Wednesday, February 20, 2008

In search of Summer Covers....

Since Day 1 at ThirteenEleven, I have been on the search for summer covers for our fireplaces. My aunt and I ventured to the basement in hopes to find the covers. Why not, why wouldn’t the covers just happen to be in the basement or crawl space? Piles of other junk, stuff, rats, snakes, spiders, and possibly even treasures were there. No such luck on the summer covers. (The other mentioned above? Well yes, except for treasures. Some neat finds, but treasures? Sadly no-- not to date.)

While reading other Houseblogs, I always focus in on any photographs of the fireplaces. I look at the mantles, the tiles, the style, and of course the surrounds and summer covers if any. Once I see a summer cover, I zoom in and take a closer look. Oh, how I covet some (all actually) of the fireplaces with the covers intact. If only…I wish, ThirteenEleven had its covers, but it is not to be. Just look at the detail of the covers here, and with craftsman detail here. I even posted on fellow Georgia bloggers fireplace here.

Reading up on summer covers and coal burning fireplaces, I find that many of the summer covers and inner workings of the coal fireplaces were donated to scrap metal drives during WWII. Our covers turned to bombs? Or Planes? Or Tanks? Or maybe the metal runways, my grandfather’s unit paved across North Africa and Italy. The archive’s records stated that in 1941 our house was vacant. There were no local directories made during the war, and in 1946 (next directory) Lord Morrison lived in the house. I know there was someone living in the house in 1942, because that was the date of the newspapers stuffed in the middle room’s chimney.

I then turn to EBay. There are some great covers, most too ornate for a craftsman style house. All too, too, pricy for my purse.

Next stop, junk stores. I find many, many of the surrounds. But for summer covers? No.

I walk over to the open house, 3 houses down. (You know, all old house geeks, love a good old house, open house.)

Almost every fireplace had the summer covers and all the inner workings….

I hear whispers, from the other gawkers, “What is she doing? Why?...Why is she taking pictures of the fireplaces? Ok Already, I have a problem.
A little closer..... gotta love utilitarian detail.

Look, another one behind a heater.....

Side note…. This 1921 house is huge with tons of potential. It has some great detail shown below. But it looks like some of the interior woodwork has been removed, and what was done to update the bathrooms, should qualify as a crime. Why? I ask. I just don’t get it. It’s like one of those shows on Discovery, “When Plastic Surgery Goes Bad.” It’s just wrong…to butcher a beautiful old house like that with contractor grade late 90's looking fixtures, cabinets, tubs, toilets, and sinks. Eugh!

After 21 months of searching,
Who would have thought summer covers would be as rare as a Campephilus principalis. (Well maybe not that rare.)
I found a couple in an antique store in Hogansville. Take a look and tell me what you think. I did a little bargaining and made sure I could bring them back if they didn’t work.

They need some cleaning.

Yes, this one is upside down...
Should they stay or should they go? (look closer, you can see some of that pink paint peeping through on the bricks)


Jen said...

I need to show the bedroom fireplace.

Aimee said...

Those are really neat! I was wondering what fireplace covers were, then I saw the photos. I thought it was something for the outside fireplace to keep it safe or something. :) I say keep them!

Liz said...

I think you could clean them up- with lots of elbow grease! If you got a good price, I'd keep them. Do they help with drafts?

Jen said...

There hasn't been any drafts, 'cause I sprayed foam into the chimney area. Soot kept blowing down. The chimneys need closing from the top, but my quick fix for almost everything is spray foam.

Sandy said...

Gotta love that spray foam! Best thing since duct tape. LOL

Yep. Strange about that mole. Didn't even know we had them, let alone that they could get in the house. Quick little buggers!

Jennifer said...

Keep! If you can't clean them up, I would repaint them with a black lacquer paint.

Our Little Bungalow said...

I like them. I *really* like them. Our fireplace sucks. It doesn't work, it has no cap and what is up there is very very scary. Plus we can't find an insert in our price range, which of course is $0. :-)
I think they are very nice, strip them down with some SoyGel and you will be good to go!