Well hey there! 🙂 How’s it going?
Spring has definitely sprung here in Nor Cal! We usually warm up earlier than a lot of other places in the US, but El Nino has brought Spring in exceptionally early this year. We’ve actually had temps in the mid-70’s this week! And even though it’s going to cool down over the next few days due to a rain system coming through, the forecast says we will be right back into the mid-70’s next week. If this keeps up, I might be able to get my garden in a few weeks early this year, which would be awesome because I’m tired of eating store-bought tomatoes.
This fireplace makeover came about because over the holidays I got an email from ProFlowers offering to send me one of their lovely flower bouquets if I’d do a post for their Christmas campaign. At the time, this was one of my very first “sponsored” post offers (hey, free stuff is sponsoring in my book). I was SO excited- all my hard work on the blog was staring to pay off!!! .The only problem was that the theme of the campaign was the bouquet was to be arranged on a fireplace mantle- something I didn’t have. We have a freestanding stove in the corner of our family room, and while it makes for an excellent source of heat in the wintertime, it doesn’t have a mantle. As a home and garden blogger, it’s pretty much mandatory to have a fireplace mantle for decorating, and while I had been brainstorming on how to remedy this situation, I had yet come up with a solution when the ProFlowers opportunity presented itself. I was about to write back and say I couldn’t do it, and then it hit me- we have a gas fireplace in our master bedroom! I could hang a long shelf above it to act as a mantle! Problem solved!
Well, that was until I went upstairs to our master bedroom and looked at the fireplace… and realized it was ugly.
Making over the master bedroom was on my to-do list (first thing: change the outdated paint color on the walls), but I hadn’t put much thought into what I was going to do about the fireplace. Now that I had a chance to do a sponsored post, I realized I had to at least change the paint color on the walls around the fireplace as well as add a mantel, but that still didn’t seem like it would be enough. This was going to be one of my very first sponsored posts, and it had to be SPECTACULAR.
So I had to do a complete fireplace makeover.
And it had to be done by next week.
And it was already the end of the week.
If you read my blog regularly, you know my husband Dan is a general contractor. In other words, he could help me with this.
I’m sure there are days he wishes he wasn’t a general contractor… especially after conversations we often have like this one:
Me: Dear! Guess what? ProFlowers offered to send me a free bouquet of flowers if I do a post for them!
Dan: That’s great!
Me: There’s only one problem…
Dan: (Apprehension creeping into his voice) …What?
Me: It has to be done on a fireplace mantle. Which we don’t have.
Dan: (Sounding somewhat relieved) Oh, that’s no big deal! We can just hang a shelf behind the wood stove-
Me: That’s not going to work. I want to use the fireplace in our bedroom.
Dan: Well that will be even easier! All we have to do is-
Me: You don’t understand. This is one of my very first sponsored posts. It has to be SPECTACULAR.
Dan: (Apprehension back in force) So… what exactly does “spectacular” mean?
Me: I want to cover the whole fireplace wall with wood planks. And stain it. And paint it. And distress it. And then make a vintage-looking mantle for it.
Dan: Okay, but that will take a wh-
Me: It has to be done by next week.
Dan: What?!? I don’t think we can finish it that-
Me: Listen to me. They want to send me FREE STUFF. FREE. STUFF.
Dan: (Sighing) You’re crazy.
Me: That’s beside the point. Look, all you have to do is cut and hang the wood planks. I can do the rest. Now let’s get to the hardware store before it closes!
We got 20 1″ x 6″ x 6′ pine wood planks. I wanted to vary the layout, so Dan roughly drew out where they’d go on the fireplace. then started cutting, gluing them on with Liquid Nails, and then nailing them with a nail gun to insure they wouldn’t fall off while the glue dried. We probably could have gotten away without using the Liquid Nails, but if Dan does any kind of construction, it must be able to survive an apocalypse. We’re also pretty much screwed if we ever decide to remove the planks, because the sheet rock will come right off with them. So I hope I don’t get tired of it anytime soon.
It took some time for Dan to cut out all the planks to fit around the alcove, but it came out really nice. I almost considered having him cover up the alcove entirely, but now I’m glad I didn’t!
Looks pretty nice just like this with the unfinished wood!
I used Varathane wood stain in Weathered Gray to stain the wood.
I made chalk paint by mixing 2 parts Valspar signature paint in Ultra White, 1 part calcium carbonate, and just a little bit of water to thin the paint a little because the mixture was pretty thick at first. I painted this over the stained wood.
Right about now, you’re probably asking yourself “Why the heck didn’t she just stain and paint the wood planks before she had her husband put them up?” Because I like doing things the absolute hardest way possible.
Then I got some 220 grit sandpaper and hand sanded the whole thing for a distressed effect. When I was done, it looked like a baby powder factory exploded in my master bedroom.
Like I said before- hardest way possible.
I bought a couple of wood corbels and finished them the same way I did the wood planks.
I actually managed to do this part before I hung them on the fireplace.
For the actual mantle, I bought a 2″ x 8″ piece of wood an aged it using the steel wool and apple cider vinegar method. If you’ve never heard of that before, there’s a bunch of tutorials on Pinterest explaining it.
If you’re curious about why I have an empty basket on my dresser in the left of the picture, that is for one of my cats Little Bit (also known as Her Royal Highness) to sleep in. The next couple of pictures where taken the morning when the lighting was bad, but she was in the basket so I thought it was cute. I did try to put her back in the basket later when the lighting was better, but in typical cat style she was having none of it because it wasn’t her idea.
I hope you enjoyed this fireplace makeover and learned a lot about what to do (and not to do) if you ever try a similar project. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
Thanks for stopping by!