Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Fireplace Room

     The main part of the house dates from 1888.  I've heard a few stories about its history, the most interesting is that it is one of the "Daughter's Houses."  There is a beautiful, large, Greek revival "mansion" on the corner, which, I understand, was the main house for the estate that was on the property.  There are two smaller houses, one on each side, apparently built for each of the estate owner's daughters.  Mine is one of the Daughter's Houses.

(My neighbor from up the road said the story isn't true, but I like it.)

As an older house, it's got a bunch of small rooms.  I've considered removing a wall to create a larger, open entertaining area, I don't want to change the historical accuracy of the floor plan and, well, it's a big cost that I'm happy to keep pushing off.

We spend most of our time in three rooms -- the tv room, the kitchen and the fireplace room.  From the front of the house, the fireplace room is to the right, behind the little porch and the second front door.  It's got very nice views to the front, and, of course, the fireplace.

When I got the house, the rooms downstairs each had off-white (viz:  dingy) walls with colored trim.  The fireplace room was a French blue, which I kind of liked.   And they windows came with lace curtains.  There is great trim-work around the front windows.

After a lot of Internet research, I decided to use a chemical stripper.  This was without a doubt the worst home project I've tackled.  There were very few flat areas of the trim, so most of the scraping had to use various objects I found around the shop:  A curved card-scraper, various screwdrivers, and, the best find, one of those paint-can keys.

It took a full weekend, but eventually, I was able to get down to the wood.  My hands were cramped and sore from digging out the paint from all of the grooves and valleys of trim, but I'm glad I went through the effort.

And then the painting.  I'm not a good painter.  I used to joke about painting -- that it was a job drunk college kids did to earn money over the summer.  But I've learned that doing it well takes a lot of skill and even more prep.  Although I did ok on the walls, I had a lot of trouble painting the semi-gloss over the existing trim and on the door:

I think I should have pre-washed with a stronger mix of TSP and spent more time sanding the trim to scuff it up.  Eventually, we got smart and hired someone to finish the room.

Then, I turned it over to Lisa.

Facing the front.  Love the light.

Towards the side.  That's a signed Chagall lithograph I picked up at an auction, and the built-in bar.  A whole lot of booze for two people who don't drink all that much.

The fireplace insert is from Quadrafire.  The opening was just 1" too small for the larger size.  The insert is good to heat this room, and the adjoining kitchen.  But although it was billed as large enough to heat a 2,000 sq/ft home, I haven't found a decent way to get the heat out of this room and into the rest of the house.

Out the front windows.

To the hall.

The deer head.

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