Friday, October 25, 2019

Repainted Fireplace

Repainted fireplace in black and white. The after picture.We have done another paint job — we repainted our fireplace mantel and brick. Above is the finished version.

Repainted fireplace. Different angle. The after picture.While we enjoyed our fireplace, we thought that it might be improved from an aesthetic point of view.

Painting the fireplace. Work in progress.The mantel is old-fashioned and we didn’t want to get into changing it. White paint does wonders for it.

Brick painted in shiny black.The brick was old and very dirty and it was pretty much uncleanable.

Old and dirty brick.We decided to paint it black to match it with the glass door insert. The insert was kind of clashing after it was installed.

The old look. The before picture.I think it came out stellar. We also are planning to turn that single wall into a contrast wall with some greige paint in a near future. And we’re still considering options for the bottom section of the fireplace.

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

Living Area v0.9

Family room. View from the staircase leading to this floor.It’s now been almost 8 months since we’ve moved into our new house. All this time has been well spent on making it truly ours. We didn’t bring any furniture with us. Now we had a chance to start and style our house anew. It changed quite a bit from where it has started.

This is another post in series of posts about how we set everything up, following the recently published update on our kids’ rooms. I’ve taken these pictures several weeks ago and in that time they’ve became slightly outdated — we’ve finally put a bunch of art and paintings up.

Family room. Looking from the fireplace in the opposite direction. Hallway leads to all the bedrooms.The centerpiece of our family room is our enormous orange leather sectional. This was one of our purchases on Wayfair and one downside buying furniture online is that you can’t really test how comfortable the piece will be. Turns out it’s not, because of the shape of the backrest. However it was easily remedied by a couple of puffy pillows.

The ottoman was also not attached, so it was sliding out of our preferred place, so we screwed it together with a couple of brackets underneath. However it does look stellar and after a few modifications that we have done it’s very functional. We use this place as our main evening TV watching location.

Looking from the family room into the dining room.Speaking of TVs — we’ve ended up mounting them on the wall and are not using any additional furniture. Our old TV is mounted in our kitchen eating area, and our newer one1 is in our family room right across from our orange sectional. Both TV are powered by Apple TVs hidden behind the screens themselves. No wires, no nothing. Family room TV has Philips Hue Play bars attached to it.

Originally we were trying to hire somebody to put them up, but eventually gave up on that and I mounted them up myself. We’ve probably saved a bunch of money and did them perfectly to our liking.

Dining room. Looking at the opposite wall.I’ve written earlier about our fireplace, but since then we’ve done yet another thing to it. We’ve actually installed glass doors onto the opening. The problem was that after we would make a fire we would end up keeping the flute in the chimney open all throughout the cold nights because the fire would still be still smoldering. And we end up losing all the warm air that we generated and then some.

So now we can close the glass doors and leave the flute open. Another thing that we discovered was that even with the flute closed there was a major draft happening that became very apparent after the doors were installed, but before they were sealed on the sides. So overall it’s a good investment for winters and summers, even when the fire is not going.

Living room, temporary loaded with patio furniture set.Another thing that we did soon after moving in was changing really old-fashioned chandeliers to a set of very modern ones. In fact we’ve got a ton of compliments on them. These were a “new house” gift from our parents.

And we also put up the curtains on all our windows making the space so much more cozy. The family room curtain was an old one from our Brooklyn apartment that we eventually replaced, but it’s found its place on our window again. And the living room curtains were a gift from our parents in Belarus.

Living room from another angle.For the dinning room we originally ordered a set from Wayfair for quite a bit of money. And then a day after we did that we went to IKEA. And out of a ton of furniture stores that we actually visited IKEA had the best looking modern wooden table that we’ve seen for a really good price. We were slightly disappointed about that.

And then Wayfair delivered their furniture. Beside the fact that more than half the pieces were completely broken during shipment and the fact that half the set got delayed by three months the actual quality of veneer on this furniture was paper-thin. And then they sent replacement for the broken parts that also came in broken.

Living room, showing the door leading to a covered porch.So we were glad to just cancel the order at that point and order a table and a set of leather chairs from IKEA. Couldn’t be happier. And then on another trip to IKEA we bought the final touches to our dining room — big round mirrors done in the same color of wood as our table. Initially we were thinking of putting up a big rectangular horizontal mirror, but a pair of these ended up looking much more interesting, we think.

Our living room was originally fairly empty and Alёna actually liked the idea of a lot of open space, but when the winter came around we moved our patio furniture — sofa, table and the armchair — indoors. And it ended up being very useful and comfortable in its current location. For the summer we’re going to move it back to the patio and are going to buy something more permanent for our living room.

Living room, looking toward the dining room and kitchen bar.We also managed to find a large pot for a plant in orange-teal theme that we have going. This plant used to be tiny when we originally got it — it would fit in a tea cup. This is the second time that we had to replant it and we’re hoping its going to go through this move OK.

And the kitchen bar is the place where we eat our breakfasts, lunches and dinners, unless we’re hosting somebody. It ended up being extremely convenient. Much more better than a set up we had in our apartment — eating everything on a living room coffee table and moving all the plates and dishes back and forth between that and the kitchen. The granite counter is much easier to clean among other things.

The bar chairs were left by the previous house owners and we’re fine with them for the time being. We might update them to something more modern looking when we have a chance. We did remove that metal contraption from the wall and replaced it with a painting.

We’re loving how it all came out and are enjoying our house and all this space very much.

  1. SONY XBR-55X900F. []

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

Grate Wall of Fire

Vertical fireplace grate by Grate Wall of Fire.Another small update on our fireplace. The days have gotten cold and we thought that our wood burning fireplace could be a great source of additional heat. However even with a fairly big fires we weren’t feeling much warmth coming into the house.

When we had our chimney cleaned the guys doing the work recommended looking into Grate Wall of Fire products — specifically a large metal plate that goes agains the back wall of a fireplace — reflective fireback.

Our setup. 1 inch think 31 inch fireback and M-7 vertical 31 inch fireplace grate.So we measured our fireplace and ordered 1 inch think 31 inch long fireback. The thing ended up weighting more than 100 pounds. Alёna and I barely managed to put it inside.

Sadly one of the legs has gotten damaged during shipping. I called the company and they have fabricated a pair of custom legs to attach to our fireback that same very night and sent them out. And they gave us a 25% discount on the fireback because of the hassle. Amazing customer service.

After using our new fireback for a couple of days we decided to buy a new vertical 31 inch grate to replace our old horizontal one. We LOVE our new set up. First of all all the wood burns right agains the fireback. Adding new wood is also great — just throw it over the grate and it goes on top of you fire without other logs falling all over the place.

Pretty and functional.Yesterday we gave it a full test and our family room eventually has gotten quite hot — in fact it was too hot to sit on the fireplace end of sofa. Eventually the fire went out at around 10pm and we left glowing ash in the fireplace when we went to sleep. In the morning when we went to close the flute the fireback was still warm to the touch.

Again, highly highly recommend the products from Grate Wall of Fire.

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Wood Burning Fireplace

Our first use of our wood burning fireplace.Our house came with a nice wood burning fireplace located in our family room. We never had one anywhere, nor had any experience with one, so weren’t really sure how to use it properly.

Family room fireplace and look into our dining room.However, yesterday, we finally had our chimney cleaned and inspected by a local company and Alёna — while I was at work — had asked them a number of questions on how to properly and safely use it.

Warmth in November.We decided not to wait long and took the chance to light a fire today and are enjoying its warmth on this cool November night.
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