Fireplace Fireplace... oh how I love thee

Back to reminiscing on the apartment I will soon be putting behind me...

The decision to paint the living room mantel & fireplace Pepto-Bismol Pink was a spontaneous one, but one I always stood by.  This was the first project Jeremiah & I tackled when we moved in so many years ago, and we agreed to keep all other colors neutral in the room, intending this to be the focal point. 

Being the first thing you see when you walk in the door we knew it would make a big difference to clean it up.  And boy, was it needed!  Most landlords cover cheap white paint over everything before a new tenant moves in, and this had layers and layers - which means years and years - of tenants who didn't care what beauty was underneath!  We used all kinds of metal tools and paint thinners that summer to chip away  and get to the wrought iron below.  I got far enough on the inside square that I decided to paint detailed color blocks on the rest - my hand was blistered and close to being crippled!  Like other room re-do's I was working on for friends at the time, it wasn't on my radar to photograph for before & afters - but I regret it today! 

My love/hate affair with 392 has been a roller coaster over the years, and even continues most recently when I reflect on the pair of fireplaces I worked so hard to restore, with some success.  My must-have list for the new apartment hunt had MANTEL in bold letters.  But after reviewing it over the weekend, I started doubting my chances and reluctantly moved it to the "bonus" list. 

I will miss the built in shelve, the automatic eye catching display, and the warm feeling that even a non-working fireplace gives a room.  When I am happy with the way the mantel is dressed, I know it's only temporary.  I relish in changing the look on a regular basis; fresh flowers, candles, and knick nacks mostly, but I also had a place to display Birthday Cards and  hang the Christmas stockings with care every year. 

The beauty of design is that it is ever changing in accordance with your life!  So as I reflect on these pictures, I remind myself that there are many more mantels to decorate in my future -

After looking back at the all of the pink fun displayed over the years, who knew my 20's were so rough?  Another hot summer, years later the visible wrought iron was no longer enough.  I was ready for Round 2 of blistered fingers and taking my frustrations out on the paint. 

It was a frustrating summer for many reasons, the whole 29 turning 30 - "WTF am I doing with my life/WTF have I accomplished so far?" anxiety attacks.  392 had turned from living with best friends, to friends of friends, to the ultimate "Craig's List Roommate" apartment.   It was never intended to turn out that way, and the older I got the more I wondered when this viscous cycle would end.  I was starting to begrudge my spacious duplex, and was pretty sure it would be the demise of my social life.  I was the lease holder, so all of my extra money was spent on picking up the slack on bills, over charges, and the difference when roommates left without enough notice. 

This summer in particular, I ended up renting to two straight males - strangers to me & each other.  I guess I never realized how emasculating a big pink fireplace could be for a young man!  The occasional complaints and tongue-in-cheek jokes had offended me for the last time.  I had held onto the pink mantel for sentimental reasons, but no one ever told me I was resistant to change! 

And this was where I stopped.  Somewhere the reality of my status as tenant kicked in & I wouldn't continue with the process.  The project was left unfinished, and I covered up the remaining pink with a pure white with a lacquer finish.  Me and my extra paint - the same color that I used on the opposing wall was used for the other blocked areas.  The name of the color was Hot Stone, and I bought the gallon in the "as-is" section of Lowe's Hardware Store for only $5.99!

La vita è bella,

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