Adventures in Remodeling – Fireplace Mantle Edition

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Behind the scenes of the demolition – the original (1907) fireplace

Paul is currently remodeling our front living area (where the new fireplace is).  One of the features that we are keeping – apart from using the century-old bricks from the original fireplace – is the mantle that was on the fireplace.  We don’t know if the mantle was original to the house or if it was added during a later remodel.

Looking at the mantle straight on, you’d never know there was anything “wrong” with it.

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The New Fireplace – made from old bricks from the original (1907) fireplace

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The original mantle atop the new fireplace

However, while it is down, waiting for us to clean it up and reinstall it, the darn thing is driving me CRAZY.

It is an absolutely beautiful piece; unfortunately, whoever built it didn’t have the first clue about carpentry – the top piece is deeper on one end than the other, and the supports for the top piece don’t line up with each other on the bottom piece.  It’s really weird.
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The Original Mantle – aka When Carpentry Goes Bad

But like Paul said, we’ve been looking at the thing for almost 30 years and never knew that it was all cattywampus, so it’ll be fine.

I’m thinking of taping a dated letter in a Ziploc bag on the back of the mantle so that the next family that does a remodel won’t think that Paul was the bad carpenter…. 😛
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About Teresa in Fort Worth, TX

A short, fat, middle-aged, happily-married, mother of 4 daughters. A former high school valedictorian (way back in the Stone Age), a Civil Engineering major in college, a middle-of-the-road Conservative, and a moderate Methodist. I know just enough to get myself in trouble....
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5 Responses to Adventures in Remodeling – Fireplace Mantle Edition

  1. You should place a time capsule there. It would be so neat for whoever finds it 🙂

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  2. We’ve done stuff throughout the house as we’ve remodeled each room – signed and dated a board, or something along those lines. The problem is that anything made of paper tends to deteriorate over time to the point that it is too fragile to withstand the elements. Everything that we’ve found from previous owners has literally been crumbling by the time we find it.

    We’ve managed to salvage a few things (and they have been preserved) , but most stuff is beyond saving. I do have quite a few things which will “go along” with the house when we finally do move; no telling if they will make it very far after that, though.

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  3. Sandra says:

    When Greg replaced the tub enclosure in the house on Virginia Place, he found a signed board from the previous owner and friend ( who happened to be our neighbors on either side at the time.) So OF COURSE he had to sign and date it and include the fact that he had done a better job.

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    • LOL!!!! Of course he did 😛

      We found a signed, dated board on our porch when we replaced it – it was dated from the time that the house was being built (April 10, 1907), so we think one of the carpenters must have been the one who signed it. We’ve seen his signature in other places in the house as well.

      The porch wasn’t salvageable, but we did cut out that section of board and have it saved…..somewhere. One of these days, I plan on getting it framed…..

      Paul and his friends signed one of the boards on the new porch – it just so happens that it was on December 31, 1999, so whoever finds it next will have a great story to tell!

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  4. Pingback: Adventures in Remodeling – “Dis”-mantling, Part I | Koch's Tour

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