Thursday, September 25, 2008

Win Some, Lose Some

Okay, so we've been having pretty awesome luck with finding cool old stuff in our house. Yes, we have a hidden room full of early twentieth-century artifacts. Yes, there are statues of saints in our foundation. Yes, a sealed-up closet awaits us when we remove the fake wood paneling (henceforth FWP) from our bedroom. Yes, it looks like there's some beautiful hardwood flooring (of a different kind of wood than the dining room) under the living room carpet. Yes, we just found an old staircase to a street that no longer exists on the hill behind our house. I guess with that kind of track record, it's inevitable that we would eventually come across something that's not cool.

Last night my curiosity got the best of me, and I managed to pry the summer cover (also a cool antique thing) partway off the living room fireplace. We'd been thinking of eventually making it a working one again, and I figured, no time like the beginning of cool weather to do some reconnaissance. We weren't able to get the cover all the way off, but it soon became clear that it didn't matter much. What met our eyes instead of a scary, cobwebby hole in the wall was...more wall.

Gah! Someone bricked it up! Probably 70 years ago, so we can't even get upset at the previous previous (etc.) owners for doing it without disrespecting the dead! Adam tried to look on the bright side and pointed out that 1) that was why we weren't getting a draft down the chimney, and 2) it was probably better that it didn't work given that the chimney needs to be repaired, but still--I would have preferred to find the scary, cobwebby hole in the wall. At least we could have cleaned it out and put a screen or some candles in it for Christmas.

I'm not entirely sure how to proceed with it, not that it's a project we'll get to anytime soon. It would be nice to open it back up again, but if we had to start bashing out bricks, would it damage the tiles around them? They're not in the best of shape as it is; one of them is already missing, and the picture doesn't show it well, but some of them are damaged. I don't even know if it's possible to buy replacement tiles for the ones that are already broken, much less any we might injure in the reopening process.

::sigh:: It is only a little setback in a multitude of awesome things, though. The fireplace itself is very pretty; it just doesn't work. Maybe we'll figure out how to get it functional, and maybe we won't. I guess that for old-house-related disappointments, this is an okay one to have. At least it's attractive on the outside, unlike the dropped ceilings and the FWP.


Christopher Busta-Peck said...

That's a beautiful fireplace.

Stacie said...

Thanks, Christopher--yeah, it's one of our favorite aspects of the room.