C’mon Baby, Light My Fire

When we purchased our home a few years ago, I knew that I wanted to give the whole place a facelift. Everything was brown, beige, and blah! We started on the main floor which contains our kitchen, living room, laundry/mudroom, and powder room. One of my first projects was the fireplace.

 Here’s a few pictures of what it looked like before (these were all I could dig up because I never actually took any “before” pictures):


Me with my token glass of champagne

fireplace before

What didn’t I like about the fireplace ? Hmmm, where to begin? The “Builder’s Beige” paint on the wall, the oaked out mantel, the faux stone porcelain tile, the tiny sconces that only cast light onto the ceiling (seriously, what’s the point?)…

I had big plans to completely rip out the boxed out drywall surrounding the fireplace, downsize the hearth, and install an ultra slim rectangular wood mantel. Unfortunately, there was no hardwood laid underneath the boxed out area and there was really no way to carry out my vision without ripping up a lot of the floor ($$$). So, I re-imagined my vision. Here’s what I did:

The Hearth

The entire dry-walled area surrounding the fireplace was retiled with 12″ x 24″ Carrara marble tile. I chose a brick pattern with white grout to draw attention to the pattern (at the recommendation of my tiler).


The Mantel

I am a big fan of Sarah Richardson and my original vision was to build a mantel that looked like this:

Courtesy of sarahrichardsondesign.com

Once the whole area was tiled though, I realized that the mantel would have to be wider to provide balance to the area. I love walnut wood so we purchased a sheet of it and my father-in-law built the mantel. He mitered the edges together so there are no seams showing.  And for the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the stain so I can’t share that with you!

The new mantel was installed right on top of the old one (to provide more support) and  glued in place with tile glue. The wall then looked this for the longest time (this is a year after the first “before” picture – you can tell by the Christmas decorations!):


I think the patches of plaster and exposed wires add a little je ne sais quoi

The Wallpaper

Part of my vision was to wallpaper the wall surrounding the fireplace. I chose a neutral cream and grey wallpaper with a gold sheen to add some elegance. The wallpaper is by a company called Anderson Prints. The style is from their Gossamer Collection and the colour is “GM10206.” I have loads of scraps leftover that I am hoping to use for another project one day (suggestions, anyone??).



Sometime after the tile and mantel were installed, the old sconces were ripped out. It then sat that way for a long time while we waited for the wallpaper to be installed. I purchased these sconces online and, I have to admit, I am not totally thrilled with them. I love the style, but I wish they were bigger because I think the scale is a bit off. Oh well, I must live with them for now.


Dressing It Up

I am still working on styling the mantel. I like each individual piece on the mantel, but it hasn’t totally come together yet. Nevertheless, here’s what it looks today:




Thanks for reading (if you made it the whole way through this long-winded post)! Stay tuned for a post about the kitchen reno!

2 comments on “C’mon Baby, Light My Fire

  1. Your doing wonderfully so far! The wall paper is amazing! Can’t wait to see more.

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