Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fireplace, With Shutters

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that the fireplace in my front parlor used to have shutters on it.

This is the fireplace, now without shutters:
(And a very large cat.)  I looked in vain for a photo of the fireplace with shutters, but there was none to be found.  When my computer crashed last fall, I lost most of the photos of what the house looked like when I moved in.  Anyhow, the shutters covered over that wallpaper in the middle of the mantel and were nailed to the top edge of its opening.  (You can see the nail holes if you bigify the photo.) 

The shutters looked like this, only crappy:
And painted white.  With pieces of scotch tape all over them.  And there were four of these shutters nailed onto the fireplace.  No, I don't know why.  Maybe to cover up the wallpaper, which I actually kinda like.

But why, you might be wondering, is the fireplace plastered over?  Well, because this fireplace was never intended to burn wood.  Instead, a coal-burning stove would have set in front of the mantel to heat this part of the house.  Its stovepipe would vent into a narrow chimney behind the wall.  (A chimney that, incidentally, sticks out into the dining room behind it and is still the central vent for the HVAC in my house, a not particularly efficient system.)

Which leads me to this, commonly known as The Blister:
See that round blue thing in the middle of that exposed plaster?  Try to overlook all the stuff that's found its way onto the mantel from other areas of the room after being knocked off a table by the cats.  And the screwdriver.  And the bottle of Bitter Yuck I've been spraying on the palm.  Look higher.  Yep, that big round thing up there.  That was originally a stovepipe hole.  At some point that hole was badly repaired, then wallpapered over, then painted over.  It's very crumbly and ugly.  My solution to that ugliness would be to knock out the patch and cover it up again with one of those pie-plate thingies.  Mare, however, has a different idea...he thinks I should buy a coal-burning stove (an actual old one, not a replica) and run a stovepipe back into that hole.  Not so the stove could actually be used, because insurance agents tend to disapprove, but just for looks.  I agree that a coal-burning stove in the front parlor would look really good, but I'm guessing a pie-plate thingy just might be cheaper and easier to install.


  1. Does that type of stove setup just work with coal burning stoves? I thought they worked with wood stoves, although I am an ignoramus about such things.

    I know old wood burning stoves are big polluters, but perhaps the modern ones are not, or the alternative fuel ones aren't (pelletized something?). Having had cats, though, I never had anything hot to the touch that as accessible to them in the house, so I'm just musing.

  2. I really can't decide which is the most interesting part of this post; the cat, the fireplace, the shutters, the wallpaper or the thought of a faux coal stove. Interesting, very interesting.

    I'm thinking pie plate but I like the way Mare thinks. Well, on this issue anyway.

  3. Wow, those shutters are, um, interesting. When I was young we lived in a trailer that had a wood burning stove. Do coal ones look like that? My parents instilled the fear of God in me about that thing, but it was unique! Tell me more about this Bitter Yuck. Im assuming its so the cats dont destroy the palm? Can I spray it by my tv so my idiot cats stop peeing by it?

  4. Karen Anne, From what I've read (and I know very little about stoves) most of them could burn either coal or wood. There were several coal mines around Lexington at the time my house was built, so it's likely the Kellys burned coal.

    Christine, There was a lot going on in that post, wasn't there?! lol

    Rachel, When I was at Petsmart I also bought this stuff called Nature's Miracle that supposedly takes the pee-pee smell out of carpet. You might try that. I now know it will remove vomit smell from the inside of a car...

  5. Nature's Miracle is great. I don't know that I'd spray a liquid on a tv, tho. Maybe wipe the sides down.

  6. It might be truly better to have a real coal-burning stove installed there. That will also be useful during the cold season plus the exterior wood shutters look good too.