be completed soon and we hope to move forward with restoration work in the spring.

Heating & Air Conditioning. Our “Turn Up the Heat at Happy Retreat” fundraising effort is underway to raise $200,000 for a geothermal HVAC system which we hope to install in 2018.

From the December 2017 Rising Sun Newsletter