Wedding Invitations Are Out!

If someone asks you to marry them you better think long and hard about how bad you want to because let me just tell you, wedding planning is the worst.

Luckily I really want to marry Max.

But the latest horrific wedding planning item was getting invites out. It took me three to four full nights of work to get these assembled, tied, sealed, addressed, stamped, and mailed. And it hurt my back.

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Our invites are all from Precious Invitations and match our Save the Dates, which I posted about here. I loved Precious Invitations and couldn’t recommend them more. When I had an envelope mishap, they expedited 50 new ones to me within two days. Great customer service.

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Our invites basically consist of three cards, the invite, reception card, and RSVP. I tucked the two smaller cards under the large one with a jute string because it would have cost a million dollars to get envelope backs (an extra flap of paper to tuck the smaller cards into).

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And I also tucked the RSVP into the RSVP envelopes to keep it looking classy.

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I used our stamp on the RSVP envelope as well as on the back of the large invite envelope as a return address.

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And then I ruined my poor little fingers writing addresses on each of them.

Needless to say I am glad it is done.

On to the next task (there are many).

Let me know if you have any questions.

 

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The Master Ensuite Reno is Underway!

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Awhile ago we got a new vanity top, painted the vanity, installed a new faucet, a new mirror, and painted in the ensuite. More recently I added some art. And it looked really great from one angle. But there were still some glaringly ugly features remaining after that Phase 1 makeover.

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Like the floor. And the almond toilet. So when I found some hex tile on a recent trip to Thunder Bay I decided we should commence the Phase 2 reno.

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I started with a backsplash for this vanity because I had subway tile left so why the heck not.

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I ended up doing just the back wall here and went three rows high because the mirror was higher here.

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Then we removed the toilet. This was not difficult but it was HEAVY. Max just unscrewed it from the floor and unhooked the water, flushing it to empty it as much as possible.

Then you’re supposed to put in this powder to gel up the remaining water so you can carry it out without making a mess. We never got that memo. And we had no powder gel stuff.

So Max lifted it up and I pulled a garbage bag up around it and the water pouring into the bag and it was gross.

But it didn’t drip once on the floor.

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We cleaned up the wax ring and put a paper towel in the hole so no sewer gas can come up into the house. And then we started to remove the linoleum.

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And it was the worst. Almost all glued down and needed to be scraped. We would score the linoleum and then use a multi-tool with a blade on it to pry it up.

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And in just four plus! hours it was gone. AND THIS ROOM IS TINY SERIOUSLY.

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We then installed cement board (1/4 inch thick) on to the subfloor to prep for tile, using mortar and screws to secure it. We finished the whole room in cement board and are ready now to start tiling soon!

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Let me know if you have any questions.

 

How to Tile a Backsplash (It’s Super Easy!)

I apologize some of the photos in this post are dark. My flash died (the speedlite I rave about) and I need to get some new batteries!

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A little while ago, when we replaced the countertop and faucet in the powder room, which I talked about in this post, I decided a subway tile backsplash would be great in here. We ended up finding subway tiles on the shelf in Home Hardware (unheard of!) and then we just had to borrow a tile saw. Which turned out to take much longer than anticipated.

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But we did it.

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I started by papering off the vanity so that I didn’t get mortar all over it.

The only other things I really needed for this job were tile spaces (I used 1/8) and mortar.

I already had grout, a grout float, grout sponge, and tiling trowel from a previous floor job.

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So, not knowing what we were really doing, we checked to make sure the vanity top was level and used that as a guide to start placing tiles. I would mortar the wall and Max would back-butter the tiles.

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We would just stick the tile on and put a spacer between each one. As I went I peeled back the paper where I has finished and there was no more mess so that it didn’t get stuck under the tiles.

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We only had to cut a few tiles, and Max would just measure and then bring it to the tile saw.

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Most of our cuts were for the corner and were relatively easy.

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I decided to do a brick pattern and therefore did the top row staggered by 1/2 a tile. I also decided two rows was my maximum height given the space the mirror takes up.

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Above is the finished tile job before grouting.

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I put down painters tape to avoid making a mess and then did some grouting! I love grout because it makes everything look so clean and finished. I think it is the difference maker in a tile project.

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I just smush the grout in with my grout float and wipe it with a sponge.

And that is where I left off! I still have to caulk it (I bought caulking that matches the grout colour) and reinstall trim but that will have to wait until we do a couple other tiling jobs because I only have one tube of the caulk for three different areas!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Coffee Table Makeover and Yardwork 2017

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On the last Saturday of each month our town has a “Curbside Swap” in which people leave their old crap on the side of the road and I drive around and pick up ALL OF IT.

I have a problem.

