When we moved into our current house, one of the details that struck us as odd was the fireplace in the master bedroom. Why the heck would anyone want a fireplace in the master bedroom?
Well, lots of people were happy to tell us why anyone would want a fireplace in the master bedroom — I guess lots of people like fires in fireplaces, and find the idea of being able to watch a fire while in bed very nifty. Apparently, we’re kind of odd.
The fireplace was a gas fireplace — or maybe it was originally a natural fireplace that had a gas hookup added to it. There is a pipe at the bottom of it that leads to a contraption at the back of it, and we were told that was for gas. But unlike the other gas fireplaces we’d seen, the front of the fireplace was open. And the whole thing appears to be non-functional.
We didn’t care about the functionality of it — and to be honest, there were lots of other things about the house that were clamoring for our dollars that took precedence over figuring out and fixing up the fireplace. So it sat for almost two years.
During that time, our dog slept in a pen at the foot of our bed. It’s a collapsible gate thing that’s meant for toddlers — we set it up every night and take it down every morning so that the dog can have access to his bed throughout the day. You know, when he’s not napping in his bed in the kitchen, or his bed in the den, or his favorite spot in front of the door, or his sunbeam on the carpet. My dog is kind of spoiled?
I finally got tired of dealing with the whole collapsible pen thing, and started eyeing the fireplace in a new light. Previously, I had thought of trying to turn it into a bookshelf, but never got around to it. Then one day, our general fix-it guy and house savior came by to help me with some stuff, and I asked him if he could build me a platform to fit the fireplace and also figure out some way to cap the fixture at the back. Yes, he could, and the result has been stupendous!
Here’s the fireplace, sans dog bed:
Here’s the empty fireplace. The square box at the back is the covering for the gas pipes. The platform both covers the pipe at the bottom of the fireplace and keeps the dog’s bed off of the grubby floor. It also helps keep him off of the colder stone. We live in Wisconsin — it gets cold here!
The platform and the box are both removable should the next owners of the house not want a doggy alcove. It would take some work to get them out, but they are not permanently attached to the fireplace walls.
After the platform and box were in place, I slid in the bed. Perfect fit! The roll at the back is a self-heating mat that goes in the bed in the winter to help keep him warmer. I got it for him during our polar vortex this past winter.
At night, we put two sections of the gate in a “V” across the front of the fireplace to keep him inside. That’s for his own safety, so that he doesn’t ever get stepped on or tripped over by any humans staggering to the bathroom in the middle of the night. In the summer, sometimes he gets up in the middle of the night and sleeps on the hearth to cool down.
I have occasional flights of fancy of putting a curtain rod up and stringing a little curtain up to make the space look less like a fireplace. But “my dog sleeps in the fireplace” has been quite the conversation starter for us!