Little Cottage Quilt Shop – Part 6

Little Cottage Quilt Shop – Part 6

Day after day the work droned on and on.  It seemed like it would never end.  I was so anxious to get started on the interior reconstruction and be done with the demolition.  I also had to start thinking about getting the systems set up for the shop and start ordering fabrics to stock for our opening.  I had to split myself between the 2 jobs.  Every other day I would switch from work on the old house, to computer work and shop business.

When we started the reconstruction, I realized that the old original fireplace needed to have some sort of face.  What ever was there originally was long gone, all except for the bricks.  So I started looking for an antique fireplace “face” to put on the wall around the brick.  I was beginning to think that it was an impossible task.

My youngest daughter, who is an engineer and a whiz at computer work, had flown in to help me establish an inventory system.   We were tied to the computer from 6:30 am to 11:ish pm working on the inventory.  It was grueling, but we only had a few days to accomplish much work.    However, we decided that we had earned a short field trip to some antique shops to continue the search for the fireplace face.  We both love to browse for antiques and such.  It was a Monday, and we didn’t know that the antique mall we planned to go to was closed. 🙁   We pulled in and parked anyway, because we saw people going in and out.  They told us that Mondays were their “clean up” days and they were closed.  I told the lady I talked to what I was looking for and ask her if  she knew if there were any in the building.  She graciously told us there was one and she would show it to us.  I was very grateful.  I was so busy I didn’t have time to waste coming back if it wasn’t what I needed.  She led us through a maze of pathways through the mall, down a ramp and around a corner, and there she was, in all her sad glory !!!


She was perfect !!!  Just what I was looking for, and the size would work too.  We thanked the kind woman for allowing us to look and told her we would be back the next day to pick it up.  We were so excited !!!!  I had almost given up on finding one and was starting to think about less desirable alternatives.

She needed a lot of TLC and I knew just what I had to do.  I made a work station inside the shop on saw horses and a sheet of OSB.  I gathered all my tools and equipment.  Then I started the long and tedious process of stripping  12 to 14 layers of paint off her tired face.  As the layers came off, her history was revealed.  Just about every color in the rainbow was uncovered,  along with years of use and abuse.  She would need many repairs and some modification to fit our original little fireplace.


As the layers of paint came off, I was  discovering detailing that was so completely covered with all the years of paint, you couldn’t see it.  Beautiful filigree and delicate applique work came to the surface.  I was delighted with my find and couldn’t wait to get it done and installed.  (But that would proved to be a long time off).  I laboriously labored on the project almost everyday for 5 weeks.  It was to fragile to use power tools on.  So I had to be inventive with all kind of tools and used just about any thing I could find.  The head of a big nail was the perfect size to fit in the fluting of the columns.  Dental picks were an indispensable tool for getting around all the fine detailing.  Plastic & metal putty knives of all sizes scraped off the chemically soften paint, grout brushes helped in the dental moldings.  Some of the layers required 4 and 5 re-applications of the stripper before they would finally release.  It was such a nasty, messy job, but, in the long run, worth every minute I spent.

Once all the paint was removed, the repair work began.  Holes to fill, plugs to sculpt and joints to re-glue, and missing filigree to locate or reproduce.  I spent  2 1/2  full days hand sanding the newly exposed bare wood to a satiny smooth surface.  It was beautiful !!!  But we weren’t quite ready to install her yet.  I had to wait a few more weeks to see her in place and modified to fit our fireplace.  But what an addition to our little cottage.  Things were finally  starting to take shape.


At some point in time, someone had built a thick second brick face in front of the original.  I took a sledge hammer to that on.  But I salvaged and cleaned the bricks.  I used some of them to make a “floor” for the fire box and hearth.  The newly modified and smoothly sanded face was attached to the wall and ready for paint.  At one point I considered just sealing the bare wood and leaving it that way.  But as you can see, there were too many different woods used and the repaired damage was such that it would have never looked right.  I think she was made for paint originally.  So I started putting paint back on her.  First the primer, 2 coats, then the semi-gloss enamel.  It still needs one more coat of enamel before it is complete.  Then a dear friend here in Medina is going to gold leaf all the detailing on the top part around the little mirror.  Dressing her up, back to her original glory.  I’m sure she is very happy in her new home.  She gets lots of compliments and admiring attention.   We are very glad to have her be part of the  Little Cottage Quilt Shop.

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