The Big Reveal: Living Room Fireplace

If you count the time in which I’ve been dreaming about the finished fireplace, it’s been a long 18 months. The fireplace felt like a daunting task and I’m a little shocked that I actually did it (with some help, of course). 18 months of dreaming has turned into a finished fireplace that is better than I could have imagined.  I’m so excited that I’ve been doing a little happy dance over here for the past 3 days. Here’s a quick look back at the journey.

A basic black and brass gas fireplace insert surrounded by beige 8 x 8 inch tiles. The tile color was actually more of an almond color and looked awful. It was in bad shape and the grout was cracking all over.We tried patching it at one point but clean grout just made the rest of it look dirtier. At some point the previous owners had tried to burn wood in the gas fireplace so there was soot all over the top which isn’t very visible in the picture.

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The first step was to paint the fireplace screen. I did this first because I knew if I got paint on the tiles it wouldn’t matter since I would be tearing them down. It was a good start and made a big difference to get rid of the brass. Plus it cost less than $5.

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Next I started tearing the tile down. This took a few weeks since I was only able to work on it for a few hours every couple of days. I quickly found that the builders had adhered the tile with construction adhesive which made for some difficult removal, especially on the bottom row.

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A little drywall repair was in order, then we began installing the prefabricated mantle and pilaster set. That solid white strip of wood under the mantle was later covered with a more decorative moulding. This was all followed with another few weeks of nail setting, filler, sanding, and priming.

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At this point we celebrated Christmas and I was able to hang stockings on my ‘in progress’ mantle.

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This is where I asked for your help on tile choices. After choosing the tile, this past weekend we installed it, grouted, and painted both the surrounding wall and put a few coats of white gloss on the wood.

So which tile did I choose?

Option 1 was the winner!

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Isn’t it lovely?!

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Why did I pick Tile Option #1?

A lot of it had to do with the price. Option 1 tiles were clearance at Home Depot. Each  sheet was only $3.76 as opposed to the $11-14 per sheet for all the other styles. So instead of paying about $100 for the tile, I only paid $30. So while Option 3 was actually my favorite, it would have been very expensive and difficult to cut down.

I did have to cut some of these tiles, but with a pair of Tile Nippers purchased at Lowes, it was fairly easy. This was another positive to option 1, most of the other styles would have required more extensive cutting.

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Now I have the opportunity to create pretty mantle designs. Right now I’m loving a natural winter theme. I changed out the candy corn from this project and replaced it coffee beans. The flowers are from Hobby Lobby, snowflake candle holders were from the Crate and Barrel Outlet while everything else came from Homegoods.

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Price Breakdown:

Drywall Repair Supplies (Join Compound, etc) (Lowes/Already Owned) = $13

Sander/Sand Paper (Already Owned) = $0

Prefabricated Mantle (Lowes) = $84

Prefabricated Pilaster Kit (Lowes) = $64

Decorative Wood Moulding (Lowes) = $13

Nails/Wood Filler (Lowes) = $5

Kilz Primer (Already Owned) = $0

Valspar White High Gloss Paint (Already Owned) = $0

Wall Paint Touchups (Already Owned) = $0

Tile (Home Depot) = $30

Tile Adhesive (Already Owned) = $0

Grout/Supplies (Home Depot) = $15

High Heat Spray Paint for Fireplace Screen (Home Depot) = $4

Total Fireplace Remodel Cost = $228

Originally I had thought it would cost closer to $400 to finish the fireplace, but I was able to catch some great sales and the clearance tiles meant that I was able to cut the cost down under $250. Well worth it and I think it really adds to the house.

**Edited to change the cost of the Pilaster set. I origianlly thought it was $104, but after finding the receipt it was really $64. The $104 was the origianl cost of the Mantle kit, but it was on sale for $84.

…and because I still can’t believe it…

one last before…

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…and after!

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Linking To: Addicted 2 Decorating, Thrift Decor Chick

Fireplace Progress: Tile Dilemma

I have run into a little design dilemma.

 

For the past two months I’ve been slowly working on redesigning the fireplace in my living room. When I purchased the house, it was a simple black & brass gas insert and 8 inch tile surround.

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In the first year, I painted the walls a medium grey (which I still think looks purple) and dreamed about the day in which my fireplace would have a mantle.

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So in an effort to make some progress, I painted the fireplace screen to remove all traces of brass.

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Then I started chipping away at the tile in November.

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That quickly morphed into a complete demolition and rebuild…with a Mantle!

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I was even able to decorate for Christmas.

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However, here’s where I’ve stalled. Back when I moved in, I found the perfect tile for the fireplace. The plan was to use the trim I found at Lowes (on clearance) and some larger, standard tiles. However, after installing the surround and Mantle, the dimensions did allow for my original plan. I suddenly found myself at a loss for what to do. Did I want larger 4 inch tiles? 1 x 1 mosaic glass? 1 x 1 mosaic stone? Specialty size cuts?

