Fireplace Transformation

img_0851One of the main elements of our new living room is the fireplace and built-in housing for the television. This multi-faceted project took a long time to complete, and ended up including some DIY work on our parts that we weren’t initially planning for.

img_9293aThe original fireplace was very bare, and lacked presence. The brick face was broken in a few spots, and the remnants of carpeting were stuck to the bottom edge. Overall it was unappealing and needed a change.

fireplaceconceptWe knew that we wanted to be able to cover up our television when it was not in use, as well as house all of our electronic devices inside of a media cabinet. Once we determined the color of the tile and how the doors would open, we started designing the entire piece. James created this concept art, and we worked with Martin Cabinet Designs to figure out the specifics of mounting the television and running the cables. They then had the difficult task of building the cabinetry over the existing broken fireplace.

img_9903img_0850The level of detail they added was exactly what we were looking for, and it came out perfectly in both design and function. It instantly became a part of the room, enabling us to easily forget that it ever wasn’t there at all.

img_9900With the carpentry done, we thought that we would be hiring contractors to tile over the brick, but because it was such a small job, we decided to do the tiling ourselves.

img_0123This was our first time ever using mortar, but it was easy enough to apply to the brick. First we had to smooth out the surface, which was especially difficult around the pieces of carpet that were stuck to the bottom.

img_0124img_0130For the tile itself we went with 3 inch square tiles from Fireclay Tile in Kelp, which has a lovely variety in shading, and a subtle shattered look. We used 1/4 inch spacers, which gave us plenty of leeway if our tile placement wasn’t entirely even.

img_0128Having to use a wet saw was one of my biggest hesitations, as they can certainly be intimidating, and proper safety precautions are very important. Once I got the hang of it, it cut very cleanly and made the whole project go smoothly.

img_0132img_0135After setting all of the tiles and allowing the mortar to dry it was time for the grout. We picked a white grout to let the green of the tile really stand out.

img_0134We were relieved to get a clean edge around the bottom, and the bullnose tiles around the rim of the hearth give it a softer look in comparison to the sharp brick edge that was there before.

img_0848Once it was all dry and finished, we placed a new fireplace screen that better matched the iron detailing in our living and dining rooms, and added a couple of plants to the hearth. Another home design project successfully checked off our list.

 

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Play Time with Legos

James and I both absolutely love playing with Legos. It’s safe to say that we subscribe to the idea that, ‘adults are only kids grown-up, anyway,’ and greatly value the importance of having fun however we see fit. We have a few bins in our closet dedicated to several lego collections including some from James’ childhood. We also have a few models on display throughout our apartment such as The Millenium Falcon, The Back to the Future DeLorean, and several mini-figs. A couple of months ago we decided to splurge on the Lego Architecture Studio set to add to our ever growing Lego collection. We knew that this was something we could have a lot of fun with and that it would continuously challenge our creativity. Happily, we haven’t regretted this purchase for a second. Here are some of the models we have created so far:

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The scale of this one was determined by the steps. In theory this is only the front of the building as creating the entire concept for the building would have taken a lot more time and pieces. This is perhaps the largest one we have made so far.

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In contrast, this model is one of the smaller ones we have created. The idea here is to represent three individual skyscrapers that would exist in the same metropolis.

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This model can represent a hotel or apartment building. If you look closely there are supposed to be about four stories with a little balcony for each unit.

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These three were some of the very first structures we made. They were mostly arbitrary as we had fun learning how all the different types of pieces worked together.

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This piece directly modeled after a tile from the Ennis House is much more complex than it may appear; James used an intricate series of small plates to create the shapes inside the square. Unfortunately, the end product was still rather simplified from the ideal since we did not have enough pieces to make a larger fully detailed version.