Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Putting Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again

After tearing the fireplace apart and figuring out what it should look like, we had the electrical work temporarily cleaned up and decided to eliminate the sconces on either side all together since it was going to be a lot of extra work to get proper electrical boxes installed.

We framed out the upped half with 2x6 studs so that it would be strong enough to support the mantle that was sandwiched in between and so the overall finished product would be the some width/depth as the brick below.

Framing installed

We definitly put in a bit more that was required, but knew that eventually there would be a tv mounted up above (since there's no other place for it sadly). And yes, I became an expect with a miter saw and drill thanks to this.

Wiring, patching, priming and insulation. This picture is the best representation of the finished wall color (on the left wall) than any of the others but still not exact.

We were able to have the remaining switch for the fireplace's blower closer (bottom left corner on the 2x6s) and added a switch so I can be a holiday light junkie. We patched the previous electrical box hole as well as a couple places where the plaster had broken away. A tub of joint compound later, a little texture work with a putty knife, after priming the wall you would never have known. A little under halfway up the fireplace we added an electrical box for one of these beauties below for when the TV gets mounted. 

Leviton 15 Amp 1 Gang Recessed Duplex Power Outlet from Home Depot

My parents had done some work at their house and had some leftover insulation that they were happy to depart with so it was time to get it closed up. When looking at different materials to us, we ended up going with some tongue and grove paneling and by a matter of luck (the boards being turned backwards) I decided that I preferred the side of the paneling that didn't have any groove, rather than the side with a middle grove. It felt a little more modern and less country bumpkin.

Home Depot sells the boards in either 8 or 12 foot lengths so we were thankfully able to buy the 12 footers and have them cut them in half since the end product is slightly under 6 feet in length. This saved on waste as well as cost. It also left us with a 6 foot piece not needed that we cut to cover the sides first.

Tongue and groove going up on the edges
To attach all the paneling, we used liquid nail on the studs where they came into contact with the tongue and grove and then used a nailed with finishing nails to secure each piece. My dad tends to get a little trigger happy so I took over that part so as to not have some many nail holes to have to fill later. You can also see above where we shortened the mantle by about 10 inches so it didn't overhang as much. A little stain + poly later and you would never know.

Paneling all installed
Every nail hole got patched as well as any imperfections or knots in the boards. Then the paneling was primed and the wall got it's first coat of paint to match the rest of the room. I scrubbed all the brick with a cleaning solution to prep it for primer and paint as well then used paintable caulking to fill any large cracks in the grout or crevices in the brick that would be tough to paint.

Walls drying, paneling primed and brick prepped for paint.
We also added some thin pieces of trim around the edges and bottom of the paneling to cover any exposed groves and corners. Then it was a caulking fun time - trust me, it makes a HUGE difference in the look of the finished project, as you can see below.

All of the pictures make the walls seem much more green then they are in real life. I blame this due to taking most of them on my iPhone as well as taking them super late at night with some floor lamps as the only lighting. Fear not - I have a new camera so they will look better in the future. The color is called Tropical Bay from Valspar color matched to Sherwin Williams Emerald paint in a matte finish and the fireplace is painted in Behr's Semi Gloss trim paint untinted, Ultra Pure White.

While there are still a few things that need to be finished on the fireplace wall:
  • adding crown molding around the ceiling as well as the top of the fireplace
  • installing matching baseboards (there are some in a back closet we will be stealing from)
  • mounting the tv (I'm not worried about cords as I will be getting Roku instead of standard cable and can hide the small box easily on the mantle and have a small portable DVD player which can be stored when not in use)
  • Figure out what can be done with the hearth (it's a huge slab of polished stone but looks dirty in comparison to the white fireplace - replace it? Paint it? Resurface it?)
It's certainly looking a lot better than it used to though.

- Lea

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fireplace Inspiration

Since tearing the indoor rock wall left us with a little rebuilding to do, the first questions was what the h do you want it to look like now?

So I went to my trusted advisor, Mr. Pinterest, to discuss the case a little further. In the meantime, we were able to take out a couple dozen buckets full of rock, plaster and dust so we had something a little less Apocalypse Aftermath Chic to look at.

Look at all the dust floating in the air! My lungs were in heaven.

We (I cut in while my mom rolled) painted the ceiling a crisp, clean white since it had years of soot caked on it (see below) and also painted all walls except for the fireplace wall.

The brick was already painted and attempting to try to strip/sandblast it off sounded like pure hell so paint it was. Once I started looking at white painted fireplaces, I fell in love. Here are some of my favorites:

I wanted to keep the wood mantle as was so it would tie in with the baseboards and built-ins throughout the house. And since I am a huge nerd and have had an obsession with making collages since I was 5 (no magazine was ever safe in our house), I made a mood board so my parents could attempt to understand the crazy going on in my head.

Living Room Moodboard

It will all make sense, I swear!

- Lea

Monday, September 2, 2013

Mr. Gorbachev...

The living room was going to be the messiest room to redo (and also one of the biggest transformations) so we started there first.

The blue painted brick on the fire place needed a change and the rock wall was A.) DATED and B.) Already missing 2 pieces of who knows what on either side of it. You can see where the adhesive is left that held something, maybe brackets for the mantle.

As every good demolition story begins - my father left the house to go get lunch one day and the next thing we knew, my mother and I had a good third of the rock wall down with the help of a hammer and a pry bar by the time he came back. Oops.

And yes - I did quote Ronald Reagan the ENTIRE day. The first side came down really easy so we moved to the other side knowing there had to be a catch somewhere - projects just don't go 100% according to plan. It's impossible. Bam. Found that other shoe in the form of highly illegal wiring.

There was 1 switch for the ugly sconces which turned out to be just the plug in variety that someone hardwired in. The other switch controls the blower inside the fireplace. It was one of those "Let's see how bad this is going to get" moments so we very carefully kept removing the plaster rocks (which had all been applied directly on top of the wires). We had to carefully chip some of them away here and there and then we came to a GIANT piece of metal mesh that had rocks and wires encrusted on it.

Turns out it got a lot worse.

My mother to the left, taking in the damage we uncovered.

Time to literally sit back, think "oh, crap" and wait until someone could get out to look at the electrical.

- Lea