Good morning and Happy Saturday to you! I am in a state of bliss this morning. As I type this, I am still in my PJs with a cup of hot chocolate, curled up in front of the very thing that will be featured in the blog today!
Remember that time I told you our Tiny House Rules? Specifically Rule #1: It must be cheap… and how sometimes rules need to be broken? Yep, that’s what we’re talking about today, folks! The splurge that we’re thankful we made…
The family room (specifically this wall) went through many phases and it took us awhile before we had something in place that we felt really “fit”. After arranging the furniture (it really only works one way because of the layout of the room), we found the space where an entertainment center should go to be extraordinarily tricky to outfit. We tried several different models…
First, the storagey bench/seat:
Cute piece, yes. However, after putting the TV on top, we realized that it came up a bit short. Literally. The total height of the unit was the same as everything else in the room (chairs, sofa, etc.) and made it feel as if the top portion of the room was disassociated with the bottom half.
Second to the plate, we opted for something taller… remember those bookshelves from the Restore? We tried one standing up tall, with the thought that we’d take a shelf out to make a space for the TV.
In general, the set up looked messy and we would have had to come up with some contraption that could allow the TV to pull out from the unit- otherwise it would be blocked by the sides. Although it added the height we wanted, we knew that this would not be our final solution.
Well, third time’s the charm, right? Wrong. We tried flipping the shelving unit on its side (too long), bringing back the storagey bench/seat (still a no), even shopping for a dresser to transform similar to the ones I kept seeing on Pinterest (like the one below).
Nothing seemed to be working in our favor for this space. Until. One night, I was making a quick stop in Lowe’s for something completely unrelated (isn’t that always how it happens?!), when I came across my heart’s desire:
This is the entertainment center/electrical fireplace that started it all. I knew three things right then and there: 1. Something like this would be PERFECT for our space!, 2. I have always wanted a fireplace in our house, and 3. There’s no way we could afford it. Although I knew it was not really a possibility for us, I sent the picture to my dad and Mitch anyway.
When I got home, Mitch and I went online to find the one I had seen at Lowes, did a little dreaming and drooling over what could never be, and left it at that. The next morning, though, we picked up the conversation again. For our wedding, some people had given us Visa gift cards as wedding gifts. We had stashed them away, planning on using them for not-so-glamorous things like buying groceries or getting gas. However, when we thought more about it, we realized that this type of gift was probably intended to help us buy something that we would never purchase or be able to buy on our own. A fireplace definitely fit the bill. After talking about it some more, we decided to go for it!
My dad did some research for us on the one I had found in Lowe’s and came up with some others that were a bit more expensive, but were able to do quite a bit more. We went back and forth about the decision and, in the end, decided to go for the model with more functions to it. More about that later…
Our final decision was the Hampton Bay Grand Haven in Dark Cherry, from Home Depot. Here is the picture from the website:
Herein lies where the crazy part of the story starts…
Chapter 1: Bringing home baby. On Halloween day, Mitch and I set out to Home Depot, just to see if they had the fireplace in stock. They did! And it looked g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s. in person! The only problem was that it was huge and we weren’t sure if we could get it into our car. I am not the most patient person in the world and I wanted the fireplace in our house and set up as soon as I saw it. We paid for it and started the process of trying to cram it into the car, to find that our suspicions were confirmed- too big! We were all set to rent the Home Depot truck to cart our baby home, but then decided to call some people we knew to see if we could borrow a van or SUV for the afternoon. A phone call later and a wonderful couple from church was saying to us: “forget it- we’re coming to get you”. And with that, they met us at Home Depot and took us and our new fireplace home! We seriously have the best church ever, filled with even better people.
Chapter 2: Assembly Required. Looking back, this was one of the most hysterical “newlyweds’ first problem- solving” experience we have had so far. Although funny now, in the moment, I was beyond frustrated. Let me set the stage for you: we had already invited the youth group kids over that night and we had a HUGE box of fireplace that I insisted on being set up by the time they arrived. It was 2:30pm and they were coming at 4:30pm. “Oh, we’ll have this up and running in no time!” Fools. We opened the box, only to find several other boxes inside, each filled with various parts.
We started opening the boxes in search of the Assembly Manual and soon realized that it was not there. So now it’s 3:00pm and we have boxes strewn across the floor, parts everywhere, kids coming in an hour and a half, and no instructions to help us with the impossible puzzle.
Panic was starting to set… but we had no choice but to pull ourselves together and make a plan. I quickly called Home Depot and hurriedly explained our dilemma. Thankfully, there were instructions online. I pulled out my laptop, downloaded the Assembly Manual, and we went into hyper drive. To say we flew through the assembly would be a gross understatement. I have never torn through boxes, ripped open bags of screws, and read instructions faster in my life. Somehow, we managed to get the unit put together with few casualties (that probably could have been avoided, had we had the luxury of more time). I am not going to say that there were no parts left over, but somehow, some way, it was up. While Mitch was sprinting the empty boxes and Styrofoam out to the dumpster, I was vacuuming like a mad woman, trying to reclaim our family room before the kids got there. Needless to say, we were sweating up a storm!
Chapter 3: Breathe, step back, and enjoy. We pushed the unit up against the wall and were immediately pleased with how it looked. Despite the crazy set-up and high stress levels, we knew that this was the right piece for our space. Don’t worry- we got everything cleaned up before the kids arrived… a true
Christmas Halloween miracle. Back to the featured item… finally, a smashing success for the “Problem Wall”! The dark cherry wood ties in with the furniture legs, coffee table, and end tables. The unit has an accessible opening for electronics, great storage space for DVDs, cds, etc., and we LOVE the “fireplace” feature. In the end, we are completely happy with our “splurge” and feel that it really ties the room together nicely. Take a look!
Helpful Facts (for those interested in the unit):
- This model has a curved front that makes it extend a bit further out from the wall than if it was flat across. At first, we thought that it would stick out too far into the room, but it turned out being fine and the curve adds some class to the look.
- Fireplace Features that we like (these are some of the things that came with going for the more expensive model and we are glad we did it):
- Comes with a fan to blow out heat- helps to warm room more efficiently
- Unit can run with or without heat. This has been great for us because just having the flame on is like turning on another light, whereas the heat costs more money to run. We like having the option of having the flame, but not needing to run the heat too (the first model we looked at automatically gave out heat whenever the unit was turned on).
- Heat settings can be changed to adjust temperature.
- Flame settings can be changed to adjust look of flames.
- This model was more powerful than some of the cheaper ones we looked at (4600 BTU (British Thermal Unit)/hour vs. some of the others that were at 3400 BTU/hr). In the end, we decided that if we were going to spend the money, we may as well get the most for it.
- There is an opening in the back for cords to feed through to the outlet.
- Comes with 2 different types of hardware to choose from for door handles.
- Remote control included!
The rest, you can read online if you’re interested.
And there you have it- the time we broke the rules. And have never looked back… Oh, the fun of it!
Have you ever broken down and splurged on something you loved? Tell me more!
PS. Did you catch the “winter scape” on the mantel in a few of the pictures? All new DIY project coming your way on Monday… and just in time for another snow storm on the east coast??? Come back and visit for more details…