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May 2008
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Fireplace Freshen 5

While the Guest Bath Project is moving along, we have also done some more work on the fireplace.
Behind the valance panels of the fireplace we installed lighting. But it was a little unfinished.

The Bracket Problem
The decision was made to re-install the vertical blinds. The original brackets got lost in the shuffle. Not a big loss as they were a little cheesy. However the company that made the blinds was sold to another company, which was sold to another company, and as a result of this, finding the original style brackets was doomed.
The style of blind is available, but the details and materials have changed, and not for the better. The new style of bracket is even cheesier than the old ones. Stamped steel with low budget spring clips for holding the fixture in place.

Let me digress for a moment. Back in the 70-80’s big draperies were all the rage. Large things made out of materials you needed two people to install. Brocades, velvets, etc. The problem with these was not the design, materials or locations. It was in the damn walls. Typical window construction has a king stud next to the trimmer stud which supports the window header. Nobody who swings a hammer for a living thinks past the minimum amount of framing necessary to get paid. Getting openings square is a challenge in a lot of cases, especially in ‘developments’.

When these drapery sets are used, the rods extend beyond the windows, so that the drapes can be opened completely exposing the entire window. So now the problem is in anchoring the ends of the rods, which take a lot of stress in holding up the draperies when they are opened. There is hardly an even space on either side of the window that you can depend having a stud to anchor the ends.

Adding blocking between the studs on either side of the header takes only moments and the materials are already laying around the jobsite. Repairing walls that have had thousand dollar drapes collapse makes folks crazy. Trust me.

Solid Backing
I built backing out of 5/8 and 3/4” plywood. I used the 5/8” plywood for the valance and screwed it into the 3/4” plywood that has the light and the track mounted to it. After putting it in place and leveling it, I put a 3/4” cleat on the back wall to hold the back end of the backing in place. You will have to pull down the fireplace to get these to move.

A little caulk and a couple of coats of white paint.

It should be real dramatic at night.

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