A bit of heartbreak

Before I show you the awesomeness that is our new kitchen floor, I have a somewhat sad renovation story to share. Remember, about a month ago, when I said the kitchen fireplace was my favorite part of the house, and that I couldn't wait to see it all cleaned up and repointed?

Famous last words. The brick man who built our front porch took one look at it and shook his head. He said the bricks were so dried out and the structure so poorly designed that it was only a matter of time before it would collapse. COLLAPSE! The wood mantel, which was built into the structure (and which I thought gave it great character), was a huge weak spot. My fireplace would have to be partially dismantled and rebuilt. Sadness.

So he came two Saturdays ago to rebuild it. All parties were aware of my feelings about the fireplace, so I expected that it would just be rebuilt in the original style. However, I wasn't there when he made all his recommendations... so when I saw the finished product I was NOT at ALL expecting to see this:

I cried. For like 45 minutes at least. (In my defense, I am pregnant.) I mean, it's a nice fireplace and all--I could see that. But it had no character, and it looked nothing at all like what was there before. And, because it had been my favorite feature of the house, I felt completely defeated about this whole renovation project and felt really resentful about the 3 years we've spent working on it--without a kitchen and many of the other normal things that most Americans have.

It was not my best moment as a renovator or a person. (Can I blame hormones?)

It took me a couple hours to come around to the fact that this house is only that -- a house. It's such an inconsequential thing! No one was hurt, nothing collapsed. In fact, we'd escaped a potentially dangerous future situation. I mean seriously -- a collapse would've been really, really bad. So I started feeling like a jerk for being so upset, and I decided to suck it up and move on.

And though I harbored some ill will against the brick man for a day or two for ruining my favorite part of the house, I learned later that the original fireplace design was truly not a good idea to try to duplicate because of its structural flaws. So, though it was drastically different from what we had, this was the best we could do with what we had to work with as a base structure. My beloved fireplace was unsafe, so we got a better solution (that I'm sure I will actually grow to like at some point).

So that's that. In the stages of grief, I've reached acceptance.


  1. A house gets its character from what goes on inside it, not what it is built from. I have a feeling someone is going to grow up in that kitchen loving the fireplace.

  2. I would still be crying
    no, wait, that's not really helping
    but it's all... so... straight!... new!
    sigh, safety first, of course

  3. The brickwork is flawless though! He did an amazing job, even though it wasn't your dream fireplace :( I'm sorry that happened but I do think it's really nice and well done! And yes, please blame hormones! I blamed them for many many things. It's so true... and after that baby comes, you can still blame them for aboue 3-6 months- seriously :)

  4. EK:

    That is an imposing structure. I see your point.
    I think it will likely become your favorite part again. It is, after all, a fire place in a kitchen. Not many people can say that. I can also see a little peek of cement floor. I'm all adither.


  5. Aw, that IS sad. The fireplace was so beautiful. But, you can add a fabulous mantel (and maybe whitewash the brick?) and it will still be awesome to have a fireplace in your kitchen. :-)

  6. I'm with everyone else - glad you had a good cry to mourn the loss of the original fireplace. I'm learning that lesson as well...once you start renovating a very old house some of the favorite things are aspects that just don't pass today's safety standards. I think you'll be able to incorporate this new fireplace into your overall design and make it special for your family!

  7. Lindsey's right -- focus on the good things, like how beautiful that brickwork is, and how you now have a blank canvas upon which to design your kitchen. A less characterized fireplace could be a good thing; it won't take attention away from your kitchen's awesomeness.

    And yes, blame hormones! They're absolutely a factor in this. *sends good vibes your way*

  8. Thanks for the sympathy everyone! Can't win 'em all. Or even most of 'em.

  9. Damn, that was one beaut of a fireplace. And the new one will be too. Promise.

  10. Were they able to salvage any bricks or the wood of the mantle? I imagine you could so something clever with them to help preserve your memories.


Thanks for reading! I love your thoughts, feedback and suggestions. Keep 'em coming!