Sunday, December 28, 2008

Life can't be all fun

We started yet another home-improvement project before any of the others are done. This is the before picture of our fireplace. This is not the original fireplace. Our neighbor's house has an original 1910 coal-burning, beautiful, authentic, small fireplace. Someone, about the time mauve ceramic tile was cool, installed a larger wood-burning firebox and this hideous brass cover.
I pulled the cover off a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday I got busy with the sledge hammer and pry bar while Drew was outside. After an hour and a half, this is how far I got. But we are excited to see beautiful, authentic, original tile under these layers of impenetrable concrete, chicken wire, ceramic tile, and, yes, REBAR! The cat slept through all of this on the couch not 5 feet from the fireplace. We are apprehensive that the original tile is in decent shape, but we'll see (we hope).
Drew was too impatient, or maybe he just wanted to buy a new tool. He ran down to the hardware store and bought a brand new roto saw. He tried to cut through some of the mess so he could more easily pry out the chunks. He only succeeded in coating the living and dining rooms with a very thick layer of concrete dust. On to plan B, when we figure out what plan B is. If plan B doesn't work, there are some new condos going up in our neighborhood.


  1. Plan B is an air hammer:

    I bet Home Depot rents them. I've never used one but I've seen them used a few times on TV and they make short work of popping up tile floors.

    Plan C is an electric jack hammer. I have used one of those before and it would pop up that tile in about 5 minutes but it would almost certainly ruin the original tile below (although it will probably be hard to salvage it anyway).

  2. Hey, Lucy and Drew,

    Let us know if you figure it out. Our fireplace has a hideous brass cover, too, but we were spared the mauve tile in this house!

    Are the condos in your neighborhood where Liberty Heights is? Are they finally building there?


  3. Andy, Plan B is call Matt at Capital Hill Tile and pay him to do it. ;-)
    And Lisa, No, the condos that are still moving forward are the Urbana set by Fiddler's Elbow. The big project where Sugarhouse Coffee and all those other stores used to be is dead in the water too. Rumor has it the developer may just build the first level retail/commercial space and "add" the residential units on top of that later. Wha? That seems stupid to me.