Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ever-Changing Fireplace

*This post has been edited to include an update*
 I just didn't want to write another post about the FP...
no more than you want to read another one.   

What's more difficult...

1)  Making a decorating mistake and talking about it on my blog OR 
2)  Telling Hubby

Well, the hard part is over with, so let me tell you all about it. 

You remember the fireplace? 
Of course you do, I've only shown it a dozen times. 


the AFTER 

Now THE AFTER is the problem Paired with the mantle, the new tile looked TOO traditional for my taste.  I didn't like it.  I tried to live with it but I couldn't. 

The solution; remove the tiles before the mastic completely dried.     

I used a putty knife to remove the tiles and mastic. 

Here's the AFTER {after the after}

The wall tiles had been up a few days longer than the floor tiles. 
Therefore the mastic was more difficult to remove. 
Because it will be covered up,
 I didn't worry about restoring the surface to it's original finish.     

And there it is...the {sad} current state of my fireplace.

My design goal was to modernize the look of this fireplace.  {I failed to achieve the goal on my first attempt}

I want a fireplace surround that contrasts the lacquered and traditional feel of the wooden mantel.  We love the natural beauty of this mantel and how it matches the rest of the trim in the room, so we don't want to paint it.        

Here are some options I'm considering. 

Cast iron...

Metal look tile...


Concrete Network

Ancient Art Concrete

True Form Concrete

I'm honesty leaning toward the concrete.  I like the neutral gray color and the seamless look.    

But like a home decor frugalista, I'm wondering if I could re-create the look of concrete for less.    

Let's say I did a smooth stucco finish over the bricks and then painted it with a faux concrete finish.  


We experimented by painting the bricks {flat black}.  Although I don't like it...I'm one step closer to finding a solution.  Here's what I learned:

I like the dark color {not black, but maybe gray}

I don't like the grout lines.  I would definately prefer a seamless look OR as minimal breaks as possible. 

So what do you think?  Any fireplace makeovers out there?  I'm open to constructive feedback and suggestions. 

Oh yes!  The good news...we bought a sofa for our living room.  I'll have show and tell later this week. 

Have a great week! 

Sincerely, Lisa 

Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors

Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch

DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land


  1. Oh my! Your fireplace, before - is exactly like mine! (Mine is still in the before stage) I'm wanting to do something with the ugly red brick also, but haven't come up with anything. I don't want to mess with the wood because I spent two weeks stripping and refinishing it. The wood turned out about 10 shades lighter than everything else, so we ended up refinishing all the trim and floor as well. I like the sleek new looks of the concrete, but it wouldn't fit the rest of my old house. Good luck with your decision - I know it isn't easy!

  2. Oh my! How brave of you to get rid of the tile. I could see myself wanting to do the same thing if I didn't like it, but just trying to live with it. Okay, you have several different looks going on here from your inspiration photos. The concrete options don't have a surround which I think gives them their modern and clean appeal. Your mantel is very traditional and I'm not sure could pull off concrete well, so I'm leaning towards the cast iron look. (Love that picture with the mantel on top of the mantel.) So here is what I recommend, paint the bricks black just to get a feel for the look. Also consider if you might want to paint your mantel white. It sounds like you want a cleaner look and white would achieve this. I personally love traditional and Victorian so I'm all about the dark wood and black. Excited to see what you decide!

  3. I totally agree with Beth. Paint everything black. You might look into some of those faux paint kits that have different textures (marble etc.).

    Keep work'n'll find your groove :)


  4. Wow Lisa how brave! I'm proud of you! Since I've seen your story boards of styles you like, I would suggest painting the bricks, not black (although that would look good) but the creamy white color of your walls. You can paint the brick and see how that looks with the natural color of your surround. I like the idea of concrete, however not sure how that would look with the traditional surround! Can't wait to see what you decided to do! Ohhhhh how the bathroom coming?
    Dee Dee

  5. Lisa,
    First of all no offence taken with your comment regarding my art, so please wipe away any worry! Secondly, I like the dark color on the bricks. I'm trying to think of all the countless HGTV hours I've seen, and seem to recall someone resurfacing their bricks with a coat or two of concrete....that might remove the lines that you don't like.
    Dee Dee

  6. What about a seamless piece of slate? Or three pieces and then you only have two seams. I was watching Holmes on Homes last night and they surrounded a tub in dark (almost black, very solid in color)(think of a science lab counter) slate. They used one full slab to cover the front of the tub and then another long slab to cap that piece. Guess the tub isn't important, but the look of the dark slate was gorgeous.

    I love your blog, btw!

  7. Oh Tricia...that's a good idea! I wish I'd seen that episode. If I recall slate has a dull finish. I'll check it out. Thank you!


  8. I am undecided on the look but I do like painting over the tile.....

  9. Hi Lisa,
    OMG! I have to say I actually like the tile you ripped out. I thought it was neutral enough that you could have done just about anything in the room. With that said, I read that your groove may lean toward the transitional style (I got that from a prevous blog post of yours). Transitional is contemporized traditional design really (if contemporized is even a word). I marries traditional style with clean lines more seen in contemporary design. I like the slate idea. I also love glass. Backpainted glass can be purchased in panels similar to slate so less seems. It comes in a varity of colors (any color really) so you may select a darker hue. But it is sleeker that slate and will add a bit of sparkle to the wood. Here is a website you can peruse (and there are many others) to learn more about this product

    This project is getting exciting!

    Paula Grace ~

  10. You were smart to paint the brick to help you determine what step to take next! I like the darkness, but you are right, the grout lines are a bit busy. It seems you really are drawn to a simple, flat, dark surface. Thanks for including my fireplace in your post!!

  11. I have to say I love the look of Janell's (Isabella and Max)fireplace and the idea of the slate. Are you planning to paint the mantel?

    Thanks for you comment this morning. You wouldn't imagine the time I spent on that post! Insane...

  12. Fireplaces are one of those great things you can have when you live in a house and in colder weather... in Miami we don't have fireplaces...

  13. I think the concrete may be a bit too modern for the look you're trying to achieve. Since you don't care for grout lines, I would suggest a marble or granite slab surround. If price is an issue, you can always consider using 12 x 12 (or 16x16) and having them cut to size. By placing the tiles close together and using a tinted grout that blends with the coloring, you can achieve an inexpensive alternative to granite slab with minimal grout lines.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. Best to you & your fireplace!

  14.'ve got some fireplace drama going on over there! I like it painted black much more than the tiles too...good choice! If it were me I'd choose black slate. It's so it's natural and warm, and the black is a bit modern. Plust you might be able to find it at home depot. Whatever you decide keep us posted!