When I say "we," I mean Lee Brady, our handyman extraordinaire who carefully planned, thought out, reworked and then executed, some wonderful improvements to our house, the most striking of which was the installation of our fireplace mantel in the dining room.
|The mantel and shield before work began.|
We brought the mantel inside the house and propped it up against the dining room wall, where it patiently waited for the next seven or eight years. In the meantime, we found a really neat brass fireplace shield in a salvage store in Greensboro, bought it and propped that up against the wall, too. A pre-existing hearth was already in place, indicating a coal-burning fireplace had indeed once warmed the room.
They did that for years. I think they were being kind to us.
Finally, Kim and I decided it was time to get started. We hired Lee, who promptly rebuilt our deteriorating freestanding outdoor utility shed while we decided what kind of fireplace tile we needed to buy.
|The old hearth needed hammer-and-chisel attention.|
About a month went by where Lee had to take on another paying job (We were in no hurry. Why should we be, we waited this long) at another location.
Then he said he was ready.
One of the first things he did, besides mounting the mantel on the wall, which was impressive enough, was to remove the existing hearth. We just didn't think the tile there was appropriate to our vision for the fireplace.
|We are delighted with the completed project.|
After an uneven and dusty surface had been chipped out, our cat, Halo, inexplicably thought we had installed a luxurious new litter box just for her. She jumped on the hearth and started scratching...
Noooo. (She did not).
Finally, Lee was set to install the new fireplace tile. This actually took a couple days, but when I came home from work Thursday, I was greeted by the completed project.
I was stunned. The fireplace looked to me as though it had been there since the house was built 95 years ago.
Now when we have friends over, I know their ooohs and ahhhs will be genuine. I know mine are.