You Get What You Pay For

January 17, 2012

Winds blew hard from the north last week, bringing the cold down from Canada.

The winds blew so hard on Friday that I had to lean into the railing of the Woods Hole drawbridge as I took this photograph looking out towards Martha’s Vineyard.  By the weekend, the bitter Canadian winter had settled over our little village and I worried about pipes freezing on the construction site, not to mention my cheeks as I took my afternoon walks.

But that did not slow the pace of renovations at the Woods Hole Inn.  Oh no, we have our eye on the proverbial prize as reservations are rolling in for summer and beyond (book now if you want to be sure and get in summer 2012) .

The place is swarming on the inside with people.  One of the things you learn quickly as you renovate an old property is that the stuff required to make it “new” again is pretty high tech, read expensive.  I walk around the site and I see dollar signs:  ruby-red foam insulation, diamond-encrusted lighting and platinum sprinkler pipes.   Even the pipe fittings glitter in the sun like precious jewels.

One notable change is that in past winters when the wind howled (over 50 MPH this weekend I heard), the old Woods Hole Inn groaned and creaked, shuddering with the big blasts and swaying like a salsa dancer in the smaller gusts.

But up on the top floor on Friday,  I was struck by the stillness of new windows, and the hush of firm framing.   All those new connections — the spider web of wood and joinery which will be hidden by plaster  — makes the building sturdier.  As sad as I was to see the old lathe walls in dumpsters, this new development reminds me that a renovation of this magnitude will help the building survive another 130 years, well beyond my lifetime.

Ruby red insulation…

low-voltage, recessed lighting …

light fixtures going in

sprinkler pipe coated with platinum ….

and all the trimmings for sprinkler installation…

The parts that people can actually see look good too, all closed up from the winter winds with nothing needed but a coat of paint:

Which leaves me with this parting thought:  You get what you pay for.


  1. dabodog

    My new house rumbled down freeways from New Hampshire at speeds over 65 mph and floated over on barges to reach Martha’s Vineyard… and it cost HALF of what it would have cost for stick built on site. (modular four-box design) So while it IS true you get what you pay for, sometimes there are alternatives that can be unconventional and save time and money. That being said, congratulations on the noticeable improvements… I share your excitement.

    1. Thanks! I wish I could have figured out how to rumble the new house from New Hampshire — that sounds groovy.

  2. Rachel

    It’s a great project, Beth, and a great thing you are doing for WH. Thank you.

    1. Thanks so much Rachel! Come by and take a look at the interiors in a month or two! xo Beth

  3. Reply

    I’m pleased to see that the renovation is going well and that you’re filling up your bookings at such a great pace! Hang in there, you’ll be basking in the warmth of the summer sun before you know it! Woods hole will be packed with tourists, and the standby lines at the SSA will be miles long (not to mention the packed parking lots)…great for your business!

    On another note, a couple of months back, my wife, daughter and I stopped by the clothing store on the first floor of your building and picked up a couple of sweatshirts, sweat pants, and caps. Are you also the proprietor of that store?


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