March 16, 2018

On Removing Radiators & Lightbulb Moments

Sofa | Ottoman | Rug | Leather Chair, Estate Find

Back in November, we had the radiator in our family room removed — and I have to tell you, it's made all the difference.

As you know, we've been on a bit of a radiator kick lately. Mostly, painting the ones we have black and wondering why didn't we do it much, much sooner. You can see all of our recent updates here. Even though the radiators in our home are purely decorative, we love the historic character and charm they add. That said, we decided to completely remove the one in in the heart of our home.

For some background, the family room has consistently been one of our most challenging to figure out. It's an open space, but a small one and over the last 6 years, we've tried endless configurations with the furniture we have. If curious, you can see how we've tried to approach this room over the course of the last 6 years here, here, here and here. <---- yikes, it's both fun and a little wincing to look back.

Over the holidays we also bought new furniture to completely refresh the space but were still feeling challenged with how we wanted to configure it all given the room's layout. Then, one day we had a lightbulb moment that went something like — "if the radiator wasn't on that wall, we could fit a sofa over there." That was all it took.

After a quick post on our Next Door app, I learned that any qualified plumber can remove a radiator. The next day, my plumbers came over with a sawzall in hand (<---- get it? it saws all).

First off, radiators are one heavy chunk of metal. Therefore, they must be cut into pieces so you can carry them out. Before we knew it, the radiator was gone and we had what seemed like a brand new room to work with.

I later learned that Caravati's, our local salvage warehouse, will also remove radiators here in Richmond, particularly if they are decorative. This is a route we'd likely take in the future as not to ruin the integrity or function of one of these old gems. As you can see in the snap we took from a recent trip, they have a sea of options and look to be pretty picky when taking new ones.

There were also a few remaining pipe components that the plumbers removed and capped off underneath the house that left two open holes in the flooring. I decided to fabricate the look of a brass plate overtop of them to keep air out and to play up the historic character of the floor.

At our local hardware store, I found a brass push plate (like this one) that would typically be screwed onto a door and ended up cutting it in half to make a custom fit to cover the holes. The plate was easy to screw right into the floor with pre-drilled holes and only cost a few dollars, which makes this DIY project one of my recent favorites. It peeks ever so slightly out from where we have our couch now...

Now with the radiator gone and a smattering of new furniture, the evolution of this little family room is shaping up to be the best one yet. We're just waiting on a set of chairs to tie it all together and can't wait to share more from how it all turns out!

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