House to Home Countdown: #9

I’m not sure about you, but in this wintery, cold, blustery weather, I am especially thankful for big, comfy sweatshirts, thick fuzzy socks, extra blankets, and most especially my fireplaces.  All 3 of them…

Yes, I am a spoiled, but terribly cold-natured, girl, so I have three (3!) fireplaces, and they are my #9 reason that my house is truly a deeply-loved home.

As I mentioned in my explanation of #10 (Christmas at 615 Whispering Oaks), we came across this home so early in the building phase that we were able to make a few changes and additions to the layout.  The original floor plan included two wood burning fireplaces: in the living room and on the back patio.  It also called for a humongous, enormous, and monstrous master bedroom (PS: if you go back to read this old post, I am happy to update that my fabulous friends at Taylor Made Pest Control have eradicated scorpions out of my life – hallelujah!), so one of the first things we added was a fully-enclosed gas fireplace set on the diagonal of the room.  This made the corner a more attractive feature when entering the room, it provides fabulous warmth both aesthetically and physically, and most importantly, I just love it!!

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And my absolute favorite part of this fireplace?  The REMOTE CONTROL that turns it on and off…from the warmth and comfort of my bed 😉

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We also added gas starters to the other two fireplaces so that they are wonderfully easy to light, especially when Coach is away and I have to rely upon myself to get the fire going.  Another special touch that makes me absolutely adore these two fireplaces:  the mantle.

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Just outside of Waco is a homesteading community that both awes and inspires me.  I visit as often as I can because a special sense of peace floats over me as soon as I step onto the grounds.  The village itself is made up of a wonderful collection of shops including a cheese house, cafe, produce cooperative, fiber craft house, gristmill, gift shop, furniture workshop, forge, and much, much more.  If ever you are in central Texas the weekend after Thanksgiving, Homestead Heritage puts on a tremendous fair that everyone in the family will enjoy!  Just across the street from the village is the wood mill, and that is where we found our mantles.

We had already changed the living room hearth and surround to be stone and brick (to match the house exterior and the cooktop backsplash) and slate (from the pool) while increasing its size to be a true focal point of the large, open space that merges the kitchen, eating area, and family room together into one perfect living area.  Coach and I love natural materials, and we wanted something really unique to complete the look.

The entire Homestead Heritage community is run by uber-talented craftsmen (and utterly phenomenal women), and the mill is no different.  When we arrived, Joe showed us to the wood barn where we first inhaled deeply (who doesn’t love the smell of fresh cut wood??) and in the next second were blown away by the stacks and stacks and stacks of “vintage” wood.  Joe explained that people all over the world call them to help with their wood buildings and projects.  Sometimes that means taking a structure down, tagging all the pieces, bringing them back to Waco to repair and clean, and then putting the puzzle back together in its original location, just stronger and sturdier than ever.  Sometimes that means collecting wood to be repurposed in new ways and spaces.  We gave Joe the length of cuts we needed for both mantles, and he helped us locate an amazing beam that came off a barn built in upstate New York in 1886.  Joe said that the owner was selling the land and wanted to be sure that the structure would not be burned or merely bulldozed, so he donated it to Homestead Heritage.

Joe promised to make the cuts, clean the pieces, and he even offered to carve out these beautiful corbels to rest the mantles upon.  Talk about thrilled!!  We were able to bring something old and treasured, something with a story, into our new construction, and the fact that they look great out here in a rural setting is just icing on the cake!

I especially adore the knots and notches that were used to attach beams to one another before the use of nails and screws.  The grain and pattern of such old cuts of wood are simply gorgeous!

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Now these three fireplaces keep me (and the kittens outside that have “adopted” us) warm on days like today, and they earn the #9 spot on my House to Home Countdown:

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Lots of love and hugs,

Ashli

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