When we did the big house remodel in 2014, we didn’t renovate the fireplace. This was mostly save money, but also because I wasn’t totally decided on what I wanted to do with it, and it seemed like a minor detail we could always address later. Well, time passed, we had a baby, and that ugly fireplace remained. And remained.
I’m excited to say that the time has (finally) come to update this fireplace. I’ve been pining pictures on Pinterest for years in preparation for this day, slowly narrowing down the design to something that (1) is feasible for us to DIY, (2) doesn’t require changing the flooring (which was installed as a part of the remodel), and (3) has a mid-century style but still ties into the rest of our home (which unfortunately is NOT mid-century).
Before I get into the plan for this fireplace, please enjoy the ‘before’ state.
Not very light and airy, not mid century, not even attractive. The only thing I love about this fireplace is that there is a hearth.
Now for the design plan:
I started by pining lots of mid-century living rooms with fireplaces. Ideally, I would have gone with a white-washed brick fireplace, but as we didn’t have bring to begin with, this would have been expensive but wouldn’t have looked expensive. So, I started looking into stone options. We ordered a few samples and put them up in our room. The stone we ended up going with was actually not my first choice. It has a lot of sparkle which shows like crazy in the showroom, but in our living room it doesn’t sparkle too much. The fireplace doesn’t get any direct sunlight, so it doesn’t bother me at all. Most of the other stones had brown or gray tones, which I felt would have made the room feel too dark.
The demo of this project went rather quickly, I think I had it all taken down in under 2 hours. The previous owners did not do a very good job of tiling the hearth nor of attaching the wood frame for the fireplace surround. Good news for me.
Once demo was complete, we had to build out the new frame for the fireplace to extend it all the way to the ceiling. The framing was then covered with cement board, and it stayed like this for a couple months, while I was working to decide on the final design elements, primarily the hearth.
Once we decided on the stone for the facing of the fireplace, we started researching hearth options. Unfortunately, our hearth is larger than “standard” hearths, so the pre-fab hearth stones available from big box retailers were too small. Since we absolutely didn’t want to make any changes that would affect the flooring, that left us looking into other options.
We ended up going with a remnant slab which we had fabricated to fit the space. This was a bit splurgy for the overall cost of the project, but the impact of the stone was worth every penny. I am absolutely in love with this stone, it’s a leather finish so it doesn’t feel like a countertop, it just looks luxurious and the dark stone provides some contrast to the otherwise completely white room.
Once we made a decision on the hearthstone, we just had to apply all the stone veneer. Simple enough, right?
Unfortunately, this did take me a lot longer than I originally anticipated. With Sweetie’s preschool schedule, my work days were condensed to only about 4 hours long, and I only could reasonable work on it 1 day a week. Plus, we decided to do all of this during harvest, so I was combining time working on the fireplace with making wine from the 2017 harvest (more on that in another post). So, the months dragged on.
But, how could I forget this bad boy? We are so fortunate to live really close to an exotic wood warehouse, where we were able to buy this reclaimed mahogany beam to cut down to use as our mantle. We decided to keep it as rough as it was, so we didn’t surface the board, I just sanded out some of the gray coloring and we cut it down to size. Then Brad finished it with mineral oil and furniture pastewax to keep it the original color of the wood.
And that’s where we are. I’ll post a final reveal in a few weeks once we are all done, and then I’ll get a chance to start decorating it all over again!