September 15th, 2010

home improvement

The Disco Fireplace is Dead, long live the Disco Fireplace!

Two and a half months after it begun, the disco fireplace rehabilitation is complete.
It was a long and arduous process, and we ended up going to bed at three thirty this morning, but it's done.

In 2003, I said this:
In some horrible former life, my house was attacked by the design concept of using mirrors to make the place look bigger. A previous owner decided to mirror in the fireplace and the wall above the fireplace all the way up to the ceiling. I have absolutely no idea what is underneath the mirrors except for some red brick that peeks out between the mirror and the actual fireplace. I'd like to undo the damage and free my fireplace from the disco era.

I'm assuming the worst, and I'm thinking that I'll have to design a new fireplace mantle and probably have to replaster the entire wall, which may mean uncovering some windows that were boarded in. The uncertainty of what is underneath and how much work (and money) is going to be requried to uncover it and redo it is the reason that I (like the previous owners, who apologized profusely for it) haven't gotten around to tackling the fireplace yet. I'm not sure whether the fireplace works or not, and currently, I have candles arranged inside.
This project scared the hell out of me, but I think ultimately it was worth it, seven years later. It cost us about $450, mostly on the bookshelves, but some on paint, lumber and other incidental hardware costs. It also cost us about 40 hours of our labor. Some frustration, lots of dust in the house, some bruised thumbs, aching hands, and puppy dog concerns were also costs borne. It cost me about three hours of sleep last night. I did not end up having to replaster a wall, though I will have to fix some trim on a baseboard. And I'll have to locate some space somewhere in the house for some art that got displaced.

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And at around 3:30 this morning, we declared our project done. I took a quick shower to get the dust and grime off of me, set my alarm for as late as possible to still be able to get to the office on relatively good time, and went to bed.

But they're done!! As "done" as any home improvement job is done. I'm sure we'll be spending the next few weeks tinkering with stuff in and around the bookcases, and we'll rearrange furniture and colors and such. But the hard part is done, and I think we can be pretty excited about this project.

It was 3:30 in the morning. We'd been working since 7:30ish. Seven pieces of art were rehomed. 0ver 1000 CDs were displaced. Dozens of art books found a new location, and Graham's books finally have a place to lie. And the disco fireplace is a mere memory.

You can see a flickr set of the whole project here. I'm sure that I won't need new bookshelves for at least a few more years.