78634-makeover

The evolution of our living room fireplace {+ more fall decorating}


First thing’s first—the winner of the framed Roman Numerals print has been chosen! Check the Rafflecopter box to see if it was you!

Whew, I can’t even explain what a relief it is to finally have this fireplace finished! It was the most daunting task on our living room to-do list (after the ceiling was finished) and finding a tile installer ended up being a huge stressful ordeal. Between the lack of tile workers in this small town, the first guy backing out at the last minute, several insanely high quotes, and another cancelled contract due to an incorrect estimate, we were facing the reality of having to do it ourselves.

But just in the knick of time, we found a replacement and let me tell you, hiring this job out was the best decision ever.

Let’s start back at where we left off a few weeks ago. Our handyman had installed 2×4’s for cement board support:

Living in the mountains now, I’ve embraced the cabin style (albeit in a subtle way) and at the heart of any good mountain retreat is a statement-making stone fireplace. We love the more modern look of stacked stone and were very pleased with how the bar wall in our kitchen turned out so we used the same quartz stone.

Since the materials were on the pricey side ($4/sq foot and it took over 300 sq feet) we decided to keep the hearth simple with some light gray porcelain tile, which ended up being around just $40 total.

After weeks of hunting down a tile guy, he came in last Tuesday and started the prep work. This was the end of Day 1:

Then the tiling began. End of Day 2:

More tiling and cement board—end of day 3:

By Friday evening (day 4) it was 95% done. Excuse the crappy cell phone pic…

The finishing touches were added Saturday morning (another bad pic, sorry!)

We do plan on keeping our TV there (Brad insisted, I can’t fight it) but I made sure it wasn’t a permanent installation. Just two plugs and it’s easily put away if needed. All of the other components are in the hall closet, fortunately, so I’ll just have to decorate around the TV.

But not before I took some proper “After” shots of it, all ready for fall. I had fun grabbing whatever seasonal-ish decor I could scrounge up around the house to dress it up a bit.

This is one of those things where you just have to be standing in front of it to really get a sense of scale and the way this changes the entire feel of the room. It truly is the heart of our home now.

I’m trying real hard to pretend like it’s fall here, even though it was 90° yesterday.

We have more firewood than we know what to do with, and I’m so looking forward to putting this new fireplace to good use.

Change is coming, soon… I can feel it…

We have this tree in our front yard that started producing these perfect orange and red bulbs (seeds?) the first week of autumn, right on cue. It makes for some great festive arrangements.

I scored this whole stack of vintage books at our local flea market the other day for just $10 (along with that chunky blanket for $1).

My Roman Numerals print decided to make another appearance… the classic black and white typography just goes with everything (and adds a touch of sophistication, don’t you think?). I layered it with
a black and white vacation photo (see more on that DIY project here).

You’ll have to ignore the weird lighting. The bottom of the fireplace had natural light from the windows shining on it, so the top looks a bit darker and warmer in color. It’s all uniform in real life, I promise.


The brass candlestick holders were also a flea market score, and I found the inexpensive black lanterns online here—they have so many to choose from!

The antler candle holder was a gift from my friend’s dad who makes them.

We have a fireplace screen that will be in place normally, but I left it off for this shoot.

Look who I caught up to no good…

Autumn needs to hurry up and get here so we can cuddle up with our furbabies by the fire. I know they’re anxious for it too.

And now the best part… where we can fully appreciate the makeover by traveling back in time to the “Before”…

And after we painted the walls…

Can’t wait to get the rest of the living room put back together! We’ll be working on that tomorrow. And then I have some exciting news later this week, along with perhaps my proudest DIY furniture build yet.

See you in a few days!



46 thoughts on “The evolution of our living room fireplace {+ more fall decorating}

  1. I am actually looking at using the same stone tiles to do my bar in the kitchen (It's only 3.5 ft tall so from your other blogpost I can skip the cement board!). My concern is the my bar has lots of angles/corners (and they are not necessary just 90 degree!). I don't have a wet tile saw so this is definitely being contracted out. Do you think it will be hard to cut the tile in angles?

  2. It's not hard, just more time consuming. We had our tile guy test out mitered corners for the edge of our fireplace but because they are all different widths, it looked a little strange and jagged so we skipped it. You may run into that problem too. It's hard to say without seeing it in person but if your tile guy is good he should be able to make it look right!

  3. Any decent tile person can cut angles on this stone. it's just like cutting tile. I even entertained doing this for a few mins when we were having trouble finding a tile person.

  4. Gorgeous!!!! Ive seen bloopers build frames around their tvs…. Maybe that could be an option to help in blend in better.
    Love love love your style!

  5. I can't believe the difference from the before to the after! You had great vision! I LOVE your fireplace makeover. The stone/tile is beautiful! Great job!

  6. I had to come and visit you today because Sarah talked about you on her blog. You are to her what she has been to me, and that is way too cool to pass up, so I'm about to dig in to your blog.

    Any inspiration of Sarah's is an inspiration of mine.

  7. LOL, I agree! I cringe at the thought of a television on that beautiful showpiece! Great job JS! You certainly have an eye for your style.

  8. `What a before and after! This fireplace belongs in a magazine. Such beautiful stonework. Every detail of your home is so amazing. Just when I think it can't get any better, you pull another trick out of your hat!….. Random question- could you tell me where you got the brass pulls for the piece that you re-did? I know you painted them, but I need some brass ones and really liked them. Thanks.

  9. Its removable but we entertain a lot, so it will be up there usually. We like to put concerts and things on when we have parties. You have to understand that I'm a technology person, and technology is integrated heavily into our house in one way or another, and most houses of the future will have home automation and such. It's a good compromise that she can remove it when she wants to.

  10. I don't normally comment on blogs, but this transformation is stunning:) You really have a good eye for these things! Happy Fall!

  11. Looks amazing! I can picture myself cuddled up in front of a roaring fire now…

    Quick question, did you have to add the cement board to the hearth or did you just mastic right to the brick?

  12. Hi,
    Can you confirm the stone from Lowes is Desert Quartz Ledgestone Split Face Natural Stone Random Indoor/Outdoor Wall Tile (Common: 6-in x 12-in; Actual: 5.9-in x 11.81-in) please?? Thanks!

  13. I think this looks lovely. Is the mantle height to code? Seems rather low for a woodburning fireplace and curious about heat generated

  14. This looks amazing! We are in the process of repurposing the wood as our previous mantle by painting it the same color you have as yours. Did you stain or use a paint based color? The wood we have was previously painted white so we aren’t able to stain it unfortunately – what did you do??

    1. Hi Nikki, mine was bare wood so I stained it. If your wood is smooth you can use a paint stripper but it’s a lot of work! If you want to see the wood grain, I’d honestly just find a new piece of wood to use.

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