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Living Room Blues...

Ever since we moved into this house we've been wanting to re-do the surround on our fireplace.  Currently, it looks like this
(photo taken right after we had our carpeting replaced which is why there's no furniture or accessories in the room.  Also, pre-child which explains why there are no toys in sight):

Living Room Carpet- AFTER

I'm not in love with having the t.v. above the mantel (or with the cables that are STILL visible 3 years after installation even though disguising them has been numero uno on the honey-do list for those same 3 years) but due to the limited wall space we decided that one of those TV stands for flat screens just wouldn't work in this room.  (We do have a tv stand for our flat screen downstairs and I LOVE being able to have all of the components right under the t.v and all of the wires and cables neatly hidden away.)

While we like the storage that the bookshelves and cabinets provide, they're rather ugly.  And the fireplace itself just blends into the wall.  Another problem is that the shelves aren't deep enough to keep the stereo equipment and DVD player on and so we've rigged up a shelf extension that juts out to hold them.  It's not the most attractive solution.  We'd love to install deeper cabinets on the bottom (somehow working around the issues of the window and the radiator being right there), possibly with shelves on top.  We'd install an actual mantel that's separate from the shelving and then tile over the bricks and get a new fireplace insert.  Ideally, I'd love it to look more like this:

Last week we got a call from a contractor looking for work.  Some of the trim on the outside of our house actually needs to be replaced and it's up on the dormers so Paul asked them to come over and give us a quote (he's very handy but also scared of heights and didn't want to mess with it).  We figured while the guy was here we'd ask for a quote on the fireplace too.

When the contractor showed up we were expecting a regular construction type guy.  Instead, we apparently got one of the owners of the company.  The guy was at least 80, with a Donald Trump hairdo, dyed jet black.  Interesting choice.  He shuffled into the house, glanced at the living room and said "that's at least $7000 worth of work."  Ok, we thought, it IS custom, but we hadn't really told him what we wanted to do, or what kind of wood we wanted to use, or anything specific.  He then told Paul that the trim work would run at least $2000. 

After the guy left Paul started laughing.  He told me that the trim that needed to be replaced was probably about $80 worth of lumber.  Even with labor costs, etc. it shouldn't be anywhere near $2000.  Guess we're not going with that guy!

As for the fireplace, well, we're still up in the air about what to do with it.  It's quite possible we'll just attempt to do it ourselves.  It's also possible that we'll just live with it the way it is for a while longer.  Maybe painting out the wood-work to match the trim in the rest of the house would be a good place to start- it might just brighten up that black hole at the end of our living room a bit...


  1. I just sampled the goodies that you and your Mom sent. DELISH! Which one of you is responsible for the framed quotation? I feel like Dorothy Parker. Maybe I should put it on my headstone--or not. My husband wanted to know what a menses was. I told him that it's nothing he'd ever have to worry about.


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