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).