Monday, April 4, 2011

The fireplace that isn't

I know it's hard to believe but we're revving it up before our move. We're now fighting on two fronts: at our apartment we're up to our ears in packing chaos, boxes stacked to the ceilings and furniture half broken down, and at the Duckling all kinds of projects are hurriedly being brought to more or less completion. No worries - there's still plenty of work left and I'll keep on posting but at the end of this week we will finally move in! That's right! We will finally fill the Ugly Duckling with life! Since the upstairs bedrooms are pretty much done we decided to tackle the living quarters downstairs as much as possible. Our contractor team has a few spots of drywall to finish still so we kept to the walls that were a go. Another thing we attacked was the fireplace that isn't.
[Before: A load of red brick]
Our livingroom is dominated by what was once a sturdy, possibly craftman-style brick fireplace. Today it's just a massive, red brick wall because a previous owner had the great idea to weatherstrip with (more) brick. It's good we don't know what kind of mantle we're missing or we'd be in tears. Anyways, while Florida weather doesn't necessarily make a working fireplace a must-have it's a cool ...err, hot feature to have. Since I'm personally a bit iffy about making a fire in a wood house or setting gas on fire in a wood house I searched the 'net for a possible alternative. More on that later! For now we went ahead and turned the brick eyesore into the hot spot of the living room.

[In-progress: Little man helping paint]
Paint to the rescue! The fireplace brick was already painted a solid layer brick red and so we didn't feel bad about repainting it. There's just no good way to remove layers of paint from old brick without damaging it - you can read up on sandblasting (baaaad....), chemicals and other means of removing paint but we didn't think it'd be worth it. I simply grabbed a bucket of flat white paint and forged ahead while husband tackled the walls (that will get its own post - promised).
[Almost done!]
What a difference! In a spur of the moment decision I painted the top row black which helped visually 'shrink' the fireplace and balance it against the overall size and height of the room. Originally we were musing about adding a wooden mantel but now we aren't sure. It looks sharp as it is! Don't you love how it just pops against its new backdrop of a warm charcoal grey? We definitely do!
And if you think that we've strayed a bit from the original design board, wait until you see the dining room ;o)

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