Friday, October 06, 2006

The Ugliest Thing

This is a philosophy that guides our work in almost every situation. Find the ugliest thing and fix it. Popsey learned this in art school for painting. Eventually, you resolve enough ugliness and there will be no more ugly things. Or maybe there will be new ugly things. But hopefully not so many of them ever again.

We do have to turn a blind eye to quite a bit, because there's only so much time and money versus a 50 year build-up of ugliness. The place underneath is beautiful. Human influence has not been so kind. But slowly things are turning around.

The hearth in our house, which held the woodstove (our only source of heat) has long been one of the "uglies". It did the job, so we kept it around, but it was on the demolition list.

Now that it's October and getting cold, Popsey decided it is the perfect time to remove the woodstove and rebuild the hearth. This logic may seem to defy common sense, and you're absolutely right about that. But he claims the pressure will motivate him to re-build it faster. Suurrre. Really he's just a contrarian. What he's not realizing is his skin is a lot leatherier than mine, and like an otter, he is more immune to cold temperatures than us average human beings. But my wimpy ways were overruled.

Nevertheless, I couldn't help but be glad to see this go:

Taking down some very ugly mantle pieces.

Peeling back the smoke-stained fake brick facade.

Revealing a wall paper pattern that, I'm guessing, is discontinued.

And here goes our heat. Sob.

Lastly, out comes the frame of the hearth, which turned out to not be very well attached to the floor.

Now the walls are repaired and painted, and we've rethought the whole situation. We've realized that it is time to join the modern world, and rather than replacing the woodstove, we're getting central heating instead. Many factors went into this decision which I won't go into, but bottom line: Wood stoves are great for back-up, but as a primary heat source for your house they're dirty, a hassle, and not the safest.

Now we're just waiting for the planets and stars to properly align for a contractor to show up and install a furnace. When that happens, listen carefully for a cry of jubilation that may be audible across the western states and beyond.


  1. Anonymous8:36 AM

    That wall paper is adorable! What a treasure you've uncovered. Please tell me you didn't paint over it.

  2. Agreed. We consulted with the National Historical Society to find out the best way to deal with this treasure. We used a professional archival wallpaper removal specialist. It was painstakingly steamed off employing methods approved by renowned art historians. It is now being stored in the archives of a new museum…can’t remember the name, but it’s on Dimeo Lane in Santa Cruz county, California.

  3. I love the smell at that museum!