When you buy an old house you naturally assume you’ll get a fireplace. Not in our case. Oh, we did have a wood mantle with a brick surround and bookshelves on both sides but it was all for a plug-in log set! Yes, a plug-in log set. Somehow my husband and I neglected to notice this on our two visits to the house. Then, before we knew it, we got involved in a bidding war for the place and didn’t check it until after we moved in.
The surprise of no fireplace was the least of our worries. We discovered we had bought a turn of the century house in dire need of help- faulty electrical, plumbing and structural issues had to come first. Sixteen months later, we addressed the living room’s design and the lack of a fireplace.
The original position for the fireplace facade (above) was too close to the front door. We debated what to do and finally chose to relocate it in a corner on the opposite wall of the room. At that point we were set on a real working fireplace. But the floor joists wouldn’t support the weight of fieldstone and wood mantle I had designed along with the fact that all our electrical connections were just below that corner in the basement. Not to mention the price tag for it all! Plan A was out.
Enter Plan B. Use a gas fireplace with a tile surround.
I still wanted to add some history to the house and tried to find an antique mantle. For some reason or another- size, price, design, kept me from purchasing one.
So, I had a friend build a simple Craftsman style mantle in oak stained two different tones (dark on the vertical pieces and light on the shelf) which complemented the nearby stair newel post.
We ordered custom colored tile from a company in Oregon.
The Woodblock Series by Illahe Tileworks depict the four seasons of gardening.
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Excerpts From Our House #7