When Dave and I sold our condo and bought this house, we knew that it needed a lot of work. A LOT of work. We moved all of our stuff into the garage, taking care to arrange our dressers in such a way that we could still get to our clothes, and Dave and I spent the first few weeks in our new home sleeping on an air-mattress in the den. When we got the two side rooms fixed up we brought in our bed and our clothes, and we lived in what is now Jack's room while Dave worked on fixing up the rest of the house. He had a lot on his to-do list, which included so much more than merely tearing down a wall, rebuilding that wall, building another wall (with a closet and a door), taking up the carpets to refinish the original wood floors, tiling both bathrooms, replacing the vanities in both bathrooms, and trying to figure out what in the heck to do with the odd fireplace in the middle of the living room.
What can I say about that fireplace? It was made out of brick (as most fireplaces are), which at some point had been painted with the thickest coat of white paint known to man. The hearth was still red brick, though, and it was flush with the carpet. The opening to the fireplace, though, was 6 inches above it. And, the opening goes around the corner.
You can't really tear down brick, so the only solution is to cover it up. So, at my suggestion, Dave dry-walled over the brick. Then, again at my suggestion, he built up the hearth to be (almost) level with the opening, and tiled it! It looked great! Then I suggested that he add a mantle and he refused. I insisted that it would be a great addition, but still he refused. I told him that I would really like to have a mantle so that I could hang our children's Christmas stockings from it, but, yet again, he refused. I decided that it really wasn't that big of a deal, and I'd rather he moved on to the next item on his to-do list, so I dropped it.
Fast-forward to February of this year. We have been living here for almost 3 1/2 years, have most of the major fix-its done, have an almost-2 year old, and have hung our stockings from the top of the computer desk for the past 2 Christmases (we never bothered with stockings before having Jack).
Dave: I'm going to build a mantle.
Me: What? Yay! I thought you said a mantle would look stupid?
Dave: It will look stupid.
Me: Um, so why do you want to build a mantle? Because you know it would make your wife happy?
Me: Because you're tired of hanging the stockings from the computer desk? That looks more stupid than a mantle would, you know.
Me: Then I give up, why do you want to build a mantle?
Dave: We need a place to put the Wii that we got for Christmas.
So Dave spend the day building a mantle for our fireplace. It's not exactly what I had in mind, but he did a good job for never having build a mantle before! It's a little higher than I had imagined, too, but hey, it's better than no mantle at all! I like it :D Now all we need is a glass enclosure and we're done with the fireplace!
Oh yeah, and we need to do something with Jack's artwork, too! You know, something besides taking a picture of it.
(BTW, that's a soft bumper around the edge of the fireplace. Jack is a klutz. And I was watching ER, in case you're curious.)