Entries Tagged as 'Fireplace'

It’s Beginning to Feel like Christmas



Hello, and welcome to our little house by the lake…so happy you’ve stopped by! If you’re new here you might want to come visit our Lake Tours page, grab a cup of coffee, take a look around and enjoy this beautiful lake we get to call home. Or you can subscribe to our RSS feed for OurLakeLife updates. Welcome to Our Lake House!

No matter how prepared I am for the Holidays I always feel the angst of the mad dash as Christmas grows nearer and the list of things to do grows longer.

Of course it doesn’t help that we added, on top of a normally busy time, the building of a new fireplace surround. What was I thinking? Oh right, I was thinking how nice it would look to hang the stockings on a wonderful new mantel and actually have room for a tree because the TV was up and off the floor. Guess what, I was totally right! It looks fantastic!

It’s so close to being done and ready to hang the stockings and add some garland I can’t wait to have a fire going with the stockings hung and the garland strung.

Here’s a sneak peak of how it’s looking now.

Fireplace 2

We’ve white washed the front to give it a cozy cottage lake house feel, all that’s left is to stain the top of the mantel the same Red Mahogany stain as the floors, just to tie the whole thing together.

In the meantime as you can see the tree peaking out in the photo above we’ve been decorating away as the tree sits in it’s new home where the TV once was. It’s such a big improvement over when we had to put the tree in front of the sliding glass doors, just to the right of the fireplace in the photo above. Talk about a traffic pattern block!

Wedding Ornaments

I love decorating the tree , I’m a bit of an ornament collector and have been buying ornaments for years, even before I had a home and tree of my own. Some of them of course are more sentimental than others like the gold ones above that we gave out at our wedding as favors. Every time I put them up I remember sitting on the floor the week before our wedding hand wrapping each ornament. Good thing we didn’t have 400 guests!

Well that’s all for now, I promise to show more Monday as the tree gets finished and the stocking are hung. Until then I’m off to bake some Christmas Cookies, Brownies and all sorts of fun treats! Yum, Delicious!




Hello, and welcome to our little house by the lake…so happy you’ve stopped by! If you’re new here you might want to come visit our Lake Tours page, grab a cup of coffee, take a look around and enjoy this beautiful lake we get to call home. Or you can subscribe to our RSS feed for OurLakeLife updates. Welcome to our Lake House!

Good morning, Good morning I trust that everyone’s been keeping busy with the Holidays fast approaching.

We’ve been a whirlwind of activity in our lovely little house by the lake lately, with a lot of in-progress projects but not a lot of completing yet. With the mad dash to Christmas day nipping at our heels, there’s so much to do with so little time.

We’ve been working hard to complete our new fireplace mantel before Christmas while trying our best not to wreck havoc on the rest of the house in the form of sawdust coating every surface.  We even went so far as to wrap the whole fireplace in plastic to contain the dust while Bryan sanded and sanded to a buttery smooth surface to prep for the stain.

Plastic Wrapped Bryan

He was a sight to behold walking out from behind the plastic sheeting, respirator still on.

Respirator Bryan

The odd mix of Pig Pen with the cloud of dust trailing behind him and Darth Vader breathing heavily through the mask “Nik I am your Father.” Too bad Star Wars references are lost on 1 1/2 year olds.

Tack Cloth

After we managed to pull ourselves together from the humor of the moment and let the dust settle so to speak, we carefully removed the plastic, vacuumed everything up and wiped down all of the wood to make sure all of the dust was removed. Much to my dismay, many of those aforementioned dust particles made it around the house creeping into every crack and crevice imaginable. They’re wilily creatures those dust particles. But I’m sure the effect would have been much worse if we hadn’t contained Bryan to his plastic walled room while he sanded away.


We decided to stain it in the Minwax White Wash Pickling stain.. We love that pickling will give the fireplace a cozy lake house cottage vibe that we’re dreaming of and really like the idea of seeing the rustic knots show through while still maintaining and airy vibe.

But in inevitable Bryan and Maria fashion we’d thought it would look awesome if we stained the mantle top and trim pieces in Minwax Red Mahogany stain to match the floors. Sort of tying the two together and making it seem like we had planned it all out from the very beginning.

It proved to add a bit of prep work since we now had to tape off the areas we didn’t want white washed so we could stain them later, but hopefully it’ll be totally worth it in the end.

White Wash

Although it has spurred a flurry of cleaning on my part due to the dust that made it’s way into every crack and crevice, including washing and ironing 12 curtain panels. Will the fun never stop? Fortunately for me, Bryan has been doing most of the work on this project while I baked Christmas Cookies and strung lights on the Christmas tree with my favorite little helper. Who was way more interested in standing on the step stool watching Christmas cartoons then helping Mom string lights.

Nikolas Christmas Tree 2

We still need to finish decorating the tree but for now Nik is content adding his own flair in the form of trucks and toys placed lovingly in the tree

A Mantle to Hang the Stockings



Ok so our stocking aren’t hung yet, but we have a bright as a shiny new penny mantle on which to hang the stockings. Which I would say is more than half the battle.

Since I last wrote I found a old picture from our home inspection back in September of 2009 of how the fireplace looked when we bought the house. We’ve never been really fond of the awkward corner fireplace that left a lot to be desired in our minds in the terms of the style of home we were after. Apart from painting the paneling and adding a a pellet stove insert which provides awesome heat in the winter that we got for free from my aunt who was replacing hers. All in all we’ve mostly ignored it not really knowing where to start.

