Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside. . .

But we will be keeping warm inside in style. Here is the picture of my almost finished fireplace. When the living room is completely finished, all the details of the fireplace will be taken care of, but for now you can see what we've done. Below is a before pic from before we bought the house. Wasn't it pretty?

I would have taken that furnace out the day we moved in, but my kids weren't excited about the prospect of icicles hanging off their noses. And below you can see what it looked like once we removed the furnace and the old paneling. We found that this wall was one of the main culprits of cold air coming into the house, and since we live in northern Pennsylvania, that is a really big deal. So this gave us the opportunity to add insulation - not pretty, but very practical.

Here you can see my husband and father-in-law working on the new fireplace. As I mentioned in the previous post, we purchased a gas fireplace that I found on Craigslist for $100. It was the best deal I had seen in all my searching and it meant I could finally get rid of the behemoth furnace!

So, the plan was to build something like an L shape. The vertical part would stand out a bit from the wall, helping the fireplace look more like a real, built-in fireplace. The horizontal piece at the bottom would form a sort of shelf that the fireplace would sit up on, creating a hearth. For the hearth and the mantel, my husband bought these super thick, super wide slabs of cherry wood from an Amish friend.

And here I am priming it. The one thing I disliked about the fireplace was a brass frame around the inset, and that had to go!

Here is the painted fireplace. This was before I sealed the hearth and mantel. You can also see little bits of the paper left from where I used them to protect the wood while I was painting the fireplace. And I am also needing to put in the molding around the base. And I also have one strip of brass left that will be painted black to blend in. Hence the "almost finished" part.

The original plan was to make a box from molding in the top over the mantle, but once I went to hang a mirror, I thought it would look odd because in order to hang the mirror at the height I wanted, it would be really low in the box, so I waiting to decide whether I want to add it or not. I will have to show you a picture soon and ask your opinion.

With the snow we are expecting in the next several days, I am looking forward to homemade hot chocolate and snow ice cream and I call shotgun on the seat in front of the fireplace!

Living Room: Sneak Peak

Well, this is what I have been busy with. And recuperating from the experience.

Like many other crazy women out there, I too decided that I had a project that I absolutely had to do before Christmas. I HAD to renovate the living room. Really, I just couldn't stand the thought of putting up a pretty Christmas tree in an ugly room, not one more year. So, during Thanksgiving, I decided I was going to do it.

To help you really appreciate the task at hand, let me show you a few pics of the living room when we were looking at our house, deciding whether or not to buy it. Kinda makes you wonder why we bought it - won't go there.

WARNING - Extreme ugliness ahead!!!

Well, here you can get a look at the ugly paneling, the crazy way they treated doors, windows, and basically, the whole house in general.

Here you can see the bay window area, the really nasty textured carpet, and a lot of mess.

Here you can see the ugly carpet again, the ugly decor, and the ugly MAMMOTH gas furnace. Boy, was I glad to get that thing out! Even Jim Morrison didn't like that carpet!

OK, let's look at the pretty picture again and catch our bearings before we move on:

So, you've seen where we started, and we shudder to go back there, so, here are some construction pics - some of the walls were good, some, not so good.

Originally the plan had been to work with the texture and do a paint treatment of some sort. Or something like that. Once we took down the old paneling though, we quickly realized these walls needed more help than that. Some of the plaster was coming down, or was soon to come down. So, we shifted gears and decided to go with - drumroll - PANELING. But, it is a good thing that there is much nicer paneling to choose from these days. We chose a 3" V-groove paneling. Here you can see some pics of the paneling being put up.

Here you can see a bit of the ceiling. At the beginning of this ordeal, there were some white ceiling tiles up there, some of which were held up with tape, some with crazy shards of wood, definitely needing replacement! So, we had to take all the old ceilings down (yes, more than one!), the plaster one being the most difficult and the most messy. Let's just say that I am not sure that I have even yet gotten all the dust cleaned up around the house, and that was with sheeting taped around the door frames.

To explain what we did with the ceiling, we exposed the overhead beams/joists and the underneath of the original hardwood flooring overhead. We built a new beam down the center, to which we added molding and painted. Then we filled in around the edges, added molding and painted there as well. So, the ceiling is now a mix of wood and paint. I will show better pics of it once we are completely finished with the room.

Here is a picture of how we finished the ceiling in the bay window area.

You may also notice a chandelier sneaking into some of the pics - let's once again thank Craigslist - $20!!! More importantly, let me thank God. My Grandma and I have sort of a running contest about who God loves most. You see, He is constantly blessing us with amazing things, such as great deals to fix the house up, great deals on furniture or other things, sending along just the right people when we need help, etc. So, whenever He does something like that, which is often, we like to call each other to prove which He loves best. =-) I hope you understand and won't be jealous that He loves me most!

This is a very small pic of the fireplace - to see it's transformation, you'll have to check out the post on just that fireplace - I'm so pleased with how it turned out! Link to that post is here!!

Can't wait to get going on that room!

Well, in case you wonder if I finished before Christmas . . . I almost did. I still have some finishing work to do, but I decided that it was good enough to stop and get a Christmas tree and resume work some time in the New Year. My kids did need a Christmas, you know!

Now doesn't that look better than if I had put it in the old, ugly room?