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  • Writer's pictureDianne Miley

Staying Warm

"And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?"

Luke 12:28

Happy November! Is it cold where you live? Monday was 82 degrees and we had the AC on. Today it's a chilly 45 and we cranked up the heat!

In super happy news, our new fireplace is done! It's electric -- more for looks than heat to protect grandbabies' little fingers and also to save space while keeping the build simple and less expensive.

Our 'new' old house had the back of an ugly, asymmetrical chimney in the middle of the living room. I thought, "I'll figure out some way to make it look good." Because this house is right down the street from my son and his family and has so many positive qualities and potential.

Like this wrap around porch:

And a great big living room, an AMAZING big kitchen and pantry, a cool old clawfoot tub, and a spacious yard at the end of a dead end road with a church behind us and a country feel -- yet in the middle of a small town and walking distance to my son.

But back to the ugly chimney. Here it is at the beginning of construction:

The left side of the chimney is straight while the right side flares out to a point below the granite shelf. Some mason had a weird creative streak. ;-)

The other side of this chimney has an old wood burning stove. That area connects to the kitchen and will be our dining room. I whitewashed the bricks. Note my practice area.

As you can see, we also built a wall to close off one corner of the living room and create an office. More details in future posts when it's done!

And now.... here's how we redesigned the ugly chimney into a new fireplace:

We love it! I designed the idea. Our contractor built a box of stud walls, drywalled it, and covered it with stone tile.

Please excuse the footprints on our new floors. Workers are traipsing through as I write this.

Now let me tell you a little story about that mantel. I went to an old lumber mill that's been around since the 1800s. I asked for an old rustic beam for a fireplace mantel. The man took me out back past a falling down farmhouse and a pasture of ponies to a pavillion filled with weathered lumber.

He showed me a 4x4" pine beam for $25. Such a deal, but I wanted something larger. Rummaging around, I found a 4x8" weathered gray beam. He said it was oak and priced it at 50 bucks.

I agreed. But you must be thinking... that mantel isn't gray, weathered oak.

Ha! You're right! When he cut the beam to the length I needed, he found that it was WALNUT.

YES, I still wanted it! When he planed the back for a smooth surface to attach, the grain was so beautiful and dark...

Ah, who needs a rustic old beam? Not when you can have a gorgeous walnut mantel like this! He planed the other sides and I couldn't believe how beautiful it was.

He charged me $50 plus tax and loaded this super heavy chunk of wood into my SUV. Then he looked me in the eye and said, "You got one heck of a deal. That's a $400 piece of wood all day long."

SCORE!!! My favorite story of this renovation. So far! :) (Then there's the scratch on my splurge vanity that saved me $150 -- and it's on the side against the wall!)

More reno stories and pics to come. We're still sleeping in the guest room, but our master bath and bedroom closet should be done soon. Praying that we can move into our bedroom next week so we can get the guest room ready before Thanksgiving!

Meanwhile, we've lit the fire and are staying warm. And slowly but surely, getting back to writing. God is good!

"How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours!"

Psalm 116:5

How are YOU staying warm on this chilly November day? Please comment!

God's blessings,


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Christina Sinisi
Christina Sinisi
Nov 02, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Yay, I love renovation stories!

Dianne Miley
Dianne Miley
Nov 02, 2023
Replying to

Me too! The before and after pics are so fun!

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