June 26, 2015

Cabin Fireplace Part 7- Building the Mantel

For those of you still with me as I get get lost on this crazy house journey, thank you.  I owe you good, fun, quality project updates, so let's take my mind off my house-reno-that-never-ends and head to my happy place; our cabin up north.  

When I last left you we had created a stacked stone fireplace and all that was left was the mantel.   I had initially built a frame out of 2x4s, but once that big, beefy stone was in it was clear my whimpy mantel wasn't going to cut it.
It wasn't going to be easy though, as no one on the internet seemed to have my same odd configuration for a mantel.  So I fell asleep a few nights building and rebuilding it in my head, until I came up with this crazy configuration. I built it out of scrap studs in our garage, (those red boards are left over from the addition-that-became-a-brand-new-deck project. )You'll see that I had to make 2 boxes, one that fit in between the shelves, and one slightly wider one that could stick out over the fireplace rock.

You might also notice that the back box was 1/2" taller than the front one.

Here's why- so I could fit a 1/2" piece of plywood on top.

Or on the bottom that is.  Once I attached the plywood, I flipped over the entire piece, so that the 1/2" plywood stuck out from the fireplace on the bottom of the mantel for a nice, clean look.

Then I wrapped the sides with 1x8's, mitered to a nice perfect corner.  (I only had to cut it about 7 times to reach perfection.)

I built the sides to be 1/2" taller than the studs, so that I could set in a 1/2" sheet of plywood to complete the top.

You'll notice we have cables running behind the TV wall, and if you look close you can see in this pic the hole we drilled where the wires go from this area to the built in shelf on the left. We'll put the last piece of barn wood up with screws so that we can always remove this piece if needed to adjust the cords.

Now that my little Frankenstein was complete, it was time to finish it.  I went back and forth a million times, and finally stained a scrap piece and let the family vote.

Dark was the winner!

And after a couple of coats of glossy poly, we finally had this:

So there you have it. The hard work is done and we're ready for the big reveal.  I promise that I won't keep you waiting long this time.  You all know the before and after is my favorite part!  So stay tuned for what is bound to be a 50+ picture post soon!

Pst- Want to follow along on the big cabin fireplace wall project from the beginning?  Or jump straight to the end?  Here you go:

Removing the Window
Part 1- Framing The Fireplace
Part 2- Building the Built-Ins
Part 3- Finishing the Built-Ins
Part 4- Installing the Built-Ins & Building Barn Wood TV Wall
Part 5- Triming Out the Built-Ins (to make them look "built in.")
Part 6- Creating a Stacked Stone Fireplace Surround 
Part 7- Building the Fireplace Mantel 
The Big Cabin Fireplace Wall Reveal 

June 2, 2015

What Going On?

So awhile back I threw you all a huge curve ball.  I dropped the bomb that we sold The Lodge, that we had bought a new project, and that we were ready to take on our new adventure.  And then I basically disappeared, with the exception of a few updates on the cabin reno. (Albeit the super exciting, fireplace-out-of-no-where reno.) But let's be honest, I went radio silent on the new project.   

So what's going on?

Well... things aren't going to plan. 

From the beginning the Hubs and I weren't sure that we could handle a reno of this magnitude without an experienced builder/general contractor.  With such a huge project ahead, we decided that the most important thing was to go with someone we knew well and could trust.  There are all sorts of horror stories out there on the internet about contractors gone bad, and we preferred to go with the guy we knew cared about us as people, so we went with a guy we've known and worked with for over a decade.

That was nearly a year ago.  Yep- June 2014. What we were told would be a 6 month project, quickly became a 9 month project.  With an updated move in date of March 1, we sold The Lodge on March 26th, which was supposed to give us plenty of time in case of delays. As of June 8th, we're still no where close to moving into the house.  12 months is right around the corner.

What went wrong?  Well, a lot of things.  But let's just say that our builder had a huge problem with managing subs, scheduling project workflow and keeping the project on track.  There was also a number of BIG mistakes on their part, that set us back in MAJOR ways.  But I'm not going to dwell.  We're moving on and moving past it.  We've basically taken over the general contractor role and are dealing with the scheduling and managing of all the subs and purchasing ourselves.  It's been a ton of work, but we're all in on trying to get this house done as soon as possible.

That's why you haven't heard from me on the blog for awhile.  I'm managing a full time job during business hours, and then spending every second outside of the office scheduling, sourcing and planning.  I don't have a ton to show you yet, but let's leave this post with a few fun sneak peaks.  I promise to give you a more complete tour soon.

What used to look like this:

Then looked like this:
Now looks like this:

And some more sneak peaks:

Thanks for your patience everybody as we learn the hard way about major renovations!  I can't wait to show you more pictures once the place starts to come together!