Friday, April 01, 2005

Retro-Blogging: First Project

I’m going to be busy this weekend working on the bathrooms. So, I thought I’d quickly blog about something I did 2 years ago: my first enhancement to Hillsdalehouse.

When I first started doing research on Craftsman Bungalows (see back story), one of the things that I found, consistent with my childhood house, was the idea of a house with a fireplace flanked by book cases. Stickley’s idealized evening was a warm fire, comfortable chair, and a good book within reach. The good news was that our house did have a fireplace, but it was white painted brick with a little gas heater that failed to warm the room.

This picture was taken during the pre-purchase inspection (April 2002). It’s really funny to see it now.

Initially, I wanted to just strip the paint off of the fireplace and add a glass-door bookcase to the right and maybe a little bench on the left. But, after seeing some great pictures of old fireplace mantels, I decided I wanted to raise the height of the mantel. Then, it appeared that there would be a hollow space between the top of the brick and the top of the mantel. So, why not make it a cabinet? Things evolved from there. Here is a picture shortly after staining (April 2003):

This was my first time working with hardwood (you can’t just expect to hammer a 6p finish nail into that stuff!!!). Also, this was my first time doing panel-and-frame (sheets of 1/4" oak plywood framed by 1” thick solid oak boards). But, I’m pretty happy with the results. I’m currently building the bathroom vanities in the same style and I plan to eventually do this for the kitchen cabinets and a built-in sideboard in the dining room.

Below is a collage of the work progress (click for a closer look).

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Anonymous Heather said...

I've got to ask...did you strip the paint off the fireplace? I spent a long time trying to decide if it had just been painted "brick red" or if you actually got it all cleaned off.

Either way, it looks great!

6:28 PM, April 01, 2005  
Blogger Greg Emel said...

Thanks Heather. Yes, I used a chemical stripper that's not too toxic. It's called Citristrip and the nice thing is that it doesn't have any of that "methylene chloride" (very very very bad stuff that ought to be banned). It took about 3-4 courses though. Lots of work... Funny, I thought about painting it red. :-)

thanks again!

7:07 PM, April 01, 2005  

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