But sometimes I get awesome stuff, like this wood coffee table that I thought would be perfect out at camp. It just needed a bit of work first.

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Max did a quick sanding of it for me to start, just so the paint had something to stick to.

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I used My Favourite Sweater by Beauti-tone, because I wanted a neutral and I had a lot of it. I also planned to paint the cabinets at camp this same colour so it would match.

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I did a first coat, let that dry for maybe an hour, and then added a second coat.

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To finish it up I did a quick couple coats of varathane just to protect it. This spray version is super easy, and leaves no streaks!

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It is now in the cabin and looks great. I may have to post some pictures of it and the painted cabinets in the future.

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On the yardwork front Max and I planted our gardens, added some flowers, did some weeding, and added new mulch. You can see our huge post on yardwork from last year with before and after pictures here, and this year was pretty similar. My flower boxes on the porch are my favourite because there are never any weeds thanks to their suspension in the air!

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I also did a bit of a cleanup of the porch, and vacuumed the whole thing, changed out my wreath and added a new mat.

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Let me know if you have any questions.

Another New Vanity Topper and a Free Faucet to Boot!

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Upon moving into the house, the main floor powder room was one of the first rooms we fixed up. This is the bathroom most visitors and guests use, so I wanted to make it presentable right away. We gave everything a fresh coat of paint and re-did the floor, but the vanity top was still left unbelievably yellow.

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YELLOW.

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Seriously it was not cute, especially with the new cool grey-white wall colour.

I waited a long time to get a new topper for this one because I want a very specific type of faucet (aka expensive) and it didn’t make much sense to me to buy a new topper and put the old gross faucet back on it?

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But when I came across this square trough-like topper (exactly what I wanted) at Lowes on sale $50 off, I had to go for it.

AND THEY WERE ALSO HAVING A FREE FAUCET PROMO.

So by buying the topper I got a free faucet. Not exactly my dream fixture but certainly better than putting the old one back on while I save my pennies for the dream faucet.

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Max’s first step in installing the new topper was removing the old one. Unfortunately the plumbing didn’t want to be disconnected.

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The parts were all pretty corroded. So he changed out the topper but did not hook it up until he went and got new connections the next day. I’m not going to lie I have no idea what any of these parts are but he fixed it so I’m happy.

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He just popped the old top off.

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And set the new one on.

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He had to make some cuts on the interior of the cabinet to make the pipes fit with the new sink but you will never be able to tell unless you stick your head under there.

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He also had to remove the trim to get it on so we still have to replace that.

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And once the trim is replaced I am going to have to do a bit of caulking.

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My original plan was to paint the wall where the lip had been, but the more I thought about it a small subway tile backsplash would look really neat there. Since there is already cement board up, this should be a fairly easy project (in theory) and a nice little foray into tiling, so stay tuned for that as soon as I manage to borrow a tile saw.

We ended up getting a whole box of subway tile off the shelf at Home Hardware, which is unheard of in our town, so I was happy. Stay tuned for that project.

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In the meantime Max installed my new FREE faucet and I am living with a stylish green strip behind the vanity.

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The new faucet is just a brushed nickel builder grade special, but certainly better than our previous faucet. Max also reinstalled all the drawers I promise, I guess I just missed that picture.

Let me know if you have any questions!

 

Birch Candles for the Wedding!

As part of our wedding decor DIYs I wanted to make some birch candles that I had seen all over Pinterest. 

I didn’t have Max make a ton, as I see us using these more infrequently – maybe just on the cake table and guest book table or something. 


He started by cutting the log into pieces. I had him make seven total and he just used his mitre saw for this. 



He did seven inch and ten inch logs. 


Then he used this drill bit that makes holes to cut into the top of the logs. 


The bit was just a bit larger than a tea light. 


Once they were cut he used an exacto knife to clean it up. 



He also had to make sure the hole was just deep enough that the tea light would sink in but not too low. 


I’m very happy with how these turned out and think they will look very cute at the wedding! 

Let me know if you have any questions. 

A Beautiful Rustic Wood Mantel

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When I left off on the fireplace project in this post, we had a pretty much complete white shiplap fireplace. This blank slate was desperate for a rustic wood mantel.

Unfortunately, old wood is not so easy to find where I live. My brother, the Kijiji master, managed to snag what he thought were two 8 x 8 beams, about 10 ft long each in Thunder Bay. When he made the trek out to pick them up, he discovered they were actually 6 x 6 (but rough cut, so legitimately 6″) and twenty feet long!

He loaded them up and took them both from the guy (they were free after all and the guy wanted them gone) but one was so rotten he ended up tossing it. The other one had some bad spots, and it was twenty feet long and wouldn’t be easy to get the four hours home to Sioux Lookout, so he got a handsaw (he doesn’t have any power tools in his apartment in Thunder Bay, obviously) and sawed off about half the length.

