Wednesday, January 29, 2014

FIREPLACE MAKEOVER; The making of a mantel

I am putting together a simple how-to on decorating a mantel... BUT FIRST... I thought seeing the transformation of our fireplace and mantel would be a great starting point.  The How-To on decorating your mantel will be posted shortly... This is the Before and After of our fireplace....a makeover....I love a good makeover, don't you?
BEFORE fireplace and built-ins

AFTER fireplace and built-ins
  We first moved into out home in the spring of 2004.  I can't believe it took me until 2009 to update the 1976 wall to ceiling fireplace in the family room.  It didn't look terrible, just not my style and definitely dated, much too dark for me.  I don't have great before pictures... this one above is from a Christmas that captures the dark built-ins and the big chunky, rustic mantel --not my style, but I was trying to make it work.  I think a lot of late seventies through mid eighties era homes have this floor to ceiling fireplace much can be done to update it, especially if it's too dark or too much brick to work with.

One day at the hardware store...

While browsing the aisles of Lowe's, quite by accident, I came across mantels...(This is how all really good home improvement stories must start, right?)  They sell traditional, DIY mantles and fireplace surrounds, how did I not know about this?

They can be made as plain or as fancy as you choose.  You pick out the style, purchase each piece and assemble them around your fireplace.

 I was so excited... until that point I had no idea how easy it could be...before that I had visions of contractors and bids...lots of time and inconvenience; all of which kept me from really tackling this project.  It turned out to be a very easy project.

 ...Nothing is more inconvenient than living with things you do not like...this project took a very little bit a time and a can of paint to totally change it's look...and my disposition about the whole room.

 A piece of drywall over furring strips allowed us to cover much of the brick.  We left some brick showing around the fireplace opening and the hearth.  We added white molding trim at the ceiling.

I love white painted trim and mill work --so the built in book cases were painted white, along with the wood beams in the family room... it really brightened up the room.  It took two-three coats of Zinsser's Perma-White semi-gloss paint to cover the dark wood.  The paint is a primer and paint all in one, it stays white, does not yellow, I use it throughout the house on all the doors and trim...that way I always know what color I makes touching up nicks in the wood a breeze.  I am a big fan of this paint.  Another DIY-er was in the painting department one day and she told me all about this fantastic product... It really is a great product and I use it all the time. Perma-White Paint the way, if you would want this paint tinted a color, they can do that too --I just always use it in white.
The fireplace makeover took about a week...(You could absolutely do it over a weekend-- (we had two small kids at the time and if I recall correctly, a little person had a bad cold that slowed us down...we worked on it in the evenings when the kids were asleep)  At the same time, I painted the family room walls and trim too, so the overall room took about two weeks to button up.
Already a BIG improvement.
I got rid of the brass and glass fireplace cover... replaced it with a black fireplace screen that suited our look...they sell these all over... our new and improved screen is from Target.  You can see the new screen in the after photo below.
And Today...
And finally...a few more photos... it is after all, a successful makeover and a very happy ending to the dark, 1970's fireplace...

Do you need tips or tricks for decorating your own mantel??  
Visit How to Style an Everyday Mantel post for lots of easy DIY info.

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