Fireplace facelift

When living through construction  projects, you learn to have a certain level of flexibility in your life.

With all forms of workers in and out of our house all the time, we have heard it all:

"Sorry, but you won't be able to use any water today."  So no toilets or showers?  Perfect, looks like we are all wearing diapers today.

"Sorry but we were sanding today so pretty much every surface in your house is covered in dust, we'll get that cleaned up tomorrow- you probably don't want to use the kitchen." No problem- we love take-out and inhaling dust while we sleep.

Or my favorite, "We are running a bit behind."  Of course you are.

Recently we added a new one to the list of favorite contractor comments....

"There is a slight problem with the fireplace that we just built."

In general, I don't get too worked up over a delay in construction, a rejected permit, scope creep or unexpected work.  What I do get worked up over is when something BRAND NEW, that I just paid good money for, to be CUSTOM BUILT, is done WRONG.

Chris talked me down while I was stomping around the house waving my arms in exasperation and cursing other people's incompetence.

My quote of the night was. "I don't know who is to blame but it certainly isn't me, so someone needs to fix this now!"

Our contractor agreed, and he, in fact took the blame.

What exactly was all the stomping, arm waving and blaming about?

Well, there was a slight measurement problem.

When building a fireplace "from scratch" there are two parts- the installation of the new gas unit and the custom mantel that goes around it.

Since we didn't have an existing wood burning fireplace that we were just filling with a gas insert, everything had to be built from the ground up. Which apparently is more challenging that it looks.

Our contractor, who had done our basement, was able to build the custom mantle (to match everything else he had already built in our house), and we worked with a recommended local fireplace shop.  They worked together seamlessly, and we didn't have to get our noses in too many of the details.  We just approved the sketches and picked out our gas unit specs (logs or rocks, doors or glass front etc).

In a few short weeks we went from this-
To this-
To the untrained eye, it looks perfect (and dog hair free).

Actually, it was my favorite party line for a while, "can you guess what is wrong with our fireplace?" because it looked so good.

No one could guess.  It's not that noticeable...unless you PAID to have it built correctly, and then it's a big deal.

You see, there was a miscommunication in measurements between our contractor and the fireplace company.  They had built the mantle to the "inside measurements" of the fireplace unit, not the "outside measurements" of the doors that attach over the unit.
You can see the "inside unit" above, and how perfectly the mantel fits.

That was before they installed the grill and doors, which extend about 1.5 inches all around the inside unit.
The doors cover the craftsman details of the mantel, and they extend so far that they hit the trim  and don't lay flush.
 They also overlap the side "box detail."
So, we are now in the process of demo and rebuilding.
Ketch really wants to be in on the action.
We love nothing more than having to move all of our furniture out of this room AGAIN, and turning our front yard into a construction site (not that it is killing the grass, we did that all on our own).

Luckily, the sides could be saved and moved out a few inches, but the top had to be rebuilt and a piece had to be added to widen the front.
We left our house in a millions states of disarray this week while we are on vacation (yes, we are on vacation again).
With any luck, we will come home to a painted, finished & perfect fireplace.

Maybe they will clean my floors while they are at it...