Monday, August 14, 2017

Walnut Fireplace Surround


Hey, you know what takes a beautiful antique mantle with a white marble surround to the next level of eye candy?!? A walnut coat.


I know it's a little early in the season to be talking about coats, but can you deal with the prettiness?! 

OK, now that I've gone and showed you the final results let's dig into the details of this final element in the rejuvenation of this 100+ year old mantle. After we got the mantle painted, things were looking really good, but there were some holes on each side of the mantle from where the old fireplace used to sit.

We've known about the holes since we mounted the mantle earlier this year, so we've had some time to contemplate the fix. There was always the option to repair the sheetrock and paint the walls but as the mantle really started to come to life with the marble + paint, we started dreaming of adding a final layer to the scene in the way of natural wood. It just seemed like the perfect finishing touch. 

We knew we wanted to use walnut and we knew we wanted that walnut to be thick so the frame would be substantial enough to look proportional around the mantle itself. We had heard about a wood store from the folks at Highland Woodworking and popped by in early July to see if we could find what we were looking for. 

The wood store is called Carlton McLendon, Inc. and IT...IS...AWESOME! Because I design cabinetry for a living I'm a big fan of wood, but this place takes the love of wood to the next level. There is literally wood everywhere in every species and size you can imagine. Not surprisingly they had exactly what we were looking for in a big stack so we were able to sift through and pick the pieces we wanted.

These were the winners:


After that, they took the wood downstairs and ran it through the plainer. This machine smooths the top and bottom of each piece of wood, and makes it flat and symmetrical. Here is Brent catching the wood as it came through. This step was really cool because the beautiful graining and color started to show through immediately.


Unfortunately Carlton McLendon's didn't have a joiner which is the machine that cleans up the sides of the wood. This step is very important because we needed the boards to be the same size and STRAIGHT. Lucky for me, I have some super talented, woodworking friends, specifically Richard Oliver, an engineer at Bell, who rigged up a jig on the table saw to trim the wood evenly. The pieces ended up being 2" thick by roughly 5" wide.

With the wood all trimmed up we started the sanding process. Brent sanded all three pieces with 150 grit paper.


Next, we applied a coat of Tung Oil. We landed on tung oil as our finish of choice after talking with the guys at Highland Woodworking.  Natural walnut is just so beautiful, so we knew we didn't want to stain it, but rather just protect it and bring out its natural grain. They suggested Tung Oil, so that's what we went with. We applied a coat, let it dry for 24 hours, sanded it down (1st round with a 220 grit), applied tung oil, let it dry for 24 hours, sanded it down (2nd round with a 320 grit) and then applied our third coat of tung oil, let it dry for 24 hours and sanded it down a final time (3rd round with a 400 grit) with one more application of tung oil at the end.


Once the boards were completely dry, Brent applied wood glue to the back....


And then installed each piece, starting with the sides. Thank God Croix was willing to lend his muscles to the cause. 


So, because Before and Afters are just so satisfying to see, let's take a walk down memory lane...

The original fireplace:


                

The 100 year old mantle fresh out of my Papa-Jack & Grandmother's garage:


And finally........


Boom! We are proud of this one, she has come along way!

All photos are my own. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Chit Chat ((August 17'))


August has been a busy month so far! Last week we had work + life the first half of the week and then on to a little family trip to Texas. My brother-in-law Jimmy's Mimi had a 90th birthday in Houston on Saturday, so we made a fun trip out of it by adding on San Antonio, Austin and Waco. This was my first time to visit Texas so I was all about seeing as much as possible in our short time. Each city was cool and fun in it's own way from the Alamo and River Walk in San Antonio to some delicious food and bats in Austin (yes, bats - google it!) to the charm that is Magnolia in Waco and finally a birthday party in Houston for the cutest 90 year old I know. We had a great time but we were excited to get back to Atlanta to see our little Croix Boy!

19 months old.
We did a LOT of walking in Texas and I wore these shoes every day. I brought tennis shoes as a back up in case my feet needed a break, but the sandals were comfortable and my feet were stylish and happy the whole time. For $49.50 that's a win.

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Before we get off the Texas subject we HAVE to discuss Magnolia. Are you guys Fixer Upper Fans? To be honest, I'm a new fan as I don't watch a ton of HGTV, but my Mother-In-Law, Cindy gave me their book for Mothers Day and I loved it. After that we started watching the show and Brent and I both really enjoy it. We were all super excited for the Waco portion of our trip and I'm happy to report that all things Magnolia did not disappoint. We got cupcakes at the bakery, shopped at the store, toured around the Seed & Feed, kicked a ball on the lawn and took a ton of pictures. It's just a happy place that is so well done and layered in consideration and inspiration.


The store was full of all kinds of good stuff and I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonably priced it was. It was hot and it was crowded but it was worth the drive and somewhere I would definitely recommend going if you get the chance.

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Let's talk food for a minute. Do you guys like pizza? If so, you need to try Varuni Napoli in Atlanta.


This place is not new, but it is easily our favorite pizza joint in the city. The pizza is made to order in a wood burning oven and it's the closest thing to the real deal italian pizza I have tasted here in Atlanta. Sometimes Brent and I go here, sit at the bar and watch them make the pizza, mentally taking notes in hopes the same tasty results will one day come out of our pizza oven.

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I found out about a little trick on Pinterest and now I have found myself using the site more than ever. Obviously Pinterest is a great place to get inspiration and ideas for anything and everything; house projects, outfits, workouts, recipes, costumes, etc. They have it all. But my biggest qualm with the site was you never could figure out where anything was from. Before, if you like a paint color, a piece of hardware, an earring, etc...you could click the picture and it may take you to a retail site, a blog, or just nowhere but often times I could never figure out where I could get what I was seeing and liking. It was frustrating and really turned me off from the site all together. But THEN I learned this trick....

Ok, we are going to use this pin of our dining room from our first house as an example.

So you are perusing Pinterest and you see this picture and really like the horse head on the table. It's just what you have been looking for! So you click the photo and it enlarges the image like this:


Now, do you see the little white square in the top right corner of the picture? If you click that a croppable square will appear that you can drag around the photo and then crop in around the element you want to know more about.....






Here you can see I have cropped around the horse head and now all kind of similar items are popping up on the right side.


How cool is that!? You're welcome in advance! 

Unless otherwise noted all photos are my own.