December 6, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!

Jan

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

That French Style Fireplace Is Mine!

Woo woo, darlings!  I am so excited, I'm dancing in my chair!  I bought it this evening!




I wrote about how I suddenly developed this strange "urge" to get a fireplace for my bedroom during that horrid cold streak we had (it was cold even for SE Wisconsin). 

I went shopping on line, both for inspiration, and for the French style fireplace I decided I had to have, on January 4th.

I fell in love with Holly & Martin's Burbank cherry gel-fueled fireplace at Amazon and the price was under $300.  The gel-fuel produces real (but non-toxic and no need to vent) flames and up to 5,000 BTU's of heat per 13 ounce can of fuel.  The fuel burns clean and leaves no residue behind.  Each can of fuel burns for about 3 hours.  Because the logs are ceramic, real candles, or battery-operated candles, can also be used to produce the ambiance of flickering flames placed among the logs. 

I had been looking at electric fireplaces, but for the amount of money I wanted to spend I just did not find one that had a realistic looking flame and nothing in the French style mantel I was looking for!  At Amazon, when I found it, I added the Burbank to my Wish List.  At the time (January 4th), there were 7 or 8 fireplaces in stock.  I checked a few days ago, and that stock had diminished all the way down to 1 fireplace!  I thought to myself, no way is this still going to be available on pay day, and resigned myself to disappointment with a big sigh.  Vowing, nevertheless, to start saving for a more expensive unit that can move with me when I downsize a few years from now, because it is not attached to the house structure.

Tonight when I got home from work, with trepidation, I checked at the vendor and - lo and behold - there was still one Burbank cherry fireplace left for sale!  And so -- I bought it! 

I'll have to mend my slowly-falling apart front door with duck tape, LOL!  Hmmm, I need to search for door rescues with duck tape...

Honestly, I have no idea how to direct my few readers to the Pinterest thingy I started that features my inspiration fireplaces, most of them in the French style.  So I'm just going to post a few images here to give you an idea of what I had in mind, to fit within the modest confines of Maison Newton:




The fireplace mantel above is the Pearl Mantels Deauville Wood Fireplace Surround, at Haymarket, at a cost of $816.98.  Yep, JUST the wood mantel, no interior surround, no logs.  But those curves, ooh la la!   Hopefully you can see the resemblance between the Deauville and my much more modestly curved Burbank.

Most of the French-inspired fireplaces I was attracted to were either carved stone or faux-stone, but they cost more than my budget would allow:



The fireplace mantel above is the Louis XV cast stone mantel by Dracme.  It has everything I want in a French inspired fireplace mantel.  I found it at Our French Inspired Home.

After spending some time educating my eye, I knew my only option was to try for a lower cost look that still held true to the French lines, and thus, I stumbled upon Holly & Martin's close-out Burbank gel-fueled fireplace in cherry finish.  The rest, as they say, is herstory. 

If I ever get brave enough again (I painted some smaller pieces of furniture back in my younger days before the internet was invented), I may attempt to paint my yet to arrive mantel to get a stone look; or (more likely) hire a local decorative painter to transform my modest mantel into a beautiful stone sensation. These days, I paint water colors in my "spare" time, not furniture.  Despite all the tutorials I've seen on how easy it is for the average woman to paint anything with, for instance, Annie Sloan paint, I'd rather play chess against the late, great Bobby Fischer (the last American World Chess Champion, who won the title in 1973) than attempt to paint a piece of furniture! 
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Updated January 25, 2014.  Sadly, I was advised via email a few days ago by the vendor from which I purchased the fireplace that their final unit -- the one I had purchased -- was damaged in the box, and since it was a close-out, the manufacturer was not willing to repair or replace the same.  I was given the option of cancelling the order.  I did so.  I did not attempt to negotiate a lower price for a damaged product, not knowing the extent of the damage first of all and, more importantly, not being handy enough to attempt to "fix" the damage on my own.

So, no French-style fireplace for the bedroom after all.  Everything else I've seen online is far too expensive.

Now I'm stuck with six gel-fuel canisters that were delivered BEFORE I was advised of this disaster.  In all good conscience, I refuse to return them.  So I guess I'm going to have to figure out a way to use them or give them to someone in the family who will be more creative than I in using them. 

If you could see my face right now, it would be the epitomy of disappointment. 

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