Archive of ‘Living Room’ category

Fireplace Mantel Plans

So now that we can check the window off the list (CHECK! – I mean, what’s a checklist without making a big deal about the checking off action), we are turning our attention to the fireplace mantel.

We essentially need to focus on the fireplace wall because as we are losing a wall to create an open concept kitchen/living/dining space, we are losing the wall our TV is currently up against.  Therefore, the living room layouts will be shifting, with the fireplace wall being the focal point (which, it should be), and our TV will go on the fireplace mantel. Ta-da! Wait, oh yeah back to the planning…

So here is what our fireplace looks like, as you can see it is not like a usual fireplace with brick/stone in the center and drywall on either side.  The ENTIRE wall is brick (I included a close up so you can see how cool/unique this wall is, the “bricks” are SO wide!)  Now, I think it’s a really awesome focal point that totally pays tribute to the era of the house and I wouldn’t dream of covering it up/re-doing it. However, we do need to make it more functional, hence the mantel.

Fireplace Mantel Plans | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress
Fireplace Mantel Plans | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

At first I considered framing the fireplace itself – using this photo as inspiration – but thinking further and seeing the mockup, it just isn’t a “clean” look and chops up the stunning feature wall.  Strike 1.

Fireplace Mantel Plans | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress
Fireplace Mantel Plans | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Then, I thought maybe we would do a centered mantel in the middle (across 3 columns of brick), but I just worry it will look too puny/dainty for the wall.  I love the look if I had built ins or drywall on either side, but the entire brick wall? Eh, not sold.  Strike 2.

Fireplace Mantel Plans | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress
Fireplace Mantel Plans | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Finally, I decided that I love the feature wall and that I love the idea of having the fireplace mantel span the ENTIRE width.  Functionality wise I think I will really like having that much mantel for decor, photos, artwork, stockings, etc. (oh, yes and the TV).

Fireplace Mantel Plans | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Fireplace Mantel Plans | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

As for mantel style, I really like the mantel that my brother and sister-in-law have at their house, a family friend made it and we’re calling that same friend in to do ours.  So while I don’t really know exactly what it will look like, I am going for a rustic and natural look and think that it will do great contrasting against the vintage modern feature wall.

What do you guys think?  How excited are you for a mantel?? Just in time for Christmas.  Fun fact, I’ve actually NEVER had a mantel to hang stockings on (my parents house we used the stairs, and my tiny house I used….well, the TV stand). Can’t wait!

Choosing a Fireplace Mantel Style

Bow Window to Picture Window Update

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

We love the character and originality of our 1960’s Walk-Out Rambler home. However, one original feature that has become a “pane” (hahaha) is our original windows. (see what I did there?)

Now, most of our windows in our house that are original can be categorized under “annoyingly chilly”, to be replaced eventually.  However, if you Minnesotans can recall back to last winter (remember, we bought our house in January), it was a fr-eeeee-zing cold winter, one for the books.  We made the discovery that our living room bay window leaked soooo much cold air that it actually created ice on the INSIDE of the house.  Our solution?  Insulation by throw-pillows. So high-tech and energy efficient -not!  What was worse is that our living room layout called for our sofa to be up against the bay window, so if you were on the couch, you were freezing your bum off.  It had to be this way so we could keep the fireplace wall open because, well, we used the fireplace A LOT to heat the house and counteract the wrath of the bay window freeze.

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

We knew after last winter that we simply could NOT go through another winter with that draft (and heating bill), so we set out on a mission this Fall to get this baby replaced before the snow came. We started by having Home Depot and Window World both come to our house to do proposals/quotes. Holy-bologne. Having an installer do the whole thing ranged from $3,000-$4,000. Yikes! We are truly fortunate to have my Dad be a retired carpenter, so he heard those prices, laughed, and said we’d be doing it ourselves (dear Matt, please take off work, thanks.)

So, as you can see, in my Dad’s more-than-capable hands, we had to decide next what we were going to replace the window with. While I’m sure there is very valuable information about the install process itself, that is not my forte, but here are some photos of the men in action making this happen:

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Now, I learned a thing or two about windows (far from an expert, mind you). But I’ll pass my knowledge on for the next window-shoppers out there.

