100 years old · 1916 · before and after · Dallas · family · fireplace · Florida · Highland Park · historic home · home · home restoration · living room · neighborhood · old house · preservation · renovation · restoration · stone · Texas · Uncategorized · vacation · windows

Back to Life and Back to the Past.


We just returned from a delightful trip to Florida. Impeccably timed to allow us an escape from the whirlwind our lives have become over the past few months, and perfectly timed to enjoy the most blissful weather Florida could possibly provide. Before we left for this family trip Bridget had her tenth prolonged illness of the year and Evie had oral surgery to repair a knocked out tooth and root.

Below: Evie before surgery to repair the root and either pull the tooth or attach a fake tooth to the remaining root.

Evie after surgery snuggling with daddy and finally up and about for dinner!

One of the most challenging parts of this surgery was the fact that it took place at 12:00 PM, noon. She couldn’t have anything to eat or drink from 6 AM onward. Evie could care less about food, but milk, oh my, she loves her milk. This was a challenge, but we distracted her all morning, including a trip to the house. She was distracted but not happy.

Needless to say, Evie is amazing and awesome and wonderful. She has such an engaging light and spirit and I love being her mama for so many precious reasons. Glad we are on the other side of the surgery and she is back to her spunky self! Case in point, picture below from our last mommy and me ballet class this morning.


The sun, sea breeze, sand, and limited access to the rest of the world was just what we needed. Our trips there and back were shockingly uneventful.

Our time there was joyfully filled with calm and peaceful sun and sand.

We came home feeling refreshed and reconnected, well, for at least a few hours. Then I parked next to the wrong car, put M&Ms instead of Skittles on top of Bridget’s ice cream, and failed to comprehend the severity of Evie’s invisible wound. All events resulting in massive on the ground tantrums. Welcome home.

While we were away, two important features of the house were explored. One is the original fireplace in the living room which was encased behind a new wall and a modern stone mantel, and the other is the first original window to begin the process of restoration. Tonight we will focus on the fireplace.

Below you can see the living room East wall. The modern stone fireplace mantle is still in place, but the added wall which covered the original window and the original fireplace has been removed. The original(ish) soft green wall color of the uncovered original wall makes it rather easy to visualize the area the modern wall covered. In this photo you can see the fully stripped and restored window on the right. We will revisit the window restoration in a post later this week.


Below is a nice reminder of what this wall looked like upon purchase of the home.


So, the original fireplace box is still intact, which is great. However, looking at the picture below, there might be some smoke damage due to a less than airtight seal between the fireplace box and chimney. Therefore, we will need to rebuild the chimney box and deep clean or replace the existing chimney to ensure that there will be no further smoke damage, because our family uses our fireplaces more than most. A crackling fire warms the body and soul, and I adore the warmth and the intimacy a slow burning fire provides.


Below is a side view of the fireplace.


Another side view of the fireplace with our precious Bridget peering out the newly exposed 100 year old window opening. The window is not in place in this photo as it was being hand stripped and restored.


Below: A few more close up views of the exposed wall and original firebox behind the modern stone fireplace mantle.


In conclusion, we will remove the modern mantle, rebuild the original firebox and as much of the original chimney as needed, and create a period appropriate tile and stained wooden mantle. Coincidentally I wanted a soft green tile, and now that the original wall color has been reveled, the tile will certainly be a soft green color.

Love and hugs,


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