It would seem that the wood stove tile surround was grouted into the carpet, because when we pulled up the carpet, tile went flying. In the above picture you can see pieces of the carpet still stuck to the tile. This really did not bother us much because we had talked about cutting off the corners, re-tiling it, or getting rid of the whole thing altogether. It is manufactured by a company named Efel which has been around since the 1970s. The reason I wanted to get rid of it was because it took up so much of the room, especially the pathway from the kitchen to living room.
Though I would have loved to replace it with something smaller and more antique-looking like this:
It would have cost a couple thousand dollars, so we decided to just cut off the corners of the platform. We edged it with slate, which I think was an improvement over the previous tile. Here is what it looks like now:
This job was actually much easier than I thought it would be. The cement pad had been poured onto a plywood square. I was really afraid that the cement might have been poured directly onto the wood floor because I thought it was likely poured by the same person that grouted it into the carpet. Had that been the case, we likely would have simply re-tiled it. Once we cut through the tile, cement, and plywood, the corners lifted off the floor with little effort.
The two cement cuts that we made produced an insane amount of dust. We sealed off the other rooms but dust still got everywhere because we did not do it before we started cutting. We did it more like halfway through. As a result, the most difficult part of this job was the cleanup.
While thoroughly cleaning behind and underneath the stove so that I could properly seal the tile, I realized there was a lot of junk crammed behind it. Here is what I found:
I wish it would have been something cool like a key to the back door, but no. Just some cheap plastic clamps and a melted screwdriver. When I find stuff like this hidden in dark crevices, I feel like my house will never truly be clean.
So I look at the stove now, and I think, "Sure, we did the best we could with what we have, and it looks okay. And it is certainly functional, but what was there originally?" Something was definitely there. I know this because in the Pearson house next door (with the exact identical dining room wall) there is a missing piece in the picture rail with a small collectible plate hung over the missing piece. This is located exactly where I have a missing piece in my picture rail due to my stove's smoke stack. See below the white picture rail to which I am referring:
At the Pearson house, there is nothing but carpet on the floor and nothing but wainscot on the wall. My house did originally have a brick chimney coming out of the roof around this spot in the house, which would make it seem there was a fireplace here, but that does not make sense to me because of the wainscot. It matches the rest of the house's wainscot identically, so I do believe it was originally there. When I asked the neighbor about the plate hung oddly on the wall, he told me it is where the old oil-burning furnace was. He had lived there since the 1940s, so I believe he might have been talking about that time period. But it does not really make sense to me. Being born in the 1980s in the South, I know very little about oil-burning furnaces. When I google image them, it seems they are rather unsightly and are typically located in basements. I cannot understand one being in a dining room, so right now I consider this a mystery. I have no idea how this house was heated when it was built. Fireplaces and stoves seem the most obvious answer to me.
Moving on with the rest of the room's progress...here are a few shots of the priming process:
And here is what it looks like now in a counter-clockwise rotation around the room:
We have only painted the walls, frieze, and ceiling. We have not gotten to the wainscot or any of the trim. It will all be done in Navajo White, which is sort of a cream color and the color of the ceiling. The dark blue on the walls is called Daring Indigo. I believe the light blue is called Enchanting, but I will have to check that next time I am at the store.
As always I will have to end this post with some before & after.