I spent a few hours wandering the tile aisles at my local hardware stores and didn’t find myself with a clear idea of what I wanted to do. The employees even stopped asking me if I needed help. They’d ask if I needed some help and I’d say “I don’t know which tile to buy”. When they realized I meant I didn’t know what design to pick, they gave up on me. So last weekend, I broke down and bought a single sheet of about 8 different types of tiles.

Option 1: Mosaic Mixed stones. These are slightly larger than 1 x 1 and a nice mix of neutral glass and stone. They are thinner than traditional mosaics and on sale (which is a big reason these might be the ones).

Firepalce Tile Options

Option 2: Tiny Tiny mosaics. These are about 1/2 x 1/2 and really pretty. Colors are light blue, light browns and light green. Up close it’s probably my favorite mosaic tile ever. However, I think it will be a little too busy between the small stone and the lines of the mantle.

Fireplace Tile Options

Option 3: Oh how I love these! The glass is a mix of gloss and frosted and not nearly as brown as they appear in the picture. This is the closest the ones I fell in love with at first, that were later discontinued before I could snatch them up. This is in a tie with Option 1, but the price for option 1 give it an advantage. I’m also slightly worried that it will be too much action, simpler might be better.

Fireplace Tile Options

Option 4: 4 x 4 tumbled marble tiles. These would be both the easiest and hardest to install. Easiest because they’d be a cinch to keep level during installation (which will be a challenge with the mosaics), but the hardest because I don’t have the ability to cut them to size unless I rent a wet saw. Between the cost of the wet saw and the tiles, this would be quite expensive.

Fireplace Tile Options

So that’s where I sit. I’m suppose to install the tiles this weekend with my dad, yet I still have to make up my mind about which ones to use. Hmmm, decisions decisions.

What do you guys think? Which is your favorite?

In Progress: Fireplace Re-Design

The minute I moved into this house, I wanted to redo the fireplace. It took me the last 18 months to work up the nerve to start such an intensive redo on my own. However, last month I started chipping away at the tile.

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The first 3 tiles came down easily and gave me an idea of what I was dealing with. Apparently I was dealing with a heavy dose of grout and A LOT of construction adhesive.

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Within about 20 minutes I had the top row down completely.

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Over the next few weeks I slowly chipped away at the tile. I was only able to work on it after work and had to be done before 8pm in order to be considerate to my neighbors. The fireplace is on a shared wall in the condo and the tile removal was loud at times.

A majority of the tiles came down easily, but there were some that just wouldn’t budge. Once I finally pried them loose, they tore off chunks of drywall.

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The worst damage was on the bottom, and I cause quite a bit of this since I had trouble getting any kind of leverage on the tiles.

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This was my first venture into drywall repair so I called on my dad to come over and help. A few weeks back we spent 8 full hours repairing drywall and installing the mantle.

I was amazing at how easy it was to patch the sections of drywall. I had been concerned that I would have to rip out and replace large sections of wall. Instead we were able to use some joint compound to fill the sections and after allowing it time to dry, we had a great surface to move forward with the installation.

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At Lowe’s I picked up a premade Mantle (on sale) and a premade Pilaster kit. Typically you would also install a surround behind the Pilaster kit, but I needed the lowest profile possible and the surround just didn’t work for me.

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Both the mantle and pilaster kit were easy to install. The hardest part was keeping everything level. This house is…well…a little off balance, and keeping things level can be a challenge. However, we were able to get everything up after few hours work.

In addition to the mantle and pilaster kits, I picked up two pieces of white primed boards to fill the space above the pilasters and below the mantle. Since taking this picture a piece of moulding has been added on top of these simple white boards and it was the perfect addition.

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So here’s where we finished after the one day of work. We got much further than I ever expected and I’m thrilled with the progress. I’ve also continued with the progress and will share more in another post. However, since these pictures were taken we’ve done another coat of compound, I’ve filled all holes, sanded and primed the entire piece.

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Next Steps:

  • Paint with White Semi Gloss (2+ Coats)
  • Install Tiles, Grout, etc

A quick look back…

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I can see the end in sight, and even though it’s not done, I can still hang my Christmas stockings this year which makes me the happiest person around.

Fireplace Progress – Tile Removal

What happens when you have writers block and a never ending home project list…

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This happens!

…but before I go any further, let’s take a quick look back. A few months back I shared that I really wanted to redo the fireplace in time to hang Christmas stockings and we’re coming up on the stocking hanging season. I’ve also been talking about it ever since I moved in over a year ago. It’s one of the top 5 things I want to do in this house.

Here’s a shot of the living room before I moved in. The walls were sage green, the carpet was sage green (and still is), and the beige fireplace tiles pretty much blended right into the wall.

