Fire In the Hole…

Or not, as it were.

You see, when Husband bought our house way back in 2000 and….5?  The living room was dark, bare, and sported a corner fireplace, but little else.

Obviously, the photo was taken before we had the finer things in life like a nice camera, real furniture, or even a decent TV.  To say the least, I hated everything about this room, and the week before Husband and I were married, he completely redid it.  Come to think of it, every time something major happens in our lives, Husband takes on some sort of large project; when Son was born, he built a backyard fence!

We had discussed how to best use the room, and decided to erase the fire place altogether, and turn it into our “entertainment center.”  Because I am a trained architect, I drew up loads of designs that covered up the awful brick (and the troweled stucco finish that you can’t see above the mantle), but also would be easily removed if we were to sell the house, and somebody actually wanted that awful brick and stucco fireplace.

I came home from work one day to find my dark living room a sunny yellow, and the entertainment corner fully finished out.  Over the next few years, we would keep adjusting a few things, like replacing our hollow interior-only backdoor with a full-lite, for use with the elements, metal door.  But for the most part, our corner remained the same, until recently.  I finally got tired of looking at this…

Now sure, all that was mostly hidden behind the original glass fireplace screen, which I had painted black with engine paint just in case someone some day wanted to light a fire, but things were really a mess in there.  Cords were tangled, the door on the dvd player was hard to get to, and don’t even try to access the SD card slots.  I had had enough, and got down to business.

First, I put Son to work vacuuming out all that dust…. His lungs are younger than mine.

Just kidding, he loves to use the vacuum, and asked to help.

While he vacuumed, I sorted wires, and painted up a plastic table I found on clearance for 4 bucks.  More on that later.

Then I pledged the heck out of the firebox, and slowly began putting the pieces back in place.

Without the screen, the firebox looks like this.  I propped the computer up on blocks, literally, so that the slots are all accessable, taped over the lighter colored cables with black electrical tape so they’d blend in witht he wood, and just generally organized it all.  So why the table?  Two reasons.

  1. I like the little shelf it creates to place things like dvd cases and the like one.
  2. Because even though we have capped off our chimney to block against rain, I like a little extra protection against the elements, and the table creates a little roof for my electronics.  Now before you get all “but they’re still sitting on the floor, yada, yada, yada,” know that for years we have had our electronics in this fire box, without the chimney cover, and without the table, standing in water, and with a bowl in the back to catch the really heavy runoff, and only lost one router, and maybe a cable box back when we had cable.  But since covering the chimney, we haven’t had any water issues.  Although, there will be smoke issues should someone light a fire…

When the screen is put back into place, the entertainment center looks like this, up close and with the doors open…

and like this from a distance…

The fireplace is merely covered with plywood, and only anchored to the brick in a few places.  The shelves are mounted to the plywood, and not the brick behind it.

Don’t worry, I took some detail shots for you so you can see the shelves…

which Husband made using a simple 1×10, 2×2, and some flat trim.

And the base, which used to be the hearth, was extended to allow for DVD storage.

I used to be super anal about the DVD cases.  I bought 30 blank, black cases, and rehoused all of DVDs.  I don’t like the messiness the multi-colored cases create, but Husband hated having to open every case when looking for a DVD.  Now, I just turn them around backwards.  I wish I would have thought of that years ago, before I purchased 30 DVD cases.

I’m still happy with our reuse of the old fireplace.  I’m even happy with the way it has worn itself in over the years, and now I’m happy with the inside of that firebox, too.  Someday, maybe even this year, I will redo the living room again.  I still want to repaint it, and I’m so over that pot of grass in the corner.

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Filed under DIY, Home Design

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