Bay Window:
Fun fact, our window that I keep referring to as a “bay window”- not a REAL bay window.  A real bay window either jets out 30 or 45 degrees to create a “bench/seat/ledge” in the middle of the panes. When we were looking into bay windows I liked the 30 degree bays a lot more, the 45 almost feel like a box has been shoved on the side of your house. Kind of weird.

Bow Window:
Now THIS is what our current window was.  Bow refers to a window that wants to be a bay, but didn’t quite make the cut. It doesn’t jet out as far as 30 degrees so its in more of a bow form.  Our bow window had 2 casement windows on the left and right side that opened (with a crank), and two center pane windows that did not open.

After discovering the differences and seeing bay and bow windows in big box stores and salvage shops, I came to the conclusion that bay windows are silly expensive. Now, subjective I understand, but let me explain my reasoning and things I considered that made me realize the bay window just wasn’t worth the investment for us:

Window Location/Function
So, we live in a neighborhood, and this bay window in question is in the front of our house, facing the street. Realistically, we have our shades drawn/covering the window 90% of the time. It just seems unnatural to have the neighborhood looking in on you like a fish bowl (and vice-versa). Now, I grew up on 10 acres in the country, and we didn’t have one single window covering because you looked outside and all you saw was trees & fields. That’s just not the case here. It’s a neighborhood, which is fine, but I just couldn’t justify spending the money on a bay window that I am pretty certain will be covered up by some form of window treatment for privacy.

Exterior Appeal
Now, I wasn’t about to just take the cheap route and stick something on the very front of our house that looked like garbage, so that was taken into consideration too.  The truth was that the bow/jetting out aspect of the window really didn’t do much for the curb appeal, so I wasn’t worried about changing it up (but something to keep in mind).

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress
 Change Of The Times
I think we were hesitant about taking out even the bow window (let alone a bay) because it just seems like a classic thing people want in homes. However, I feel like that is a little cliche/old school train of thought. I mean, we were keeping the same window opening area, so we were going to let in just as much light- which REALLY is what buyers are looking for in homes.

 

THE DECISION & OUTCOMES

So all things considered, we went with a standard window from Lowes, they were having a promotion so we saved 30% which was great.  The window is flat, and features 2 casement windows (open with cranks) on either side, and one large pane in the middle (that doesn’t open).  While I was just relieved to have one picked out, I never imagined the new window would have these positive effects on our house:

 Room Feels Bigger
This is kind of ironic/seems backwards, since you would think that by taking out the bow window (which, remember, jetted outward from the room), would make the room feel smaller, that is not the case at all. We think it is because there is so much more glass vs. wood in the old window design.

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

 

Walkway Feels Bigger
Remember when I said to make sure you consider your exterior? Well, we thought about the curb appeal of the house, but didn’t realize that our walkway (that used to have the bow window on your left jetting out from the house as you walked to the front door) feels SO much more wide and open without the window protruding from the house. Woot woot!

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

 

Trim Makes A Big Deal
After the window was in, we had to decide on what kind of wood to use for trim. Since the interior framing of the window itself is pine, we opted for Pine for the trim (in case we stain it them the wood would match).  Going from our old yellow-y original 60s oak trim to this beautiful, thick, pine trim makes me weak in the knees with glee at the difference trim can make.

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

 

AND the best part? The window is sealed and is keeping our living room toasty warm! (No throw-pillow insulation this year, yes!)  We got this done literally in the knick of time just one week before Mother Nature dusted the Twin Cities with snow and plummeted our temperatures into the 20s (which p.s. heard on the radio today, this is JANUARY weather, Mother Nature, not November. Check yourself.)

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

Bow Window to Picture Window Update | Creative Mess in a Corporate Dress

I think we can all agree Lewis approves too.  Anywho, yay for our new window! I hope you walk away with a small piece of knowledge should you ever have to replace a large window!

*Next on the docket, what should we do for trim?! (Finally, something more aesthetic/visual/fun). Such a huge decision (since it will carry through the whole house). I love white, but Matt isn’t sold. He wants to go with a clear poly over the pine, but I don’t want it to turn yellow-ish. How about white-wash?  What do you guys think?!

Changing Bow Window to Picture Window