Fireplace Makeover - 95% Done!

black white modern farmhouse transitional brick mantel hearth surround

Hard to believe it's been six months since the Covid-19 pandemic altered our daily norms. Like many of you, we have been home-bound and minimizing external contact.

With more time spent at home, we were able to knock out a home improvement project this past summer that had been on the "to do" list for years: the living room fireplace. This "pandemic project" gave the room an instant facelift!

BACKGROUND

We have two fireplaces - one in the living room and another in the family room. The family room fireplace was updated a few years ago, but the living room fireplace (and the room in general) was left untouched since the "phase one" room renovation seven years ago! 😣

Here's what the fireplace looked like when we bought the house (MLS photo):

CAD Interiors fireplace makeover and living room remodel

It's hard to tell in the photo, but the wall paneling was stained, dated, and not in good shape.

Here's where we left off after the initial renovation (May 2013):

fireplace makeover and living room remodel brick fireplace

Everything was pared down to a clean slate. Before we moved in, the deteriorated wall paneling, mantel, and fireplace surround were demo'd (among other things). The walls got a fresh coat of paint and we had an electrical box installed just in case we wanted to hang a TV.

Last year, I decided to paint the brick black and my husband installed a gas log set (there was already a gas line):

fireplace makeover black white modern farmhouse transitional brick wood mantel hearth surround

This was how the fireplace looked right before we started the makeover. It was the only recent photo I could find, so ignore the blue tape. 😏

BUILDING STAGE

There is a reason why skilled finish carpentry is a trade worth paying for. Our 1955-built home has its expected share of uneven floors and walls. Needless to say, the cuts and measurements (so many!) were less than straightforward. The build was a time-consuming endeavor for my handy hubby. Note: I wanted to hire the job out, but my husband said he could do it - plus we didn't want a trade inside the house during the pandemic.

Since this project was "learn-and-build-as-you-go", I didn't document the DIY process. But here is a snapshot of what the building process entailed...

fireplace makeover black white modern farmhouse transitional brick mantel hearth surround
Before the first layer of lumber was even installed, my husband had to "fir out" sections of the wall, as needed. This was a key step in the build in order to make things as flush as possible. Once the base wood pieces were installed, we started adding dimension with moldings, filled holes, caulked, sanded, primed, painted, etc. The mantel was also a DIY project.

Here's what the fireplace area looks like today (in-progress):

ireplace makeover black white modern farmhouse transitional brick wood mantel hearth surround

HEARTH - the final 5%

The hearth (area in front of the firebox opening) is still a work-in-progress. It was painted black for now along with the rest of the brick surround. I'm waffling between having a stone slab installed (like soapstone) or trying a technique on the brick that would make it look more like stone?!

BEFORE AND AFTER

There is nothing more satisfying than a before and after...

At close of escrow (MLS photo):

before living room

Present day (ignore furniture placeholders):

fireplace makeover black white modern farmhouse transitional brick wood mantel hearth surround

With the fireplace makeover mostly done, the room has been more enjoyable to spend time in and less of an "eye sore". Next up will be working on a floor plan and designing the space!

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