Putting this in Multimedia because of the pics. Feel free to move to a better place if need be.
So I just wanted to share with all of you what my wife and I have been working on for, oh, the past 10 months! LOL. We bought the house about 15 months ago, we pretty much didn’t mind the paint at first, or the fireplace that they capped and turned into gas.
OK, I lied, it was pretty heinous:
So paint is easy to change, which we did first. Also took down the paneling. My wife is pretty handy but really excels at going “hey this looks a little loose, let’s see what’s behind it”… Thus starting the beginning of the end. Hurray for the cold chisel and a 4lb mini sledge!
So we lived like that for 3 or 4 months while saving money and taking bids. Finally found a mason that was reasonable and actually called us back / kept us informed on what was going on. It was a damn miracle:
Brickwork came out well. On to another 3 or 4 months of saving and designing a mantle and custom built-ins for the space. Part of the design was a 47" LCD to be wall mounted. I was given a deadline of christmas so we could hang stockings. Naturally I waited until the end of october and realized the christmas deadline didn’t mean dec. 24 so I had to kick it into high gear.
Things were going well. Took a total of about 3 weekends + some extra hours on week nights to get everything done and painted. Finished product:
We couldn’t be happier with the outcome. We took our time with the mantle, hearth, and bookshelves and are quite proud of ourselves.
Some things we’ve learned from this project that others may be able to utilize:
Safety first! Both my wife and I have 10 fingers and toes left despite cutting 4x8 sheets of MDF on a 10" table saw with a crappy fence.
MDF is nasty shit! Sorry for swearing, but really the stuff is. I guess it’s a trade off as it paints really well and is somewhat more friendly to the environment. The dust it throws goes everywhere and it is really powdery and fine. It clogs shop vac filters instantly, seeps up through the bottom of hardwood floors and gives you the feeling of having asthma if you gut too much of it without a mask. I learned my lesson the first day when I woke up and felt a real tightness in my chest. I only hope the formaldehyde used in the binding agents preserves my lungs, lol.
Don’t be in a rush. We could have gone into debt and done everything in like 5 or 6 weeks. We didn’t want to do that. For us, it is better to step away from the project for a little bit too, as it got on my nerves and I would make stupid mistakes.
It always takes more time than you think. Had shelves in place and mounted, had what I thought was 5 or 6 hours more of paint and finish carpentry. Yeah, more like 20 more hours…
So there it is. Hope you enjoy. Any questions on the design / build, let me know. We built in some empty space / cavities for cable management so that everything is hidden. We also put 1/2 circle holes in the backs of each shelf for running lights or cables in the future if we need to. The mantle has 2 separate power outlets, so 4 plugs total for plugging in decorations or whatever. Made mostly from 3/4" MDF with some pine trim on the cut edges. Used pre-formed dentil moulding and fluted pilasters. Oak quarter round ties the new stuff in with the existing trim, and hides any gaps from an uneven 100 year old floor.
Sorry, this turned really long, but we used a glass tile for the hearth.