Home Improvement

Heating things up

Remember that story about the rush of emotions that I experienced when first stepping through the front entrance of our house. There were no pictures online, and aside from sneaking a peak through a few windows, we really didn’t know what to expect. It took all of two seconds before I knew we’d found our home. I mentioned in that post that in a single glance I noticed the staircase, hardwood floors and fireplace, and immediately fell in love. And now that we were able to renovate the staircase and floors, it was time to finish up the fireplace.
To be honest, it was close to perfect just the way it was. The brick was already whitewashed, and the mantel was already a beautiful wooden slab.
There were just a few updates we wanted to make to the fireplace. Like replacing the lights on either side, updating the tile on hearth, and staining the wooden mantel a bit darker. And of course, we had to replace the mirror to accommodate Dan’s TV.

Mirror takedown
Taking down the 4×6 mirror without breaking it was easier said than done. Sure, we could’ve thrown a rock at it and shattered it into a million pieces. But that would’ve caused a mess, and we wanted to reuse the mirror for our bar in the garage. I saw something online that said to use fishing wire, loop it behind the mirror, and essentially thread it off the wall. It kind of worked, but we needed some careful muscle behind it too. My dad played a big part in helping us take the mirror down carefully – surprising because he’s usually a rougher and would’ve opted for the rock 🙂

Lighting and Paint
Just an update on the sconces that were on either side of the fireplace. While we loved the idea and placement, the lights themselves were a bit outdated. Dan replaced those with candlestick sconces that match the lighting in the rest of the house.
While the fireplace was already painted white, we had dust flying everywhere when refinishing our floors, so we decided to give it a fresh coat of paint. What we thought was white turned out to be not so much, as seen in these pictures taken halfway through painting.
20151024_153011Once all the painting was done, Dan was excited to hang up the TV. He had already put plumbing pipes in the wall so he could fish all the wires from the living room to the office behind it. Heaven forbid any wires were showing 🙂


Refinishing the mantel

Similar to the rest of our wood staining projects, it took a bit of testing before we got the right color. This was really just to freshen up the look of the mantel itself, and match the darker stain found on our newly refinished staircase.


And now that the fireplace was mostly complete, it was time for me to decorate. I swear, our house was made for Christmas.


Tiling the hearth

While the Christmas picture makes it seem like the fireplace is complete, there was still one project left to do. When we refinished our floors, we also pulled up the odd pink tile that surrounded the fireplace. It only took us about 8 more months to decide what to replace it with. We love white carrera marble, and its in our bathrooms and on our coffee tables in the living room, so we threw around that idea first. Maybe in a herringbone pattern? But we eventually moved away from that as we thought it’d be a tough mix with the white brick. We eventually decided to keep it simple and went with a large, 12×24 black tile. Dan’s been waiting anxiously for a tiling project, and was happy to finally get started.

Once the tile was in place, it still looked a bit unfinished. Because the tile sat on top of a concrete slab, it wasn’t entirely even with the floor. To fix that, Dan custom made a wooden border to encase the tile, giving it a finished look that blends in with the floor perfectly.



Now the only thing left to do is figure out what decor to place on either side of the TV. We’ve played around with a few things, but haven’t quite got it right. Too bad its not Christmas all year round so I can just leave the garland up there 🙂




One thought on “Heating things up

  1. wow – what a great reno this was! Love the black tile – and I think given it is a fire place, and likely to have ash and soot, not going with marble was a good idea. 🙂 The house is looking really sharp. 🙂


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