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Monday, September 6, 2010

In the living room: The fireplace

Getting Real
I was originally thinking that I should call this post The good, the bad and the ugly. But I changed my mind. ;) Although, I will forewarn you~ you will see a little of all of the above, especially the latter two!
As I have mentioned before, when we bought our house, it was VERY unloved and neglected. It was the epitome of "fixer-upper". It has taken so much work to even get it to this point, but we aren't even close to finished!
I will admit, there are some good things about this room.
The windows were finally replaced last summer. No more feeling a draft while standing by the old ones!

(Here is David, installing one of the two large windows.)

My husband put the wide trim around them and made new wider window sills.

(Mid project)

(After- Oops, I see that spot I need to caulk!)
And I did a board and batten in the room and painted it and all of the trim white by Benjamin Moore. I followed a tutorial for this project at It's the little things that make a house a home. This blog also inspired my new window sills!

(Priming the "board" and batten.)

Then made a mistake and painted the walls yellow.

(Picture shown in a previous post.)

David built this "hearth box" last spring, but I have only primed it so far! I still have to add decorative trim and paint it!

So far we have also:
  1. Removed "popcorn" texture from ceiling.
  2. Replaced the baseboard heater.
  3. Replaced carpet.
  4. Added baseboard molding.
  5. Painted fireplace; added mantel.
Now as I am almost finished with our kitchen, I have been working on and off in the living room, and planning upcoming projects in this room. I hauled out a lot of the decorations and some of the furniture so you could more easily see the room itself.
I finished painting over the yellow walls, in simply white.

In this picture you can see a little of the very slight contrast between the simply white and the crisper white on bottom. I am still fluctuating between keeping this color and repainting it in moonlight white, pictured next to simply white in the paint swatch. My worry is that it will be too "brown" a tone of white, and clash with the gray accents I am adding to the room. What do you think? Which color would be best? Does the board and batten need more of a contrast?

Now to give you an idea of the layout:

The room facing the fireplace; the kitchen is off to the left.

Coming into the room from the back hall.

(I know, a ridiculously small mirror there in the middle of the mantel!)
Do you see that massive brick fireplace? This is part of the problem. I like brick, but this is overwhelming!

But the truly glaring problem is that the brick is not symmetrical around the hearth. This drives me crazy!

I have always planned on doing something about it, but the only workable plan I could come up with was to remove the extra brick from the right side and put up drywall. A really big job with high risk for total failure. Done by me, who wouldn't know what in the world I was doing...

Then a couple of weeks ago, while staring at this fireplace, I came up with a much more workable plan:

Instead of removing brick, I will add a vertical strip of wood to the left side ( where the arrow is). I'll make a wood "frame" that will screw into the brick, as well as attach to the strip of wood on the left side.

(Click to enlarge.)

I'll cover the brick in the dotted area with either bead board, birch plywood, or MDF, screwing this onto my "frame". (If I use plywood or MDF, I will use trim on it as an accent, although I am leaving heavily toward using bead board right now.)
Thankfully, my husband knows how to do this properly, and can teach me as I go!

The goal is to start this project at the beginning of October, but we'll see!
Any thoughts on this plan, or on my paint color dilemma?

I hope I haven't bored you out of your mind! If I haven't, you can come back next time, when I show pictures and my plans for the other two parts of this room! :)

Thanks so much for taking the time to visit!



Unknown said...

Wow, our fireplaces are similar in terms of their massive sizes! I love your ideas to bring balance to it by framing out either side. I'd have to see it first, but in my opinion, the beadboard on either side might be a little too much visually with the board and batten and brick. I love texture so maybe it would work but I'm a visual thinker. I love the idea of the beadboard and crown on your ceiling!

You hubs did a great job on that hearth box. Was that slab just floating before?

Also, did you make a final decision on your paint choice for the room?

What you've done so far with the space is gorgeous and I can't wait to see unfold!


Erin @ The Little Apartment said...

Wow... How great is that? I think I need to make a hearth box now for my faux fireplace. Your improvements look amazing. I'm off to read some more.

Tara said...

You are so awesome!! Have you ever thought of maybe making a career out of this?

Amy S. said...

I love the idea of adding wood to the left side to balance things out! You amaze me...just as you've finished one huge project, you're on to the next one. I wish I had your creativity and energy! :)
I would leave the paint color the way it is because if the new color ends up too brown, you'll just have to re-paint. I think it looks great the way it is right now.

Erin said...

Gee, and here I thought so small by suggesting a topiary or something on the side that has more brick to bring it in focus??? You do awesome with your projects Jenni, I think you guys are outstanding and wow, what a huge difference!! Only comment about the paint is I love yellow(boo hoo), but it looks crisp in white:)

Anonymous said...


I think balancing out your fireplace is going to look sooo good! You guys have done such a good job so far! I

Anonymous said...

how are you?

Great share, thanks for your time

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