Ugly, Ugly, Ugly…

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Within the first month I painted the wall a grey (that unfortunately looks slightly purple) and the fireplace looked better.

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The next step was to paint the fireplace screen, and remove all traces of brass. You can read more about that process here and it cost less than $5 to do.

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As I find myself in the middle of November I figured it was time to get started on the next steps. So while I was sitting on the couch last night, staring at the fireplace, avoiding my computer…I decided to pull down some tile. Actually I decided to see what would happen if I picked at one corner with some tools.

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Apparently when they built the house, they didn’t use thin set to adhere the tile to the wall. This is not really a shocker based on how other parts of the house were constructed. They used large globs of construction adhesive and A LOT of grout. The first few tiles came down very fast, within minutes, they were barely holding on. Since things were going smoothly, I kept at it.

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About 20 minutes later I had the entire top row removed. At this point it was getting to late to continue. The fireplace wall is shared with my neighbor and I didn’t feel right making that much noise while they were home. I’ll have to keep working on it, and I hope to have all the tile down this weekend.

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I expect that I’ll need to do some drywall repair, but otherwise everything is coming down better than expected. Hopefully the rest of the tiles come down as easily as the first few.

…and a few of my inspiration pictures. These are the closest I can find that fit the vision I have in my head. I already have the tile picked out (and partially purchased), but I’m still planning out the surround.

Source: hgtv.com via Addison on Pinterest

I’m Feeling Inspired – Fireplace Inspiration

One of the big Fall/Winter projects I have on my plate is a fireplace remodel. You can see in the picture below that the house simply had a tile surround. No mantle. It’s builder stock and it’s ugly.

[…and Baxter is jumping in the shot again.]

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So far I’ve painted the fireplace screen, and there is no more brass. You can see the details about painting the fireplace screen here (it cost less than $5).

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I still need to do a lot to get the fireplace in shape, especially since I would love to have it built in time for Christmas stockings to hang on. In the meantime, I spend hours searching for inspiration throughout the internet and magazine. These are some of my favorites that I’ve found online.

This first picture is most like what I expect to do in my own place, only with different tile colors.

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Painting Fireplace Screen Doors For Under $5

I’ll say right up front that this project has been a little hit or miss. I say this specifically because I’m anxious to redo the entire fireplace NOW. However, I need to keep in mind that this is just the first part of the project.

This is my current fireplace.

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This is my inspiration.

The first part of the project was to paint the fireplace screen doors. If you read this post, you know my feelings about brass. To catch you up…

…it’s UGLY!

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Since it’s a working fireplace, I picked up a can of High Heat Matte Black Spray Paint and started taping everything in sight.

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Since I couldn’t be sure the black spray paint would match the existing black, I decided to paint all the black. So I only papered off the wall and tile, leaving all brass and black visible. This would also be a good time to sand the finish if necessary.

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After this, I took a short break to get my dog into the backyard. He jumped around in his kiddie pool and realized that he was now locked out.

“Mom, I love you…”

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“…please let me back inside.” Sorry Bubba!

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I left him out to dry while I inhaled paint fumes sprayed 2 coats of paint on the fireplace screen doors.

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The above picture is when I had already taken some of the paper off the glass to see how much brass you could still see, but the black was still drying. These doors were tricky to paint because there is brass on the outside and inside. I can’t figure out how to access the inside of the doors so there is still some brass visible. I popped the doors open so the paint didn’t dry them shut and left everything this way overnight.

Luckily everything evened out as it dried, but if you do this yourself with the spray paint, be very light handed. This paint was very tough to spray evenly and it was frustrating to say the least.

After 24 hours I took the rest of the paper and tape down.

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You may be wondering why one of the handles is a different color. It’s not really, they are both wood and unpainted. I removed the painters tape from one, and have left it on the other one so it’s easier to do some touch ups. Yes, I also got paint on the tile on the right. I figured this would happen, and even though it’s a bummer, I’m okay with it since tile removal is next on the list to be done.

One last look…Before.

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…and After (so much better)

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Next Steps for the project:

  • Remove Tile
  • Install step (not sure about this yet)
  • Install New Tile
  • Install Mantle and Surround

Painting the Fireplace Screen Doors Project Costs:

High Heat Matte Black Spray Paint: $4

Tape/Paper/Fans: $0 (already owned)

Total Cost: $4

SHOWING THE LOVE!!

Linking to: Remodelaholic, Addicted 2 Decorating, Keeping It Simple, Craft-O-Maniac, Savvy Southern Style, Blue Cricket Design, Very Merry Vintage Style, The Shabby Creek Cottage, Beyond The Picket Fence, The Crafty Nest, The Shabby Nest, French Country Cottage, Funky Junk Interiors