Monday, December 11, 2006

Before and After::Living Room Fireplace

Four months after we moved in, I finally get to post my first "before and after" shots of an improvement we made! We've got lots of projects underway--but we tend to abandon a project as soon as the item is usable and move on to something else--so everything is half-finished. Such is no longer the case with the fireplace in our living room--I finally finished the last coat of paint last weekend!

When we moved in, the fireplace looked like this. It had obviously been painted at one time, then stripped--traces of paint remained in a few nooks and crannies. The wood hadn't been refinished, and it wasn't particularly nice wood anyway; in fact, the grain obscured the woodwork details. Furthermore, there were some decorative wood pieces nailed on that can be described as "frou-frou."

Steve and I are not frou-frou.

Our first night in the house, I discovered the decorative pieces were removable, and ripped them off. Better already. Besides not being particularly stylish, they were disproportionately small. Anyway, one of the side pieces of trim was crooked and needed to be fixed, but besides that, I figured all the mantel needed was a couple of coats of white paint and we'd be good to go.

What was I thinking? Of course it wouldn't be that simple. When Steve removed the mantel to make painting easier and level the trim, he discovered that it was being held to the wall by only one nail in that piece of trim. And of course the more he looked, the more flaws he saw. So a little project for me turned into extra work for him--adding and moving pieces of wood, securing anchors to the brick so it could be re-attached more sturdily, and filling all the cracks where pieces were joined together, all the while mumbling about what a shoddy job someone had done originally putting it together.

Fast forward a couple of months, and we've got a much spiffier-looking mantel! The firebox is still pretty sad looking (water stains, thanks to a leaking chimney), and we won't mention the tile (thank goodness for the low lighting in this shot) or how fake the gas logs look--but the mantel itself changes the look of the room, I think.

10 comments:

Danielle said...

Wow, looks great! I love fireplaces!

Michelle McCallum said...

Amy, that looks great! Have you been able to use the fireplace yet? Well, I guess it probably isn't too cold where you guys are :)

Amy said...

actually yes--it was FREEZING here last week. often in the mornings I can't get warm in our house--I think the thermostat is messed up--the fireplace gets the living room all toasty without having to run the furnace so high :)

Anonymous said...

The fireplace is really pretty. I like the wall color, as well. Would you mind sharing what color it is? I've been wanting to re-do my living room walls for awhile but have been a bit draggy in picking a color. I really like your's, though.

Bethany said...

It looks so good!!! Great job. Don't you just love before and after shots. We have had our house 3 years and we still have a yucky fire place. I keep telling myself we will finish it by next Christmas. HA HA. We have tiles that have been painted over numerous times and some have fallen off (although we still have them). They are historical tiles and the only way to save them is take them off soak them in water and scrub...no paint thinner so it is a project that is quite overwhelming. Someday....

Can't wait to see some more of your before and after shots. I understand the halfway thing. We do that here a lot too. When you have to make so much livable it takes longer to complete to perfection. HEE HEE

Amy said...

I will share details if you will sign your name to your comments! :)

to be perfectly honest, the wall color is not my favorite. I think it looks better in the pictures than in real life! in certain light it is fine but in other light...it's not terrible but probably not the shade of brown I'd choose. in fact I did choose a different shade for our hallway--we got all our paint at Lowe's and we painted the hallway a similar shade, but a bit of a cooler tan color. the LR color has a little too much yellow undertone for my taste--at least in certain light.

(the LR is the only room in the house we didn't paint before moving in...because all our current furniture is "starter" pieces and we didn't see a point in choosing a color before choosing furniture and rug (which is still a ways down the road). plus it was a neutral I could live with. it was a whole lot better than the horrible orangey-beige in the dining room and hallway--RIGHT NEXT to this brown (the colors actually touched in the arch doorway). why would you paint two bordering rooms similar but distinctly separate colors? but I digress.)

anyway, there is some leftover paint downstairs. it is Behr brand from The Home Depot...I can check the label for details if you need them. we used American Tradition's "Hopsack" for the hall--it is the same as Eddie Bauer's "Flax" color.

whew, leave it to me to write a book in response to a simple paint color question :)

cousin Sarah =) said...

Your fireplace looks lovely. Very Christmas-y, homey looking. =)

LP said...

Your fireplace looks great. I love the thing you did with the lights. Our's looks similar. (The lights, not the fireplace!)

kate chinlund said...

I think it all looks great Ames! My in-laws gave Chad and I a fake fireplace the first Christmas we were married(weird, I know), and it always made me want a real one. The gas ones are so nice, no hassle! We always agree how wonderful it is to have handy husbands, but it sounds like you are pretty capable yourself :) Way to go!

Sue said...

Amy it is beautiful! Having seen the original in person, the transformation is all that much more impressive. I have a little tip for Bethany on cleaning those tile. When I was pregnant w/Steven we were doing some paint stripping and someone passed along a method I could safely use and wasn't as caustic: using DRY Spic&Span make an extremely concentrated solution then thicken the mixture w/corn starch(like making pudding). Cool and use as a stripper. Test on one tile before you dump them all in!