Inspiration for Remodeling Our Fireplace

Before we talk design, can we talk about the snow that’s coming our way? I’m not one to get too freaked out about snow but when they start throwing around words like “crippling and potentially historic blizzard” and predicting 20-30 inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 50 mph, that’s when I start getting a little bit worried… I made three separate trips to the grocery store yesterday like only a newbie New Englander would and am loaded up with water (since we have a well, no power  = no water), firewood, and, all of the other snowstorm essentials. And even more importantly, I picked up a gallon of paint to finally get going on my foyer if we’re snowed in for days. Wish me luck.

So let’s talk fireplaces because I still haven’t figured out what I want to do with mine. Seriously. Here’s what I do know – after debating whether or not to get rid of the blue and white tile, it’s a go – that tile is soon to be outta here.

Simple mantel decor

The tile definitely has charm but I’d like something that’s more my taste. And I found out that the backing of the top tiles has eroded and some significant repair work is needed just to keep the tile as-is. And did I mention that as-is includes a cracked and then reglued tile front and center? Not pretty.

Delph tile

So what’s left to decide? It’s all about the domino effect – if I’m ever going to replace or remodel our mantelpiece, it makes the most sense to do an overhaul of both the surround and mantelpiece at one time. The mantel itself isn’t too bad but the rest of the mantelpiece (especially the side pieces) are really wimpy. Like, flat as a pancake wimpy:

Profile view of fireplace mantelpiece

So, here’s what I’m thinking. I could either (a) go with a completely different mantelpiece such as a salvaged one or (b) beef up my existing mantel. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I was exploring option (a) at the end of last week. I found some gorgeous mantelpieces at one of my favorite haunts and fell in love this natural wood mantelpiece that was salvaged from a farmhouse in Virginia. If it was about $200 or so, it would have been a no-brainer but of course that’s not the case – it’s big bucks.

Reclaimed fireplace mantel

I could see it looking so stunning though – I would imagine pairing it with a very simple surround for a look like this:

A far cheaper option would be to build-up our existing mantelpiece. I would leave the mantel itself alone but change up the rest of it. I searched out some fireplace designs for inspiration – these are a few of my favorites:

What do you all think? Would you spend the extra money for a unique, salvaged piece or beef up the existing mantel and used the money that was saved towards one of the many other reno projects on the to-do list?


Treating Butcher Block Countertops: Waterlox vs. Mineral Oil

Butcher block countertops finished with Waterlox

Thanks for all the love for our new coffee station that I shared last week! I’m not sure how I’d drag myself out of bed in the morning without knowing that a hot cup of coffee awaits me and I love that everything coffee-related is now in one organized spot (and away from my crowded sink area). Several of you had questions about what we used to seal our new butcher block countertops where our coffee station is set up so I’m going to fill you in on the details today. You may remember that we started with a tiled countertop and backsplash in just this one area of cabinetry at the far end of our kitchen. And not just any ole tile – we had a cow. And a pig. And some fruits and flowers. Cute? Yes. My style? No. So we (and when I say “we” I mean my contractor – […]

Rule of Thumb Measurements: How to Hang Artwork

Rule of Thumb Measurements for Hanging Art Featured

Hi all! Welcome back from the long weekend – it’s always nice to start off your week at Tuesday, isn’t it?! So have any of you been reading long enough to remember when I published my post on 20 Rule of Thumb Measurements for Decorating Your Home – can you believe that was over two years ago?! It’s a post that I’ve gotten so many follow-up questions on that I thought I’d write a short series of posts with some additional helpful decorating measurements. First up is artwork – if you struggle with deciding how high to hang a picture or how much distance to put between art in a gallery wall, this post’s for you! What’s the best height to hang artwork? Art should be hung at eye-level with the center of the picture positioned between 56 – 60″ from the floor. When hanging one picture directly above another, treat the two art pieces as one large picture […]

Organizing the Kitchen: Our New Coffee Station

Simple DIY coffee station with chalkboard print

My morning cup of coffee’s going to be brewing in a whole new space starting today – I finally finished putting together our long overdue kitchen coffee station! As part of “Operation Clear Off the Kitchen Countertops Around the Sink”, I relocated the coffee maker from beside the sink to across the room where we installed butcher block countertops and two outlets several months ago. Our new coffee bar is pretty simple – along with a coffee maker and mugs, I hung my much-loved chalkboard print above a basket holding our coffee beans, filters, coffee scoop, and sugar and cinnamon shakers. Our filters and heart coffee scoop fit perfectly in a little trophy cup that I found at the Ballard Outlet over the holidays: and the cinnamon and sugar are in inexpensive salt & pepper shakers from Walmart: The big hold-up on this project was the coffee maker. The base cabinets that our butcher block countertops rest on aren’t very deep so there wasn’t enough countertop space to be able to pull our […]

My New Mirror (& Jumping Ship on My 2015 Plan)

Round wood and iron mirror

So it took me all of 11 days to veer off of my 2015 plan of sticking with one project at a time instead of juggling a ton of different projects at once. I can’t help it. Because when this beauty arrived at my doorstep over the weekend, how could I not jump ship on what I was working on and switch gears to finishing up my foyer so that I can hang it in it’s new home? I found this mirror about five months ago through a high-end online store, but after using my favorite trick for finding the best online prices, I found the same mirror under a different name at another reputable online store for much less. Unfortunately, it kept getting backordered and I was about to give up on it until it became available here on Overstock for even less (plus I had a $30 off coupon). So I canceled my first order, placed my order with Overstock […]