Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Outdoor Livin'

It hasn't quite been a year since we've been in our new/old house, and we've accomplished quite a bit.

When we moved in at the beginning of July, obviously our focus was to have everything moved into the new, out of our old, and have everything - or at least almost everything - painted/put away/hung up/etc. before we started back to work in August.  And for the most part, we did just that.  Everything was painted; pictures, etc., were hung, and most things were put away.  As with most moves, there are still things to do over the months - like arrange bookshelves and the like - but it all happens, little by little.

Since we were mainly focused on the inside of the house, we really didn't do too much with the outside - specifically the back yard.  Over the winter and early spring, we began making lists of things we wanted to do in the yard.  Whoa!  Those were growing into some pretttty long lists!

When the calendar hit March, we finally began putting our plans into action. Our goal was to have most  things completed by Easter.  A lofty goal, certainly.  But we figured with a plan and lots of hard work we could reach our goal.  And we did!  Sort of.  I kind of think that your home and it's surroundings are always a work in progress.  You never really 'finish' things - you're still always tweaking this or that; making adjustments here or there.  At least that's what I find myself doing.

I'll have several posts highlighting our projects, but let's start with just one.  It's one of my favorites!

A couple of years ago some friends of ours bought an outdoor fireplace.  It's not a firepit, or a chiminea - it's actually a fireplace.  So cool!  We were invited for it's inaugural fire and enjoyed it several additional times that year.  Over the winter when it rained, it stained the front of the fireplace making it look weathered.  Yeah, I know - outdoor fireplace, right?  But there is a difference between having the whole thing weather over time, and have streaks that look dirty just across the front of the fireplace.  It really did look ... well, odd.  Bev called the company, told them what had happened and they gave her a few suggestions of things she could try to remove the streaks.  She tried each one of their suggestions, but nothing helped.  After she'd tried the last suggestion, she phoned the company to let them know that she'd tried all of their suggestions, but nothing had worked.  They told her they would send her a replacement.  She was a bit shocked and asked what she should do with the old fireplace.  They told her she could do whatever she wanted with it.  Keep it, give it away, throw it out - the decision was up to her.  She asked if we wanted it.  Ummm...YEAH, we sure do!

Of course, right after that, first mom fell ill, and then dad.  We were so caught up with the health issues, and then their passings, that we never did move the fireplace.  Which, in the end was a good thing because, at that point, it would have been moved to our old house.  Last summer, we would have had to turn around and move it over to this house.  And, lest you think it's simple to move, let me just say the thing is a BEAST.  It's rather large and solid concrete.  It does come in several pieces, which makes it easier (easy for me to say since I didn't actually have to move it!), but it's still very, very heavy.

With a bit of help from a friend (and a nice gift card =), we moved the fireplace to it's new home last June.  Of course, it was one of those projects we never quite got to .... until March.  While Kevin was away one weekend at an umpire camp, I went up to the hardware to get a little advise and some paint.  I explained to the guy at the hardware store what I was going to do and he told me that any exterior paint would work fine, but I'd have to prime it first to cover the stains.  It actually took 2 coats of primer to cover everything, and then one nice, smooth coat of paint; but the finished product was totally worth it! It came out just beautiful!  Our friends saw it recently and said that they think it looks better NOW than when they got it brand new.  I have to say, we agreed!

I completely forgot to take 'before' photos, but I was able to find a photo at the company's website that shows how it looked before:
See the streaks?  It's so odd because it doesn't really look 'weathered' anywhere else - which make the streaks stand out even more.

So, here is our fireplace after I painted it:  
Isn't it just beautiful?  I absolutely love it!  I even like the new color better than the original.  This photo doesn't do it justice, but you'll be able to see it better in another post (coming soon).  It's a really warm terra cotta color that goes perfect with the colors we have in our outdoor dining set and seating areas (those photos are coming soon, too!).

The black wrought iron piece is one that I already had - it just happened to fit atop the mantle and look great!  Almost like I'd planned it ... but I hadn't =)  I have two more of the same pieces; I'll have to find someplace to put them as well.

I felt so accomplished when I'd finished!  One project down ... lots more to go.

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