This left me with about 8 to 10 feet to work with. I actually prefer the rough cut 6″ width, I think 8″ would have been too much and may have needed some planing down. Unfortunately my camera was dead so I didn’t take many pictures of the original beam, but I do have a nice iPhone picture of Max sawing it down to 44.75″- I just let him know which part of the beam I wanted to use and he turned it on his mitre saw and cut through four times.

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Remember when all my pictures were terrible quality?

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Once he had it cut down for me I sanded the bejesus out of it, using my mouse palm sander (aka my mom’s mouse that I stole, but whatever).

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I made sure to pay extra attention to the corners and edges so I could really get that worn look – though the wood was already pretty beautiful and worn anyway. I sanded until I couldn’t feel my hands anymore and then started beating up the beam and testing stain.

I have beaten up a lot of wood at this point and my process is nothing special, I just swing away with hammers and crowbars to make dents and divots, making sure the edges get a lot of attention.

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In my mind I knew I wanted a medium brown stain, and I had thought of using Minwax Provencial, which I assumed I had.

I didn’t.

Since it was Good Friday and all the stores were closed, I thought I would try my hand at mixing up a medium brown using what I had. It did not go well. Above, is my mess. Oops.

I don’t think I could recreate it if I tried, but I ended up using a mixture of Ipswich Pine and Special Walnut, both by Minwax, and then sanding it down a bit to cut out the orange that was coming up and soften the brown a bit, and then dry brushing some Special Walnut on top to finish.

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It was scary and took much to long but it worked out.

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Since the ends were fresh cut I knew they would soak up the stain much darker, so to make sure it went on even I used the sander that had been used to sand off some of the stain on the edges to lightly transfer the colour, if that makes sense.

I was pretty pleased with myself for that one because I had been really worried about these ends.

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All the while I made sure the beam would match the tone of the flooring and wasn’t pulling too orange.

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I finished with two light coats of satin Polyurethane and let it dry overnight.

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Then I had Max bring it inside so we could install it. We actually put it up on the ledge to make sure it would work and given the short hangover it was almost fully supported. I decided some glue would be the best way to attach it.

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We picked up some of this 4000 glue that is especially good at bonding wood to wood. I had used some similar heavy duty glue on my firepit on the concrete blocks, and that thing is SOLID. I knew it would work here too.

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I applied the glue to the ledge, making sure to get a lot of coverage but not go to close to the edge so that it wouldn’t  ooze out of the sides and make a mess. I made sure to do this myself because I lost all trust of Max with a caulk gun after he did the silicone in the kitchen.

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We just pressed it into place and then added some big wrenches as weight on top.

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And now, I can finally call it DONE.

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I added some little décor pieces up there for now, but I really want some fat candlesticks for the mantel. I am most excited to decorate this for Christmas, it will be very exciting to have a real fireplace to hang our stockings!

Let me know if you have any questions.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

Some Final Painting/Trim and Calling the Fireplace (Almost) Done!

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When I left off on the fireplace in this post, we had made it to about this point (above), with the fireplace itself basically complete, but the wall behind it needing a new coat of paint and some trim reinstalled.

You can see in the photo above that there were a lot of paint colours going on, as well as the new drywall patch needing to be painted. When I bought more paint to touch up around the new lights we installed, it really didn’t match (which you can see if you look close at the light). The solution was to paint “corner to corner.” With this method, the theory is that since light hits all walls differently anyway, you won’t be able to tell if there are slight differences in colour like you can with a patch.

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While Max was out at a fire meeting one night, I managed to get the whole wall done (on the other side of the doorway as well). I waited for that to dry, and then moved the stuff back up against that wall.

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Max worked on getting the trim back up and then it was “done!”

Well, except for a mantel.

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I love the way the fireplace contrasts with the wall.

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I picked up this cute little distressed wooden box with a lid at Homesense and put it on top where the mantel will eventually be. I thought this would be a great place to keep the fireplace remote so we don’t lose it.

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This is what it looks like on. Our fireplace can change colours, and I like the blue best (obviously).

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Now obviously, I just need a rustic wooden mantel to finish it off. The place that sells scrap and reclaimed lumber, Salvage Supermarket in Winnipeg, is only open Monday to Friday. Since we’re usually only there on weekends, I was trying to figure out how we could make it work to pick up some old beams for a mantel. As far as I knew, there was no place in Thunder Bay that sells reclaimed wood, but I texted my brother to check.

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He agreed that he only knew of auto and metal salvage in Thunder Bay, but put the request on Kijiji. Less than 24 hours later I had two free 8×8 beams.

