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Nestled in the highlands of southwest Virginia is a farm. No surprise, there are many farms in this beautiful part of the state. This farm, however, also is home to a variety of vineyards, from which are produced award winning wines. This is the Nicewonder Farm and Vineyards. The picturesque farm, over four hundred acres in size, has been in the family for generations. The current owner had the vision to provide a place for folks to come and experience this wonderful haven. It would be a place to relax and refresh in ‘country’ luxury. Thus, the idea for The Inn at Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards.

Early in May of 2019, we received an Invitation To Bid. This was a design/build project, as the architect also worked for the designated general contractor. The Division 14 specifications had a number of items that were ‘interesting’. We collaborated very closely with the architect and the GC over the next few months to revise the specifications for the two elevators in this project. We were able to get inground jacks – a solid fit for this application. The common machine room was remote by about 40ft for one of the elevators. We coordinated with the general contractor and ran the PVC encased hydraulic piping and conduit beneath the slab. Both elevators are through-cabs.

One of the more intriguing things that we accomplished was regarding the metal finishes. The original specification called for #8 polished stainless steel. This would be for the hoistway entrances, hall fixture plates, car doors, COPs, cab filler panels, transoms, car strike and pass jambs, bases, suspended ceiling frame, & handrails. In other words, a lot of #8 polished stainless steel! While initially this mirror-looking finish is quite stunning, as anyone who has been in the trade long enough knows, #8 polished stainless steel is highly susceptible to being scratched and dulled (with wrong cleaners). Further, it is considerably more expensive than standard #4 brushed stainless steel. I double-checked with the GC that this is indeed what the wanted. They confirmed.

Somewhere in the review stage, there was a change in the motif. Instead of shiny and glitzy, the move was to farmhouse elegance. Now, instead of the flashy polished stainless steel, in its place would be an elegant black in a modest sheen. It took quite an effort, but we, UES found a way to fulfill the vision of the owner.

We sourced a local powder coating company. To get all the finishes to match, we had the manufacturer, Vertical Express, send all referenced components as #4 brushed stainless steel. (Prior to committing to VE sending everything in #4 S/S, we had a #4 stainless steel sample painted, and approved by the GC). The elevators delivered to job site. We then opened the crates removing all the stainless components. Yes, we completely stripped the COPs and hall plates of their pushbuttons, devices, and wiring here at our shop. All the stainless parts were then delivered to the powder coater. Once painted, all the materials were retrieved, COPS and hall fixtures reassembled.

The finished elevators are truly artful and elegant. Complimenting the black metal, are custom cab panels. Using the factory hang-on cab panels as ‘templates’ a finish carpenter built and installed white shiplap looking wood panels for the non-egress cab walls. Elegance on the Farm – objective met!

Given the start to finish timeline of this project, nearly all our construction techs and many of our service techs had a hand in this project. Way to go Tri-Cities Team!