When we bought this house nearly eight years ago, I knew I hated this fireplace. It was poorly executed. The brick work is pretty poor, with chipped bricks along the edges. The insert is OK and certainly does heat the room. The mantle was a rough timber that was twisted a little and held on with two drywall screws and fender washers. Appalling to say the least. First world problems for sure, but I wanted something better.
Finally, I had enough and I thought for a long time about what to do about it. I thought about just adding a nicer mantle and trying to hid the brick supports somehow. That evolved into covering most of the brickwork – first with panels, then an integrated bookcase. Then an idea struck me as I was working on some marquetry.
So the fireplace will be painted casework, with some lights in a new cornice. Above the fireplace, replacing the cheapo art print, will be a large marquetry panel depicting a branch of our beloved/cursed sweet gum tree. OK, we have two sweet gum trees and we kind of hate the spikey “SDB” (Stupid Damned Balls – of Stupid Dumb Balls to our daughter). The tree is also sort of fragile too, losing limbs in the slightest breeze. But, it provides shade and we’ll never have such a large tree in our front yard in our lifetimes if we take it down. One of the things we loved about the street was the shade provided by all the mature trees. Sadly there aren’t as many as there used to be, so I’m determined to hang on to this as long as we can.
In a few days I’ll reveal the end of phase one (when it’s done). It’s all constructed of poplar. The LEDs are on a dimmer and light the upper panel nicely. The panel – which will contain the marquetry in phase two – will come along probably this fall. I found a piece of rotary cut birds eye maple plywood which should pop nicely when finished. Stylistically it will be close to the ambry marquetry work.
So stay tuned