Today turned out to be a simple evening. Cora finished work early and decided to use the extra time to light the fireplace and continue reading the assigned book for the online book club she had joined not that long ago. She carefully stacked the logs the same way an old boyfriend had taught her a few years back; 3 logs, tented, with one fatwood sliver in between. That relationship didn't work out, but she certainly learned a lot from him thanks to his "handy-dandy" skills. As she relaxed with her book, she would occasionally glance at the flames and felt the warmth not just on her skin but from within. She wasn't ever sure why, but sitting by a fire always made her feel like she was connected to something other than to herself. She loved her fireplace. It was a deal breaker while she was house hunting. No matter how amazing a house was, if it didn't have a wood-burning fireplace, she'd effortlessly walk away. Cora placed the book down, keeping it open so as to not lose her place. She leaned back taking inventory of her feelings for the large grey stone that framed the fireplace. When she bought the house, the initial idea was to take it down and replace it with something new. But sitting here now, she realizes that without a doubt she loves the stone. "The stone stays" Cora says aloud with conviction. "Just needs a makeover", she shrugs. "Possibly a white. A creamy white" she whispers as she nods in approval. Satisfied with her decision, Cora picks up the book and continues to read. The very heart of Cora's home was about to get an upgrade.
As with Cora, the heart of my home is the fireplace. It's not just a source of heat to keep us warm, but it holds power to bring people together. She creates an ambiance of coziness and gently nudges everyone toward conversation. But even in silence, we all feel connected, fascinated by the glowing light of the dancing flames. The fireplace is the keeper of many unforgettable memories. She showcases every holiday and every season proudly, year after year. Even when it's not lit, she stands tall and strong above us all, a focal point the moment you enter the room. Yes, my fireplace is female in my book. She holds many of the characteristics that most of the women in my life have. And for that very reason, my fireplace was getting a makeover.
I clung onto the fireplace surround the moment I bought the house. Just not the color of the stone, that could go. I knew I wanted to keep her bright and airy while still maintaining that strength, nothing too delicate, but nothing overly dramatic in color either. If asked what style of home décor I feel drawn to, I'm going to mention a few. I'm a boho-chic, modern farmhouse, mid-century modern kind of girl! In that order. And the fireplace had to reflect all three of those.
Below is my simple makeover journey to taking my already loved fireplace (I was the only one that loved her at this moment) to a level where everyone now admires her.
It was love at first sight. Chilly evenings, and Christmas eve with the family around this fireplace were in my near future. Prep Day!
But first..... WINE! Chateau La Prade is a lovely blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes grown on limestone soils. It helped send off the old to bring in the new!
Getting some CUTIE PATOOTIE help, brushing out the dust from all the stones and grooves to make it smooth for paint. A simple but time consuming task, which is why the extra cute hands on board were needed.
Silver Ash from Behr never looked so good. It took me a good 2 weeks to settle on this color. At first glance it looks like a plain white, but it actually has a creamy taupe undertone to it. It's light and fresh during the day, but soft and calming once the sun goes down.
Patience is key, but I find painting very relaxing, so I take my time and enjoy the process. Some strokes and a sip of wine. Another sip or two of wine, and a few more strokes. Despite it being late, I kept at it.
Everyone was sound asleep, but I couldn't stop. I trim out the frame with tape to ensure no paint blunders. The mantel still needed to get sanded to remove the orange tone, but I clean up and finally called it a night.
A good nights rest and I'm greeted by this changed beauty. I get to sanding the mantel and any additional paint touchups for what I may have missed the night before.
Sanding out the polyurethane and orange-y tint required a hand sander with course sand paper and a lot of muscle. Honestly, to date I'm still not completely done with the mantle, but I had to take a break. I'll get back to it at another time.
I paint the walls the same color as the fireplace to avoid it from looking choppy. We then add the baseboards. A round mirror from Amazon Black Round Wall Mirror - $74.99 and small burlap tree's from Target 3pk Burlap Trees - $15.00 for simple mantel décor. I found these mixed metal bins for firewood and cozy blankets at HomeGoods. Now it's good and ready for the holidays to come.
I begin to decorate just in time for Thanksgiving. Traditionally, I sprinkle in some Christmas items with it. We are very thankful for our new home.
Fuzzy Stockings grace the mantel for Christmas. Plus I'm obsessed with these carved wooden trees from HomeGoods and Target. The Santa is from Home Depot and the lighted deer is from Lowe's. What's a fireplace/chimney without Santa and his reindeer?
Balloons, stringers and color-changing back-lighting make for the perfect "stay-at-home" New Years Eve ambiance. We're ready for 2021.
2021 is here, and the holiday décor has been put away leaving only a wintery look. We're still adjusting to this pandemic, and to our new home. But one thing is for sure, that my fireplace will always provide me with the glowing comfort that I am so drawn to. I have a few more updates for her down the road, like a new chain screen and finishing up the mantel, but nonetheless, she's perfect just the way she is.
I would love for you to share with the Lopez lot your fireplace makeovers, whether it's a complete gut job, or a paint job, or if you decided to buy a portable fireplace to give your room that warm and cozy feel.
If you have any questions about the process or about any specific items above, please ask in the comments section below.