Hey guys! 🙂
Anyone who has built their own house will tell you that the finishing work is by far the longest and most tedious part of the whole process. You just want to get it all finished and move in already!!! This was definitely the case when we were finishing our house in 2009. We would never cut corners in our house when it comes to the structural soundness and safety, but there were a few areas where we didn’t go as far with the cosmetic work as we would have liked to in order to get moved in faster. One of those areas was the backing for our freestanding stove.
(This picture was taken while we were cleaning the chimney and wood stove, which is why there is no stove pipe. It also made making it over a lot easier 🙂 ).We used the same tile that we used for our kitchen floor to make the backing and floor area for our wood stove. We also included a gap between the tile on the wall and the wall itself to prevent the wall from getting too hot, and made sure to follow all the safety specs from the manual for our make/model of wood stove. So it was all safe and up to code, but it was just really boring. I’ve always thought of the fireplace as being the centerpiece of the family room. And if you’re a DIY blogger, you know that having a fireplace mantel to display decor and decorate up for the seasons is pretty much a prerequisite.
I’ve wanted to make over our fireplace area for a while now, but just never had the opportunity to do it until last year before Thanksgiving. We were doing our usual mad dash to get everything cleaned up and ready to host Turkey Day. If you know me, you know that I just love to overload my schedule and then stress out about it until everything’s done, and last Thanksgiving was no exception! I just couldn’t stand our snoozefest of a fireplace area anymore, and I wanted it to look good for Turkey Day.
We didn’t have enough time to tear out the existing tile and replace it with something else, so I had to work with what was there. I liked the tile in of itself (we did use it for our kitchen floor after all), but it was too dark in back of the wood stove, and it just made the whole corner of the room look dull and dreary.
I decided painting the tile a lighter color to be my best alternative to lighten up the area. I’ve never painted tile before, so this was going to be an interesting experience! I chose to use one of my tried and trusted chalk paint lines for the job: Valspar Chalky Paint in Kid Gloves, Antiquing Glaze, and Limewash Glaze. I didn’t use any type of sealing wax for obvious reasons: I’m sure it would melt right off once the tile started heating up from the wood stove!
I gave the tile two coats of chalk paint, letting each coat dry overnight. It was at this point that I started questioning my decision to paint the tile, as it was extremely bright!
I applied the antiquing glaze, which darkened it up a little too much… it was real close to the original tile color. But when I applied the limewash glaze, it lightened it up to a nice, neutral shade that wasn’t too bright.
Here’s how it looked once I was finished with all the glaze. Much better! 🙂
I found these corbels at Home Depot. They have a pretty good selection of corbels, so even if these aren’t your cup of tea, you’re sure to find some that are!
I used the chalk paint and antiquing glaze to paint the corbels, then we hung them on the fireplace as shown below.
Sorry about the sun burnout in some of these pictures – we didn’t have a lot of time at this point to get everything finished up, so I couldn’t always wait for perfect lighting to take pictures of the process.
For the fireplace mantel itself, we got a 4″ x 8″ x 8′ wood board and cut it down to fit the mantle as well as allow airspace for the gap between the tile and wall to allow air flow. Please note that if you attempt to do a similar makeover on your fireplace, you may not have to do the same. For safety’s sake, please make sure to follow all the safety specs for your particular fireplace/stove insert/freestanding stove/whatever and check with your local building department to make sure everything you plan to do is up to code.
I stained the mantel using a vinegar and steel wool stain. If you are not familiar with this stain, there are several recipes for it that you can find online.
Here’s the finished product before we put the stovepipe back on. We also finished up the sides of the tile with some crown moulding. I am so happy with the results, especially the fact that we were able to get finished up before Thanksgiving!
We put the stovepipe back on and I added a couple of old window frames to fill in the space between the mantel and the ceiling.
I forgot to get a pic of it with the Thanksgiving decorations, but this is how I have it decorated now.
I’m sure at this point you’re wondering – how well has the paint stayed on the tile?
The paint has held up to the stove heat, and we’ve never had any paint smell from the tile heating up from the stove. The paint has held up to routine cleaning, sweeping and mopping. The paint has chipped in a couple small spots on the tile on the floor, but it was easy enough to touch up. We are careful to only put firewood on the marble part of the fireplace and not drop it onto the tile floor, as I’m sure that would definitely chip the paint. I wouldn’t recommend using the paint/glaze method on tile that is in high traffic areas or where it would get wet a lot, but for this purpose, it’s held up better than what I expected. I also wouldn’t recommend using this method on tile that has high gloss.
I hope you enjoyed my corner fireplace mantel makeover, and I hope it gives you some inspiration to makeover your own fireplace if you’ve been thinking about it! 🙂 If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below!