Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shabby Chic or Just Shabby?

It all started with this:


I wanted a simple mantel for the living room that wouldn’t compete with the bookshelves.  Most folks might want something a little more ornate  and formal in the living room, but I thought this one would be just right.

So, my crew and I put our heads together, measured the photo, measured the fireplace, calculated the proportions,  and dug through the trim pile.

Alan and Nathan pieced it together.


And added some trim.




We weren’t quite there. 

It was too leggy and the stair tread that we had tried for the top was too thin. 

So, I grabbed a piece of 1x4 and poked it in between the legs. 

Now there’s a sentence that is a perfect example of the dangers of using a pronoun too loosely.  But what English teacher would dare use it as an example in class?

Maybe we’d better just move on.


That was better.  Now we just needed a thicker top.  So, while Israel caulked and primed.  I went to visit the Yoda of woodworking. 

First he showed me the mantels he had designed.


Very nice.  I have to admit, though, that heart pine around a wood burning fireplace gives me pause.

Then I showed him my inspiration picture.  I expected him to say.

“very nice.”

After all, I liked it and we’re related.  Do you know what he said?  He said, “ Are you serious? 

It looks like something out of a tenant house.”

Look again.


Well, I guess maybe it does.  But I still like it.  Is that a bad thing?

Anyway, because he is Yoda and a natural mentor, he took me to a magical place in the mountains and helped me sort through a pile of 8/4 poplar.  We were about to give up, when I spied a good one about 10 boards down in the stack.  We pulled out board after board and finally found “the one.”

I stuffed all 9 feet of it into the Suburban and we went to his shop.  Only a Yoda of woodworking would have an octagonal shop.  Only a Yoda of woodworking who laid out his shop with a pair of dowsing rods, but that’s a story for another day.

We ran the board through the planer and got it smooth as silk.  Except for the one place where I didn’t hold my end correctly. Then we cut the one rough edge off of all 9 feet of it.  Then I stuffed it back in my Suburban and hauled all 9 feet of it back to the house.

Alan and Nathan treated it reverently.  They bought a special router bit to put just a small radius into the top and bottom edge.  I wasn’t there, but the magic was, so they knew just the look I was aiming for:


There you have it, gentle reader: Tenant House Chic.

1 comment:

  1. "poked it between the pilasters" would be OK but it still sound dirty.