Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Fireplace Makeover Part 3: DELICIOUSLY DONE

Uh yeah, I'm just going to kick things off with the reveal. TA DA!

In case you missed it: Part 1 and Part 2

There were just a few more details to square away before I could wipe my hands of this project.

I sealed up the seams with caulk. Taping off the edges helped to keep the caulk line clean. It's not as perfectly filled-in as I would like, but it's hardly noticeable when you stand up and squint your eyes. 

For the sides, I just smoothed some caulk directly on and painted a straight line after the fact. 

Now the floor trim was a lucky break. The store-bought trim I found just wasn't going to cut it as you can see on the left. Not only was it the wrong color, but it didn't line up with the trim on the mantel (yeah I'm OCD like that), nor did it cover up the glue leftover from the old trim. Perhaps I was just asking too much from generic store-bought trim. Luckily I've been meeting a lot of talented contractors and craftsmen at my new interior design job, and one of them was generous enough to mill me exactly what I needed. 

You can see how much better it looks than the generic version. I really wanted the trim overlap far enough to meet that inside piece of the mantel. And now it does. OCD win!

He gave me 9 feet of trim, which gave me just enough for the whole hearth with about 6" of leftover, which means we were SUPER careful about cutting the miters. I swear we measured six or seven times and cut twice (once with 1/4" extra just in case, and twice to the exact length). And in keeping with the overly-cautious theme, I taped the cut so there wouldn't be any splintering.


I want to point out that the Lowes employee was absolutely NO help in the wood stain department (not that that is surprising in any way). She wouldn't let me test the stain on my scrap wood IN the store, complaining that she would have to clean up my mess if I ended up not buying it. Even though I pointed out that she would have to clean up my mess if I ended up returning it....

Thankfully it turned out to be an exact match. I used Minwax "Golden Oak".

Three coats of stain and two coats of semi-gloss Polycrylic

Once I let those dry for a couple of days (seriously, my impatience was killing me), it was finally time to install the LAST PIECE OF THE FIREPLACE!!!


We dusted off our nerdy old computer graphics books and put them to use once again. As weights.

While I waited 24 hours for the glue to dry I took pretty pictures of my new birch logs, a gift from my generous boss and her furniture staging endeavors.

Has it been 24 hours yet? IT HAS?!?! YES!!

And just for fun, let's take a trip down memory lane.

Ok now back to the eye candy.

I really adore this fireplace now. It looks so beautiful and fresh and totally transforms the room. Not only that, but I feel like I've learned an incredible amount as far as DIY goes. I mean seriously, we tackled brick demolition, tiling, rip cutting, bench planing, trim installation, new painting techniques, and more!

But you're really going to hate me when I tell you that the materials for this project cost us less than $200. Yes. Yes it did.

Here's the magic:

3/4" 4'x8' MDF: $35
Grout Sealer: $7
Wood Glue: $3
High Heat Spray paint x2: $10
Foam roller: $2
Paint conditioner: $8
Tile (thank you Craigslist): $15
Painters Tape: $7
Poplar Wood: $46
2"x4"x10' studs: $6
Wooden Dowel: $2
White Sanded Grout: $11
Rapid-set mortar: $17
Tile Spacers: $6
Plastic Drop cloth: $3
2'x2' drywall sheet (for patching): $5
Wood stain: $7
Polycrylic semi-gloss: $6
Drywall mud: Already had
Kilz Primer: Already had
Sherwin Williams Enamel Extra White: Already had
Screws: Already had
Wood Filler: Already had
Caulk: Already had
Oak Threshold: Freebie!
TOTAL: $196

To be fair, we also bought a few new tools for the project, but nothing that broke the bank.

Tools Used:

Chisel: $11
Thinset trowel: $6
Grout float: $13
Tile sponge: $4
Kreg Rip Cut: $35
Bench Plane: $25
Jig saw
Mixing bit
Tile cutter (borrowed)
Miter saw
Circular Saw
Kreg Jig
Paint roller
Caulking Gun
Countersink Drill bit
Shop Vac

I'm officially labeling my new "career area" (according to my mom's Feng Shui books) a success. Oh, and the new interior design job is going VERY well. Coincidence? Maybe. Don't tell my mom, it'll only encourage her :)


  1. Ah, so lovely. :) What a journey your fireplace took before it arrived at the land of Beautiful. I'm impressed with how well you kept track of your spending and the generosity you've encountered in your new job already. =D

    1. Thank you Yvonne, I feel incredibly fortunate :)

  2. As the wife (and sometimes helper) of a Master Carpenter, I have to say a huge "Well Done". Not only have you transformed the fireplace, but the entire area. So clean and modern. Just love it!