Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Elephant in the Room

I have a secret to share. There's something I've been hiding from you. I edit it out of all of my photos.  I always try to look the other way. I tried to pretend that it didn't exist, but it did (but now it doesn't!). It's our fireplace.

I thought it was gosh darn awful from the moment we set foot in the house for the first time. Now, it's finally time to face the elephant in the room.
The fireplace and living room many months ago.
My apologies. I know. It's hard to look at.
Our house was equipped with a pellet stove when we purchased it. Pellet stoves are reasonably popular here due to their efficiency and the low cost of pellets. Eventually we located the original receipt for this thing. No surprise by the looks of it, it was purchased in the early 90's. It's huge, far bigger than current models on the market. And because of its age, it also had a somewhat loud and distracting fan to help circulate the warm air. Kind of kills the whole, warm and cozy vibe. And I kid you not, it also required a small blow torch to get it lite. So yeah, there was a whole lot that wasn't right about that beast.
The home on our final walk through before we got the keys.
And the brass. Oh, for the love of brass.

As for all of the stone work, based on marks on the ceiling above and wall behind, we guess that the house was originally equipped with a wood burning stove, and this large shelf of a stone ledge was probably utilized for stacking and storing wood. The stone shelf takes up so much space. We've been using it for toy storage, which only added to it's astounding beauty. With our house on the modest side of the size spectrum, it killed me that valuable living room seating area was being taken up by purposeless stone. 
The fireplace as seen in the home listing last year.

Then, there's that damn wood shelf above it. While I like the stain of the wood, I dislike it for being out of proportion for the wall. If I cared to invest time and energy in this area as it was, I would have purchased many large frames and layered them to help fill the void of height above it. But, I just didn't want to spend money on a bandage for this area. It wouldn't really take away from the bad stone and stove, now would it?
Recent Reveal by 6th Street Design School
A friend of ours gave us an idea to just remove the whole thing. Why try to make something work that wasn't working? I needed this headache gone. So gone, it went.
First Jon removed the extended shelf portion. 
We immediately liked gaining useful square footage under that window
(and those are our newly white walls my friends!).
Then, he disconnected the pellet stove, 
and got to work on the remaining section
(that's the little blow torch that I mentioned).
We salvaged all the stone to reuse in our garden,
and we're craigslisting the pellet stove so that hopefully it can be recycled
in a home that needs it.
The whole demo took about four hours.
Our kids are becoming champion nappers.
They slept through much of the sledge hammering.
The removal left us with patches of pink paint 
(I'd like to meet the man that lets his wife paint a living room pink)
damaged drywall, dust and cobwebs.
After we complete the floors, we have lots of detailed finishing 
work to take care of, patching these walls is being added to that list.
Because our garage is currently set up like a paint shop, 
and I don't have to worry about drips on the outgoing carpet
I gave it a really quick fifteen minute roll over of white paint.
It's feeling better already.
Our plans for this space? We have some ideas, and plan to install a new fireplace down the line. It's not a priority in our budget at the moment, so that won't happen for a little while.

At church this week, the sermon was in regards to expressing gratitude, praise, and giving compliments to the strengths of individuals. I certainly praise Jon for the blood, sweat, and probably in the upcoming week, tears that he's putting into all of these projects. He would rather be on the mountain snowboarding or working on his dirt bikes, but instead all of his free moments are directed towards knocking out all of these projects. I have so much faith in his ability to install the hardwoods flawlessly.

I might try for a hat trick this week, and share another area that we demolished this weekend. But don't hold your breath.

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