Dec 11, 2008

On Peninsular Fireplaces and the Virtues of Hiring Professionals

I must admit that I do not pay much attention to interior decorating, and I joke with my wife that my ideal color scheme would be white walls in every room and black carpeting throughout the house. You see, my overriding decorating concern has always been functionality over aesthetics, and questions such as "can Crayons be easily cleaned from it" and "will it hide food stains left by my children" dominated any discussions about home improvements.

Thus, when my wife began planning the creation of a peninsular gas fireplace in our home, visions of the havoc wrought by pyromaniacal teenagers tormented me. Yet she persevered in winning me over to the idea, and the carpenter just finished the wood facade on our latest home improvement project.

The project was a bit pricey, coming in just under four grand, but we have both been working extra part-time jobs this fall, and we funded the grand vision out of our savings. We splurged (at least by our standards) and hired a professional contractor with experience in the installation of such a contraption, which meant that I did not have to try and master skill sets completely foreign to me.

Also, this meant that the fireplace was installed according to code, which admittedly is lower on my list of priorities when I do the work (remember - "does it work" trumps "is it up to specs" in my pragmatic mind). I am also far from knowledgeable on gas line installation, so to say I was out of my methanic league would indeed be accurate.

Moreover, other than helping hoist the 350-pound fireplace off the semi that delivered it, I exerted little in the way of physical labor on this project, allowing me to continue my "real" work unabated. I know that a few of my frugal friends will cluck about the spending of $1600 on a contractor, but the work would have taken my wife and I two weeks instead of four days, meaning that the money we "saved" would have been offset by weeks of grumbling, unplanned problems, and the inevitable rookie errors.

Now, if I can only muscle a few of our dogs away from the prime warming zones, I will sit for a few minutes and toast my feet.

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