Every once in awhile, I wish there was a home inspector around to
answer my questions. This happened recently, when I attended a function
at the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oakbrook, Ill. Mayslake Hall, the
Tudor Revival Style country house on the 38-acre estate, was built by
Francis Stuyvesant Peabody, whose company was, at one time, the
nation’s largest coal producer. Designed by the architectural firm of
Marshall & Fox, the 39-room Tudor Revival mansion cost $750,000,
took two years to build and was completed in 1921. Today the local
forest preserve district is restoring it.
Thus my wish for a
home inspector among my fellow attendees — who better to provide the
back story on what it takes to meld historic restoration with
There was a wealth of restoration
information, such as how many of the aluminum windows installed during
the 1970s have been replaced with leaded glass fabricated according to
original drawings of the 200 windows and doors around the Hall. And,
how the “stucco-duro” ceiling (applied, molded plaster) was stripped of
countless layers of paint, and new molds created for areas that were
damaged beyond repair.
But I was left wondering about the
challenges of heating and cooling this sprawling estate so that it
meets the expectations of today’s visitors. I would have enjoyed
hearing what an eagle-eyed home inspector would have said about the
exterior of the building — the brickwork, roof, drainage systems and
It’s been my experience that if you want to know about
the nuts and bolts of a building — new or old — ask a home inspector,
specifically an ASHI member. As a group, I find home inspectors to be
students of their craft, highly observant, detail-oriented and
excellent problem solvers.
Oh, and might you agree with me if I add opinionated to that list (in a good way, of course)?
hope that by offering a platform for ASHI members to share their
knowledge and their experiences, we facilitate all who remain students
of their craft throughout their careers, who then are prepared to
answer questions from people like me..
Although there wasn’t a
home inspector available at Mayslake Hall, this editor appreciates that
ASHI members have taught me there always are questions to be asked.