Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fireplaces of doom

The other day - I mean, literally, just a couple of days ago, after more than a year of saying NO to a fireplace in the living room because our original fireplace was in what will now be the dining room and hello: tradition - I said to Pete, what do you think about a fireplace in the living room and in the dining room?

From Laura Ashley's U.S. blog - Ambleside Collection

Two things prompted this crazy notion.  One, it has always bugged me that we will have our fireplace in the dining room where nobody (read: me) can curl up in an easy chair with a book or the phone or, duh, some knitting to enjoy it.  The room in question is long and narrow and therefore terrible for a sofa and chairs, so it's not like I could just say 'Meh, let's put the living room there and leave the bigger square room for the dining table.'  Believe me, I've tried.  For more than a year.

This Windsor Arch fireplace from Valor is just 22" wide, but it kicks out the heat of a 30-incher.

The other thing is that Andy and I are finalizing the custom cabinetry that is spilling out of the kitchen into the living and dining rooms, because without him magically designing them for us we will have zero space for a china cabinet or bookcases.  We don't have a ton of china, but books?  I will be stacking them up as end tables if I don't have shelves for those.  However, when I looked at the elevations for the living room I thought: something is missing.


Don't knitters all need a fireplace in their dream homes?  In fact, now that I think of it, all I've ever wanted in a house is a fireplace and a window seat, not that I'm getting a window seat either, though I am getting a bump out that's sort of like a window seat, which is better than a kick in the teeth.

So here is what happened when I suggested the fireplace to Pete.

He said Well, let's look into it.  Mistake Number One.  His job is to squash my more ludicrous ideas, not encourage me to spend more money on the house.

I politely refrained from pointing this out to him and said Okay, and did that, and then let Andy know we were thinking of a living room fireplace too.

Andy was Very Patient (because we are about ten minutes away from finally submitting the cabinetry order to production after months of trying to come up with a kitchen design that met everybody's wish list) and asked me to get him specs for the fireplace we wanted.

The 'Bolero' face for the Valor fireplace is growing on me...

I immediately looked into more fireplaces and asked Brian, our HVAC friend, about running gas lines: Brian said Sure, no problem.  Then I mentioned the idea of a living room fireplace to Ray, who ever since has been saying a series of variations on "Mary, you're not really putting in a second fireplace, are you?  I mean, seriously?  I think it's overkill."

And the thing is, Ray is not wrong, and I know he's not wrong.  Gas fireplaces are expensive, and two on one floor is a lot, even if you are only being sensible and providing a backup heat source in case of a long power outage.  Even one of them kicks out SO much heat, and we are going to have crazy amounts of insulation to hold all that in - a second fireplace for backup heat is unnecessary.  Plus, they take up valuable sitting and storage and TV space, and our house is pretty tiny already.  Did I mention the tiny?  If we install two fireplaces - even though they would be at opposite corners of the house in totally separate rooms - we are installing two fireplaces into a 780 square foot space.  That is insanely well insulated and will probably almost never be cold in the first place.

Pete loves Valor's President front, shown here with a mantel from Fires of Tradition

I know too that if we really want a second fireplace Ray will do his part to make it happen - and indeed, he's already suggested a tidy route for running the gas line through the house to the opposite corner from the entry point such that it won't intrude on any rooms, and he even offered to mount a metal plate over the line where it drops from between the joists so that if anybody ever decides to nail a hole into the wall where it is, they will not puncture said line.

Ray is fantastic, and he might not only be Not Wrong, but Right about the second fireplace. I mean, I'm not a huge fan of running a long gas pipe through the entire house, apart from everything else.  Everything else being $$$$$SSssszzzzzzz why does everything I like have to cost so much.

Meanwhile... I have been showing Pete pictures of fireplaces, and today we had a date to go to an actual fireplace store, and now he has reached the point where he can no longer see the living room without a fireplace in it.

Once again, Mary Creates Monster.

Valor's Portrait series fireplace, with a 'Clearview' frame: as design-neutral as you can get

So, this might be my last post for the week.  If we're gonna do a second fireplace I have to do a lot of research to make Andy's job as easy as possible on Monday.  And then I gotta tell Ray, who thought I was joking when I texted him from the store that the fireplaces are gorgeous and I want one in every room now.  Ha ha, Ray!  I wasn't joking, even when we laughed about putting a fireplace in the bathroom.

(good thing he doesn't read Hugs, huh?)

Happy Easter if I don't see you before that, and knit something great so I can live vicariously through you from my Pinterest and Houzz screens!


Laurinda said...

Oh Mary, I'm so sorry about that monster you created! :-D However, it's not like another fireplace will *detract* from your home's value,& how much good is a dining room fireplace anyway? But a cozy chair, some knitting, & a nice fire... <3

Mary Keenan said...

I's so true Laurinda - even if I never use the fire (they sure do kick out heat, and I would hate to not be able to justify wearing thick winter handknit socks) fireplaces just *look* so special!