DEALS!

He is bringing them home to me over Easter weekend so hopefully they work out. I can’t wait to see this fireplace completely done. As a reminder, below is my inspiration image. I recently found out it is actually Gunnar’s house from the show Nashville.

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Let me know if you have any questions.

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

Building a DIY Fireplace Part 2: Layers of Paint and Shiplap 

When I pressed publish on my last post (which just so happened to be the framing of the fireplace that precedes this one) I got a neat little congratulatory note from WordPress on my 100th post!

Coincidentally, today also marks the one year anniversary of the creation of this blog!

I can’t believe it’s been a year and I have already made 100 posts. I love having a record of everything we’ve accomplished this last year and look forward to continuing to document it.

That being said, on to the next instalment of the fireplace saga:


When I left off in the framing post we had added the layer of underlay over the whole thing and had a big pink fireplace.


I painted on a layer of primer and then a layer of Blank Page by Beauti-tone for a nice white base. This way the gap between the shiplap boards wouldn’t be pink.


Then Max and I started attaching the shiplap, which is just another layer of mahogany underlay ripped into 3.5 inch wide boards.


We used nickels as spacers and made our way down from the mantel, making sure to check the firebox still fit once we added boards around it.


Once we made it almost to the floor we started going up from the mantel.


We went around the niche and then went back and filled it in with horizontal shiplap once we were at the top.


At this point we also added some quarter round trim at the bottom where there was too small of a gap for another row of shiplap. I think it actually ended up better with the trim because it helps to ground it.


Then it was time for me to paint it. I did two full coats of Blank Page by Beauti-tone and then a lighter third coat to ensure the best coverage.


I had to do a ton of caulking and made a great mess trying to smooth out all the rough or unfinished edges. I caulked between the first and second coats of paint so that if any of the gaps could be filled with paint they would.


The next day when it was all dry, Max and I hung the TV on the wall mount we bought, and fed the cords through the chimney area to a power bar we mounted to the inside of the fireplace with Velcro.


This way we could eliminate as many cords as possible.


We drilled a small hole through the side and brought the power bar cord out to the nearby plug. The cord is white like the fireplace and blends nicely.


And then it was time to put the firebox back in!


We were loving the progress at this point but the wall behind the fireplace still needed to be painted and trim reinstalled to the wall. Stay tuned for the final post on the fireplace which should be up soon!

Oh and we also have to get a mantel but that may have to wait.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.

Building a DIY Fireplace Part 1: Framing 

I am so excited to be able to say that our fireplace project is almost done. When we first looked at the house and decided to buy it, literally the only thing on our list that it didn’t have was a fireplace.

It’s just something I always wanted, mostly for the ambiance, and let’s face it, mantle décor.

I knew I would eventually want to add one, but I never expected it would be so soon.

When we lost our buffet and had to move our TV stand in the dining room for the buffet storage, leaving our TV on a nightstand in the living room, this project became a lot more urgent. I reflected on what I wanted in a fireplace in this post a little bit ago, and now it is here! I initially thought we would just buy an electric fireplace (I love electric because I’m notoriously bad at lighting fires – so the remote start is huge for me), but when I was searching I couldn’t find anything quite my style. That’s when I decided we could build one from scratch.

No big deal.

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I ordered this electric fireplace insert from Costco, which unfortunately arrived broken, but they sent us a new log set and we got right to framing anyway.

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I started with a picture in my head and a pretty crude sketch, and Max forced me to come up with some measurements to add to it. Then he used 2 x 4’s to frame it out, starting with the boards screwed to the floor, and then the back wall. I also drew on my wall a whole bunch to figure out how tall I wanted the firebox, mantle, etc. I needed visuals, okay?

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Next he framed out the height of the mantle and the height of the firebox, which he reinforced with vertical 2 x 4’s and made it two 2 x 4’s deep to support the firebox.

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Then we had to test and make sure it fit, obviously.

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The log set was still broken at this point but it fir perfectly and it worked!

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Next he framed out the “chimney” area to the ceiling, which was set back from the mantle.

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And then I had him add this complete pain – a niche for where the TV would be mounted.

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He framed the niche completely and we added the firebox back in and called it a night for the first day of work.

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The next time we worked on it we had to add the underlay to give it some shape and act as a base layer. Max cut as large of sections as made sense, and nailed them in.

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This took a ridiculously long time. Finally, he got the whole thing covered, and we had a big pink fireplace.

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And that’s where I am going to end Part 1! The next step was painting this underlay and then getting to work on the shiplap which is the most exciting part (in my opinion)!

Let me know if you have any questions and stay tuned for Part 2!

Linked up via Thrifty Décor Chick.