From Pass-Through Aquarium to Fireplace

Here's something you don't see much of... when we moved into our home we were surprised by something in our bedroom - a hole in the wall! When we toured the home there was a dresser in the middle of a wall. When that dresser was moved there were wood paneled doors about halfway up the wall. I opened them and found a shelf with electric outlets and a water faucet. It turns out, there had once been a pass-through aquarium between the living room and bedroom! You can see it in a pic from the original home listing from 2004.

The second owner had sheetrocked over the hole in the living room but left it in the bedroom. There was all kind of craziness going on the other side of that wall. There were tall bookshelves built in on the left, shorter really, really deep shelves on the left and a hole in the center. After years of staring at it, we opted to sheetrock over the bookshelves. I had pics of the before on my old computer but when it crashed, I lost them. The next best thing? A sketch-up model I made for all of you!

And this is how it looked after we sheetrocked over those funky holes.

Boring right? A big wall with a hole in it. Awesome.

A year later my mom had the brilliant idea of putting an electric fireplace in it (after having the water capped, of course).

Ok I have to stop here for a sec. Wow. First day out and already questions about the fireplace. I bought it at fireplace retail store here in Austin, but found it online. It is a Dimplex Firebox. It is a plug-in (which was cool since the hole had a plug in it). It comes with a remote to control the temperature, amount of flames and even has a sleep timer. The amount of heat it gives out is great! I use it every fall/winter!

Now if you don't have a huge hole in your wall but still like the idea of a fireplace on the wall, you can opt for a wall mount. I did a bit of research and found that the Moda Flame wall mount fireplace had 5 star reviews (and is a great price). The Best Choice Products, The Touchstone Onyx and AKDY wall mount fireplace all had great reviews and are priced between $120 - $300. 

Still boring, but at least it wasn't a big hole in the wall any longer. And then I decided to tile. That decision came during my terrible modern phase.

Oh the modern phase - I don't do modern very well in my own home (although I've done great with it on commercial remodels). But for my home, it just felt too cold. But since I didn't know what I wanted, it stayed like that for a couple of years. I waited for inspiration to hit and then one day it did. I found this on Pinterest and the idea was born:

Image courtesy of pinterest

Image courtesy of pinterest

The first thing I had to do was take down the tile.

Next I made simple boxed legs.

Next I created braces for the mantle. 

Next, I added the front piece of the mantle.

With the bottom section built, I created a frame for the top.

We added a piece of fiberboard to the top so we could attach the stone.

I measured out the center point and began stacking the stone.

Along the way, I decided the legs were much too wide and that the stone should stand out more than the legs IMO. After tiling the remaining pieces I added the corbels to the fireplace.

I added trim around the edges, painted and caulked and was left with this...

So is it finished? No. I still need to add crown at the top (which I have to wait to do until I do crown along the entire room). I still need to paint the walls and the carpet.... It will be taken out in the next few months and replaced with wood. The hubs is fighting me pretty hard on that decision so who knows when it will happen. Of course it's the last room in the house to finish so the sooner he lets me get new floors, the sooner I can wrap it up. :-)