Shortly after we gave up our pub & I moved into my fiancée Joanies house the local authority decided in their wisdom to come along & tear out the old central heating system & replace it with a shiny new one.
This we did not mind too much as the existing one was so old I swear the serial number on the boiler was in roman numerals, however having just spent three weeks cramming two homes into one (the pub had a VERY large three bedroom flat & it was full) we were not really happy with any more disruption than absolutely necessary, so when we were told that the guy to fill in the now redundant fireplace would be calling in a week or two we just told them not to bother we would sort it out ourselves.
They sorted out the flue & made it safe for us & that is how it has been now for about four months while we got ourselves sorted out, got rid of all the extra stuff we didn't need such as the extra dishwasher, FOUR TV’s two fridges a freezer & god alone knows how much kitchen equipment thank goodness for recycling networks I am a member of FreeGLE in the uk formerly a part of FreeCycle.org, whichever you have where you live I heartily recommed them.
We have reached the stage where the house is coming together & starting to turn into a home so now it is time to start redecorating from top to bottom, the question of what to do with the fireplace had to be addressed
We are both fond of candlelight & would often have evenings watching TV or reading where apart from one small reading lamp all our lighting was from candles, very soon after the work was carried out we started putting a few church candles into the fireplace (after getting advice & making sure it was safe to do so),
Neither of us really wanted to lose our little candle nook because it is a real feature of our home now, many people have commented on it & on top of that it does a surprisingly good job of warming up not only the lounge but also the adjoining dining room but we both agreed it needed to be smartened up a bit before we start to decorate.
First I guess I had better get the disclaimer out of the way before I get sued for giving someone an idea that burned down their house.
ALWAYS make sure you have taken advice before you put anything flammable into an old fireplace particularly if it previously had a gas fire & or boiler in it.
NEVER use candles on a timber base or anywhere else for that matter without a proper candle holder.
NEVER use candles when under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any medication that may make you drowsy.
ALWAYS extinguish candles before you leave the room.
NEVER leave a naked flame within reach of children or animals.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTACES should this or any other design of candle nook have a timber top, even a high top can get VERY hot & is a fire hazard.
I started by squaring off the hole in the wall removing all the excess plaster & cement around the edges, it only took a few minutes but it made a heck of a mess so I am so glad the better half "reminded" me to put down some newspapers first because I am obviously to dumb to think of it myself ;-)
The next job was to figure out just how we wanted it to look, after some thought we decided to make a frame for the whole space with 3/8" plywood & construct an open topped box with a mirrored back that would slide into the void on the back of it.
There were a couple of small obstacles in the void namely a capped off water pipe which was still connected to the water supply, I could neither cut nor bend it so I decided to go over it instead, this had the advantage of raising the bottom of the nook a further three inches from the floor which improves its look as I felt it was a bit low, there was also about 3/4" of a brick jutting out beyond the others which I could have cut away but we felt that our boxed nook would be wide enough without it so it stayed put.
First job was to cut my frame, I know some people may think this is putting the cart before the horse but I had my reasons & it works for me.
If you have seen my previous ibble about my work shop white board you will know that the workshop is a work in progress, part of the reason for this is that many of my power tools are still "lodging" with my ex wife so I currently have no jigsaw, fretsaw or router so cutting this out as a single piece was a bit of a chore I finally ended up marking out my ply & after drilling a 1/2" hole at each corner cutting the hole with a fine toothed hacksaw turned at 90 degrees to the saw frame not the best way I know but it did the job & left a lovely smooth finish to the edges so I had very little sanding to do afterwards.