The tale of the enormous fireplace

When my girlfriend and I moved into our first ‘purchased’ home we felt the kind of ‘house proud’, that only the newly mortgaged feel. Being a DIY disaster merchant, that’s the only reason I can offer as to why I would attempt to build a fireplace.

Our house was a new build and had a small lounge with a very plain surround to an electric fire. I took it upon myself to design an ‘upgrade’. Out came the pencils, sketch pad and tape measure, and within a few hours I had designed a feature fireplace which would be painted to match the colour of the walls on the outside, have slate tiles on the recessed inside and a mosaic tiled top.

Pleased with my design I headed of to a trade shop for some timber for the frame, paint, tiles, grout etc.

From this point I practically moved into the garage, keen to complete my masterpiece. I erected the frame which was then covered in plywood, ready for painting. It was at this point that my girlfriend commented that it seemed quite large for the room (I think she was being tactful – it was huge). Undeterred I convinced her (or at least thought I had) that it was a feature and would look great.

The fireplace was painted and it came to the tiling part. I’m not very good at tiling (to say the least). I gave it my best but I had major problems cutting the slate tiles and when I had placed them they were a bit skew-whiff in some spots. Now I’m a bit of a perfectionist so when I stood back and looked at my dodgy tiling I started to go off that fireplace right away. However rather than admit that bitten off more than I could chew, I pretended I was busy elsewhere and just kind of left it. I think my girlfriend was relieved because she never pressured me to finish the job. She just mocked me about it when we had company.

About 3 years later when we decided to move house I had to clear our garage, including the monstrosity I had built. Thing was it took me quite some time with a big hammer to demolish it, so I must have done something right!

Submitted by James Clarke.


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