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My bride wanted some new shelves for her office. I was looking for an excuse to buy that table saw I’d been eyeing for months at Home Depot.

Welcome to the Power Tool Co-Dependency Zone.


Before the table saw, there was the question of what to do with the upstairs guest room. Really, having guests across the hall from us was almost out of the question. They might be able to hear us and, worse yet, we’d probably be able to hear them. Better, whenever possible, to shuffle off guests to one of the downstairs bedroom.

So we figured turning the upstairs guestroom into “The Library” was a damn sensible plan. “Oh, you can stay in the Library if you want, dear friend, but it only has a sleeper sofa. Have you seen the comfy bed downstairs?”

Not just any library, mind you. We wanted, in our “modern Mediterranean” themed home, to have one room absolutely reek of Victorian England. Dark colors. Half-upholstered walls. Bookshelves of rich wood. Something from India or Burma to give it that perfect touch of Empire. And, of course, chair railing (to separate the upholstered lower wall from the painted upper wall) and crown molding.

Bingo! Melissa got the library she’d always wanted, and I got to buy the miter saw which I’d always, um, needed.

With the Library finished, it was time to tackle another project: The fireplace.

The original fireplace wasn’t bad, if you’re into Early ’80s Whatzit


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