When we decided to make Alabama our Sweet Home, and bought a house, the biggest attraction that drew us was the gorgeous cathedral ceiling. This ceiling makes for a lovely ambience, but is also responsible for reverb, and therefore, echo. The acoustic panels we purchased as a solution do their job perfectly, but I wanted something aesthetic, not merely functional.
The answer came to me in an old picture album that I was perusing. This album was from my life as a newly-wed, my life in Sweden. Sweden in particular, and Scandinavia in general, have a special place in my heart because it was my first home after marriage. “Let’s bring home Scandinavia!” I exclaimed. Hubby dearest did not even blink an eye, “sure. What do you have in mind?” I outlined my idea using pencil on paper, and after a few minutes of discussion and some modifications, we were set.
When I next went to the Woodworker’s Guild on Friday, I drew freehand some images that are symbolic of Scandinavia; Fjords of Norway, coniferous trees of Lapland, Dala horses of Sweden. The bandsaw and scrollsaw there are my favorites, and in a few hours, I had my pieces cut and ready to be painted. Rushing home, I used my son’s acrylic paints to paint the pieces and sit them overnight to dry.
Meanwhile, we worked on assembling with dowel joints, the thirty six square feet wooden frame that I’d so carefully planed and jointed and mitered. Once we were sure it fit well, we sprayed it a rustic copper color and set it to dry. A tempered board was cut to size and sprayed matte black. The next day saw us both working hard and burning more than a few hundred calories as we tested, then retested, then glued and screwed the decor pieces to the board. The back of the panel was made sturdy with a solid wood frame, and several acoustic panels were then glued to it.
At this point, we had to take a break and cleanup, for we were to a birthday celebration of a very sweet child of a family we adore. Celebration enjoyed, birthday song sung, cake and goodies eaten, we headed home, exhausted. The moment we parked however, I ran to the garage to check on the project. Miracle, the glue had cured! My patience ran out, and I begged the hubby to help me mount it all to the wall. Turned out I needn’t have begged, for he was just as excited and eager as I!
Once we were sure everything was in good order, we carried it all in to mount it to the wall above the fireplace. Mounting was the easy part, hoisting the now heavy panel to the spot was harder, and took us both climbing on two ladders with sonny boy supporting the pieces from the ground to hoist it to the mantel.
The copper-colored frame was lightweight and therefore easily mounted, but the panel was a whole different affair. Centering it was one story, then came the part where we realised that the wall did not have a stud in the center!
Fortunately, hubby remembered that we have a box of drywall screws and plugs lying around, and rushed to fetch it, leaving me standing atop the ladder with the drill in one hand and supporting the panel with the other. Once the drywall plug was in place, the screw fit in snug, and we were able to mount the panel using the wire hooks we’d screwed into its supporting frame.
We drew back, took a look at the wall, shouted in glee, then jumped around the house in excitement for a good few minutes before putting all our ladders, drill, screws and other equipment back in place. Then, we clicked a few hundred pictures, bragged about it on social media, glad that neither of us had bothered to change out of our celebration clothes in our excitement to mount our project, for it meant we were actually pretty well-dressed despite the sweaty, dusty nature of work we’d just done!
At about one in the night, once all the pictures had been uploaded to all our groups and social media, we poured ourselves a glass of wine, loaded our plate with some grapes and cheese, and sat on the sofa across the fireplace to kick back and enjoy our private view of Sweden!