Sunday, October 30, 2011

I am the fire starter

Here's the listing photo of our den area. Doesn't this photo just make you want to run over to a house and drop more than a quarter of a million dollars on it? Yeah, it didn't make us want to do it either and that's why we passed up on the house more than once. Oh well, it was fate I tell you.
Seriously, what is that? I'm not kidding you, this photo has not been doctored or manipulated in any way. That is exactly how the listing photo appeared online. I don't even know if it is physically possible to take such a bad picture of a still object. Camera phones take better pictures than what was shown online for our house.

Okay, rant over.

Here's the first photo I took of the area during the home inspection. Note - it was POURING outside during our home inspection and even though it was 2pm in the afternoon it was nearly pitch dark outside and the lighting was off.

It's not a bad space. It's cozy, has character, and is dark just like the hubs wants it to be. The weird little window in the corner is odd, but we're kind of digging it. The long-term plan for this room is to get rid of the dreaded popcorn ceiling and put in wood panel ceiling, paint the walls orange, stain the bricks*, put in hardwood floors, wall mounted flat screen tv, and get a sectional. Piece of cake!

Well, step one was really to get the wood stove in working order. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't a fan of the wood stove. I actually suggested to the hubs very early on that we could have it removed and convert the fireplace back to a fireplace. "How about no, Scott!" was his reply. The wood stove was staying and that was it! Turns out that wood stoves are quite a bit more efficient than fireplaces so I had to give him that. We took a trip over to Ace Hardware to talk to the Jotul representative since we have an old Jotul Series 8 wood stove and I was pleased to see that we could re-enamel the stove. I'm immediately thinking a nice glossy black would look great. Honestly, they had a stove that was blackish-purple and I wanted that color, but the hubs vetoed that option because it's his man cave and purple is not an option.

Fine, whatever.

Like any overprotective and anal retentive first-time homeowners we had our chimney and wood stove professionally cleaned and inspected prior to lighting our first fire. The chimney sweep suggested that we re-gasket our stove since the gaskets looked a little worse for wear. He could have done it, but he said his price would have been nearly double what it would actually cost to do since the parts are so cheap. So we picked up the appropriate sized gasket ropes and cement at Ace Hardware and re-did the gaskets ourselves.

We found this video on You Tube that showed us how to re-do the gaskets and followed the video's instructions:

Post-removing door: ripe up all old gaskets. All of them came right out and we were both shocked!

Scrap the crap out of the grooves with an old screwdriver. The hubs was all over this part.

After scrapping we used our vacuum to get up all the little fuzzy pieces of old gasket. Then we wiped down the channels with a damp rag to clean. Next, we poured our cement into the channels and let sit for 10 minutes so it could take on a "tacky" feel to it per the cement's directions.

Replace gaskets. Go slowly and don't pull the rope taunt. Trim the edges. Wipe down with a dry rag to pick up the excess cement.

Replace glass and then rehang the door. We put newspaper in between the freshly cemented pieces and the rest of the stove just so we didn't have to worry about the pieces getting cemented together!

The specific cement that we used said to wait 2 full hours to let the cement dry so we gave ours four hours before we went all pyro on the poor wood stove. Our best guess is that our wood stove was put in the house in the early '80s based on the stove model type. In a nutshell, the stove is just as old as us and it takes a lot less work to get it in firing condition!

Build fire and instantly brag to your husband that you build a better fire. True story! My years of Girl Scouts and camping came in handy as the hubs couldn't get a fire to stay and my fire game was on FIRE!!!

The man cave just got bumped up on our priority list because hanging out by the wood stove on a chilly evening was really nice. Jewels was also a big fan because she loved the extra warmth the stove provided. I think it's save to say I'm buying the hubs a flat screen tv for Christmas this year :(

*In keeping with all things manly the hubs refuses to pain the bricks white. He's not a fan of the look and instead we'll be staining the bricks to bring back some of their original color. It kind of works for me because Baltimore has so many brick rowhouses so it's kind of like we're keeping with the look of the area.


  1. Wow, your photo looks a million times better than the listing photo! And seriously, what was up with popcorn ceilings?! Our apt has them, I hate them!

    The wood stove is kind of a manly sort of way of course!

  2. Oh that looks so nice! I am jealous- we would love a wood stove in the house! We grew up with one and it made the house SO warm!!