DIY FAIL: How to NOT refinish a fireplace.

Have I ever mentioned how I lived without a towel rack for six months?

Now I'm sure you're thinking "Well what in the world is the big deal with a towel rack?" and in most instances I'd agree with you. However. HOW-EVAH? My bathroom has no ventilation fan and is therefore very damp all the time, even if we leave the window open (and oh! By the way! Just discovered that the neighbors can technically see over our fence into the bathroom window! Awkward!). This being said, unless my towel is spread out in one layer on a towel bar, it's doesn't dry. And on day three a fresh, clean lovely towel usually meets my face as Mildewed Towel of Doom. With is exactly as you'd imagine: AWFUL. So my husband also has his own towel rack. And most days? Because my towel would be wadded up on the floor because it always had that funkey mildew smell? I'd just borrow his. And we'd end up sharing a towel. I know. I KNOW! 

The reason I lived without a towel bar is because for both of my pregnancies I'd used my former towel bar – God rest – as a way to lunge my huge, pregnant self off the toilet. It was very handy there for a while! Now I understand those handles in handicapped restroom stalls on a whole new level! It was very, very helpful until … I yanked it off the wall. I was able to jerry rig it for a while but when it started falling off the wall in the middle of the night and scaring the living daylights out of me I threw in the towel (HAR!) and removed it. My intention was to go to Target that same day, buy the same exact towel bar, and replace it ASAP.

Months elapsed before I finally bought one. Which was similar and not exactly the same. Because I waited so long that Target no longer carried my towel bar.


But here! This is where we meet the crescendo of this super-interesting story! When I came home that night I was hell-bent that as soon as the kids were in bed I was going to hang that towel rack in the fifteen minutes I had to spare before Glee came on. I even imagined having spare time to admire my work before my show! John was working that night … oh this night. It lives in infamy in my brain and it will be burned in my memory forever.

Moral of the story? I spent TWO HOURS sweating like a pig in my bathroom trying to get the dang thing up. I didn't have one of those teeny tiny flathead screwdrivers and in my obsession to finish the project – instead of just waiting a day to get the tool I needed – I surreptitiously destroyed the towel bar and had to throw it away. AND I missed Glee

(And then it was another couple months before I could bring myself to buy another one. And even then? With the right tools? It's not perfectly installed. Screws are kinda hanging out. BUT IT IS ON THE WALL AND MY TOWEL HAS A HOME. Gah.)

This is how a lot of my projects end up. I start out with really good intentions but instead of taking my time and planning things out I do whatever it takes in the last stretch to just GET IT DONE. I don't even want to mention the curtains that are pinned to a curtain rod on two of my windows waiting to be finished. And have been there for 2 months. Because I ripped down the dirty mini blinds – and threw them out! – and planned to "whip up" a pair of curtains during naptime one day and then I couldn't get the sewing machine threaded properly and I nearly threw it out the window after an hour of trying. Thus. My curtains are all janky and pinned up. 

SO. This brings us up to speed. Remember how I said I was going to update our funky old fireplace insert with a little spraypaint magic?

(Did you know that stuff from the 1970s can now actually be considered ANTIQUE? Too bad it's all pretty much Disco-rific.)

Well, I pulled it out! I hosed it down in the back yard (it was so dirty that it was the only way. The thing probably hadn't been cleaned since the 1970s now that I think of it). I painstakingly taped off the glass. I sanded it down a bit. I positioned it perfectly and … when I started painting things went horribly awry. First of all, the "metallic" oil-rubbed bronze spray paint I chose looked VERY glittery in the sunlight. I'm talking Edward Cullen glittery, folks. And while attractive on your favorite neighborhood vampire, it's not what you want to see on your fireplace (when it dried it toned down a lot). Then things started to glob and weren't looking smooth and the sprayer on the can was weird so the paint wasn't going on evenly. I had to let it dry, sand the paint down some and then re-paint it in the shade (it was so hot outside that the metal heated up a lot and I think that messed with it). Finally I was satisfied! I brought it inside to my freshly swept and vacuumed hearth and went to screw it back to the bricks inside and…

The screws disappeared into the wall and I suddenly had no way to secure the stupid thing.

Say it with me now:


Yes! That is indeed my fireplace insert being held up by a footstool and a baby gate. In a home where there are two small children, one of which is a creepy crawler! FAIL. I tried everything I could think of to get it secured. No luck. 

Today I had to call a handyman to fix it:




The mantel looks nice now. I'll show it to you another time. Right now I'm still feeling sorry for myself. And for the record? I will never, ever move that flipping fireplace insert again. Even if gold comes inexplicably back into style.

(psst: You can like inside dog on Facebook! If you like it!)


3 thoughts on “DIY FAIL: How to NOT refinish a fireplace.

  1. christina says:

    I feel so bad! I’m so sorry! Mine went right back into place – my word I cannot beleive you had to PAY him, was he at least cute? I hope he was at least cute!

  2. Elsha says:

    We refinished a fireplace like that in Texas, but we just taped plastic over the brick and spray painted right there in the house. That’s a big no-no right?

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