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When last we left off in our story, our hero Bryan had completely removed the paneling and wall on the top of the fireplace to find some “creative” use of 2 x4’s and drywall damage from an old roof leak that had been repaired long ago but the damaged drywall had never been removed.


It was fun job reframing the support wall and removing the water damaged sheetrock …not really, but a necessary step to getting the mantel complete in time to hang the stockings. Good thing Bryan had his Father here to help. At least I managed to stay behind the camera for this step. Score one for the camera woman.

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Removing Water Damage

After all the behind the walls work was done Bryan moved on to adding the new pine bead board to the wall and building the mantel box. The core of the mantel itself is a simple wood box screwed into and few supports that he added during the framing stage to support the mantel.

Bead Board

And then he got a little bit ahead of himself and decided he needed to hang the TV over the fireplace before we could call it done. Don’t get in between a man and his 47 inch TV mounted on the wall even if the wall is still a work-in-progress.

Hanging the TV

At this point it still needed A LOT of extra molding to dress it up and finish it off, including where the stone bottom meets the pine bead board.

P1130445 copy Thank goodness for the long weekend. Over the next couple of days Bryan diligently added additional molding and trim around the top and sides, a piece of wood I’ve been calling the apron to transition from the stone to the wood and some pieces to dress up the boxy molding.

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You can see above where he added the vertical pieces to add depth and break up the long horizontal line.

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Then as a finishing touch we added decorative molding to the top edge taking it from just a wood box bolted to the wall to a beautiful mantle we are over the moon about.

Just for comparison sake and mostly because we can’t believe how much has changed here’s how the fireplace looked when we first bought our home.

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Then it evolved only a bit once we painted the top and added the pellet stove. It still left a lot to be desired in our minds though. Fireplace

And today this is how it looks.

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Overall we’re kind of giddy excited over how this whole fireplace mantel thing turned out. Bryan’s also pretty impressed with himself on how he was able to pull it together. Seeing as this was his first big project with large amounts of 45 degree angles to cut he was cautious as he cut each piece, checking and double checking as he went.  We went into this with an idea to move the TV allowing us extra floor space in our narrow living room and are pleasantly surprised how much it changed the look of the entire room.

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But before it’s actually ready to hang stockings on we’ll need to stain and seal it. Right now we’re leaning towards a white washed finish to keep with the Lake House feel since this room has a direct view of the lake through the sliding glass doors. But I’ll be sure to show off how it all ends up.

Hopefully we’ll get that all completed this weekend along with putting up the tree.  But for now we’re totally in love with the way it turned out. Is it weird that we keep staring at it?

An Impromptu Project



Inevitably when the holidays roll around there’s always one or two or twelve things you’d like to accomplish before the big day. The holidays always spur a flurry of activity around here from the traditional holiday baking, shopping and gift wrapping. To the more in depth projects like making room for the Christmas tree by completely redesigning our fireplace to allow for the television to be mounted to the wall above it.

I don’t think I’ve shown photos of our Living room how it is now on the site before. It’s a good size space but relatively long and narrow at about 20’ x 12’, with multiple doors, a wall cut out, a window and a fireplace that chop up the space and make for difficult furniture arranging not to mention the challenging act of adding something large like a Christmas tree.

Living Room

It’s come a long way and of course we still have big plans like adding some art to the walls, rearranging/changing some furniture and moving the TV to it’s future home over the fireplace. For comparison’s sake here’s what it looked like during our home inspection back when we were just two months short of our move in date.

Living Room Before

Oh, and just so you have a better idea of how this is all laid out here’s a quick little (totally not to scale)  floor plan I put together to help visualize where everything is including the fireplace in the corner and the TV along the back wall. living room plan 2

The fireplace is not original to our home and is set into the corner of the room at a slightly odd angle. The construction of the top portion is a bit wonky to say the least. The trim piece weren’t put up correctly and in when you’re in person you can tell the top angles of the bead board don’t quite match the bottom angles of the stone, making for a generally wonky looking fireplace.


For the most part it’s been neglected and ignored by us other than painting the to paneling from it’s original light wood existence as we focused on other areas of the house. So far we’ve been using it as a place to dry my latest works of art and a catch all for random items as the mantel is too narrow to hold most everyday objects.

So with that in mind and the approaching holidays we had a brain storm to finally put the TV over the fireplaceto free up some much needed floor space for a Christmas tree at this time of year and some occasional chairs for the rest of the months of the year that don’t require us to have a 7 foot tree in the middle of the room.

Fireplace deconstruction

So Bryan set out Friday night to remove the paneling so we could add new knotty pine, run the cable for the TV and add some additional supports to hold the TV so it doesn’t come crashing down.

Which led us to find all sorts of wonderful stuff like drywall damaged from an old roof leak that had been repaired from above but the never removed behind the wall.

Water Damage

After that was all sorted out, cleaned up and removed they made quick work of reframing it in a slightly more sturdy fashion.


We also bought some really great knotty pine that we plan to whitewash and add chunky mantel  along with some other ideas that are kind of up in the air. Needless to say we’re super excited and we have our fingers crossed that we can finish it up over the Thanksgiving weekend so we can put up the Christmas tree in it’s new home.

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