Monday, December 12, 2011

My {almost} completed mantle

Studly and I worked our kiesters off this past weekend trying to get the mantle finished.

Tomorrow, I will hopefully be applying the final coat of paint, and then the real fun can begin...getting the gal all spruced up for the holidays.

I realize that I only have a few weeks left before the season's over, but I'm just so darned excited to have an actual fireplace mantle that I really don't care.

Today I am just posting "the evolution of a mantle" pics, but I may try to post a mini tute later.

Please try to ignore all of the crap lying everywhere.

Here's what the fireplace looked like when we bought the house. {this pic gives me the heavies}.

Here's what the fireplace looked like after Stud's and I removed it, then centered and lowered it and added a little marble accent. Already, a big improvement, no?

That's lil red's {aka. sassafrass} forehead. Can you tell she had been neglected? Her crazy mop was in dire need of motherly attention, but mama was to busy getting her Bob Villa on.

There's Studly's leg...taken a little football break.

And here's the final product...almost.

Not to toot my own horn...okay, maybe just a little, but I made this mantle box with my bare, dainty little hands. It's actually square, can you believe it?

And see the little trim just under the mantle...yup that was all me too. I totally owned the miter saw.

Just another little look at some of my handy work...okay, not too close.

I am so glad to have this project done...mostly because I just love looking at it. I actually enjoyed the process of fabricating and builiding the mantle... although Studly may beg to differ.

Rembember my inspiration pic:

My mantle could totally be this mantle's sister, right?

Okay, so stay tuned. There's still more mantle fun, plus a few other fun projects in the pipeline.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fireplace Remodel

A few weeks back, just before Thanksgiving, Studly and I started on a new project. It has been very slow going due to the holidays and other unexpected events. But, this past week we were finally able to buckle down and make some progress.

I was able to convince Studly that our house just wasn't a home without a proper mantle above the fireplace {I firmly believe that every home should have a's is a women's right to have a mantle for decorting at her will and with the changing season's}. I have waited three years to have a mantle and finally decided to plead my case. And, it appears that Studly bought it {telling him he could get new speakers for the surround sound may have helped seal the deal, but whatevs}.

One would think that adding a mantle to an existing fireplace would be no biggie, right? But one thing I've learned since moving into our money pit is that no job is ever as easy as it seems.

Allow me to show you the before pic of the fireplace...get your barf bag ready.

This is a picture from when we moved in three years ago. Allow me to point out that the fireplace insert is not even centered on the wall. You might also take note of the awesome, lone halogen light above.

The first job was to center the fireplace on the wall {we want to be able to add built in shelves, or even premade shelves on either side eventually. It just wouldn't look right if the walls on either side were different sizes}.

We also soon realized that if we wanted to add a wood surround and mantle to the fireplace, we were going to have to drop the insert down as well...otherwise I'd have to whip out a ladder every time I wanted to change the decorations...or dust it for that matter.

So, that's we did.

We started by removing the drywall.

Then we removed the fireplace insert {this included disconnecting the gas and electrical lines, and detatching it from the exhaust pipes. Admittedly, this was the biggest hassle of the least so far}.

Once the insert was removed we cut out all of the framing that once held the fireplace and built new supports and framing that were centered and lower on the wall. Then we replaced the insert.

Then we replace the drywall and added some tile around the insert.

We chose a neutral, natural stone. I know it's not very innovative, but I am always thinking resale when I do renovations. What I've learned is that the masses prefer something that is good quality {which is why we chose a natural marble tile rather than porcelain or brick} and something that is not too trendy {mosaic tile, colored tile etc.}

The plan is to finish the grouting tonight, so that we can {fingers crossed} begin constructing the wood surround and mantle this weekend. I just might get to hang Christmas socks by the fireplace after all this year. Merry Christmas to me.

Thus far, we have spent just under $200 for all of the materials and tools needed for the project {half of that was just for the tile, which we bought extra off, so it'll probably end up being closer to $175}.

Hopefully, this weekend I'll have pics of the completed project ready to share. Just in case you are curious, here is the inspiration pic for the mantle and surround we are going to make {from scratch...wish us luck}.

Oh, and one more thing, I have procured a butt load of wood pallets for my next big project, but I probably won't start on it until this project is done. I fear that if I did, Studly might say he's running out to Home Depot for supplies and never come home. Stay tuned. It's gonna be flippin' awesome.