And the mantel is up

The mantel is made from a barn beam that is about 120 years old. Randy didn’t stain it–only cleaned it up a bit and sealed it.  Isn’t it gorgeous?

I think the picture says it all, but just in case here are a couple more.

The shelving to the left of the fireplace is crafted from two antique cutting boards. When we purchased them, they had been joined together to form a table top, and they were so dirty that we honestly couldn’t tell that they ever been anything other than a table top.  After sanding them down, Randy attached them to a hide stretcher that he cut down to size.

16265540_10211883378506658_6249057950076690518_nI love the shelving, but it does point out that my light switches are not level. So not level. Even so, I am absolutely in love with our fireplace now. I am so glad that Randy convinced me to go ahead and do this project. Now, I just need to convince him to tackle the kitchen!



This weekend, while enjoying the oddly warm January weather, Randy and I spent a good bit of time sanding wood for projects that we have been meaning to get around to. I always joke that “work gets in the way of life.” But it is true. My day job, while only part time, seems to encroach on other parts of my life on an daily basis. However, Randy’s New Year’s Resolution is to get the business going, so we are really trying to get out in the shop and get down to business.

Thankfully, our house is going to benefit from our buckling down.  To begin with, I have this idea to turn live edges into lights. The first one we do is going to go above our dining room table. The reasoning is twofold. First, we can see how it looks and fix any issues that we find. Second, the light that currently hangs above the table only lights up when it wants to, which means that we consistently eat in half light. I can say that it is ambiance lighting, but honestly, it is just annoying. Therefore, on Sunday, we planed the piece pictured above and then I sanded it (for hours!).

And this is what it looked like when I finally finished.  It is amazing how smooth wood can get. However, it was important to me that I didn’t sand away all of the character, so I left in some bug holes and tunnels and knots.

The first picture was taken before Randy put any tung oil (a drying oil that hardens upon exposure to air and gives the wood a transparent, but rich, almost wet appearance) on the wood. The last two pictures show the wood with one coat of tung oil.

Finally, here is the entire piece with one coat of tung oil.


Stay tuned to see the finished project.  I can hardly wait to get the light kit and install this beautiful piece.

ILYM Design at Home

I love our home. It is, in my opinion, a really cute house. That being said, it was built over 20 years ago and hasn’t been updated. At all.

As a result, there is a list of things a mile long that Randy and I would love to do to make it more of “our dream home.” Some of those projects are rather significant–like pretty much gutting the hydrangea inspired kitchen and replacing it with something a little less blue and yellow.  Others are a little more simplistic–such as the fireplace.


As you can see, it was a fine fireplace–except for the fact that it was the only brick inside (or outside) the entire house. It just made no sense to have a brick fireplace.  Plus Randy and I wanted a handmade mantle from some of the wood we had purchased in the past. Therefore, one night as we watched tv, we decided to completely redo the fireplace. Originally, we planned to hire out the stonework, since neither one of us had any experience laying stone, but after two months of trying to get estimates, Randy gave up the ghost and declared that he would just do the work himself.

I am going to be 100% honest. I was not sure that us doing the work was the best idea he had ever had. I worried about the mess. I worried about the time commitment. I worried about the learning curve. Basically, I just worried.  But then Randy started the process.

It was messy as you can tell, but not too horrible. And then it became very real when he added the hearth.

Finally, he broke out the “stone.” We ended up using a product called AirStone, which I would definitely recommend. Airstone comes in two colors, a brownish family called Autumn Mountain and a more gray lot called Spring Creek. We decided to mix the two and I am so glad we did. I actually had a lot of fun putting together the design. In a way, it was like a giant puzzle. It also picks up on the hearth better than I could have imagined.


I am absolutely thrilled with the fireplace. We still have to lay quarter round and create the mantle, but I now walk into my family room and am blown away by the difference.