MY FIREPLACE GETS A WHOLE NEW LOOK

Hi everyone! I know I’ve been MIA for a while, and I apologize for that. Earlier this year, I started a new job working at a local architecture firm. The firm does all kinds of work but mostly residential renovations and new construction. I really do love going to work each week, but it limits how much time I have to work on my own house. So I’m unable to post as often as I was, but I’m still here!!!

Today I’m going to share my most recent DIY project. I’ve started a complete makeover of our great room. This is a big project because I’m changing out pretty much everything in the room and it’s a decent size room. But the first thing I wanted to do was address my existing fireplace…

BEFORE

This is what it looked like before. It’s a standard, traditional wood mantle on a plain wall. This a common mantel style where we live. In fact, every home in our neighborhood has pretty much the exact same mantel. Boring! I wanted to change it to something more modern and interesting, something kind of like this:

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Since we couldn’t afford to hire a contractor to completely change out the whole fireplace, I decided to figure out a way to DIY this project myself (with the help of my husband). I came up with a a very affordable and doable plan…

I started by completely removing the old fireplace mantel and the two baseboards that flanked it. I was happy to find there was nothing unexpected happening behind it.

With the old mantle off, it was now time to build the new fireplace wall. I drew everything out on the computer before I even started so I knew how it would all come together.

I kept the existing gas fireplace exactly as it was because I certainly wasn’t going to change that out or move it. I also decided to keep the existing stone fireplace surround because there is nothing wrong with it and I like the simple black look. Plus, keeping it the way it was simplifies the project and saves me some money.

But it did mean that before I framed out a new wall for the fireplace I needed to attach a few pieces of wood to the wall in order to create one level plane for the new wall I build to rest against.

The pink pieces are the 1×4 boards I will be adding to the wall.

I attached some 1x4s to the wall making sure to secure them into the existing studs.

Now the black stone around the fireplace sits flush with all of the 1x4s.

The next step was to basically build a new wall from 2x6s.

The orange pieces are the 2x6s I’ll be adding.

My husband and I built the new frame flat on the floor and then lifted it into place on the wall, securing it to the existing studs with screws.

The mantel will later be secured to the double 2x6s which are screwed into the wall studs.

1 BATHROOM, $300, 5 DAYS: FINAL REVEAL

I recently took on a new project: our guest bathroom. This was more than a project though, it was a challenge. It ended up being a kind of case study on what impact you can have with very little time and money (since I have little of both these days).

I challenged myself to give my guest bathroom a new look with only $300 and 5 days of work. I’m happy to say the challenge is complete and I like this bathroom so much more than I used to!

Take a look at what the bathroom originally looked like…

And here is what it looks like after 5 days and $300 invested…

1 BATHROOM, $300, 5 DAYS

I hope everyone had a great holiday! We had a busy but nice time that included a family road trip to Florida. Nothing like the four of us crammed in an SUV for what ended up being a 13-hour drive! Fun!!

I had a new makeover I was going to work on in December, but then a friend of mine who owns an Etsy shop asked me to help her out with some seasonal work so I ended up pushing this project back until the holidays were over. Now that my schedule has settled down, I’ve jumped right into this project—a project I actually started planning about a year.

It was about a year ago that I was cleaning our downstairs guest bathroom in preparation for some guests who were arriving later that day and not surprisingly, my mind began to wander to all the things I could do to change the look of the bathroom…. new colors, new molding, a new mirror, new tile, and so on. I hadn’t done much to this bathroom since we moved in 12 years ago. Before I knew it, I had prepared a complete design overhaul plan in my head! And then I stopped myself because my time and budget have been so limited these days that I wasn’t sure I could pull off yet another total room makeover. But then I decided instead of surrendering to my limitations, I could take them as a challenge! I asked myself, Could I give this room a new look on a small budget with limited time invested?

Hmmmm… Challenge accepted!!!

So I gave myself some parameters:

  • one bathroom
  • three hundred dollars
  • five days

I would need to complete all the work in five days and all with a max budget of $300!

I can do that (…I think)!! To make this happen I would need to focus on good preparation which all begins with a good design plan. With a limited budget I would not be able to turn this into my dream bathroom, but I was determined to change the overall look and feel of the room while addressing the problems.

Let’s start by taking a look at how the bathroom used to look:

Pretty blah, huh? So here are my goals for this makeover:

  • update the outdated look
  • try to conceal the unattractive bathtub since I can’t afford to replace it
  • add some interest and character to a very boring room

And here’s a look at my design board:

MY FOYER/HALLWAY MAKEOVER: FINAL REVEAL!

Back in May I started a new makeover for my foyer and upstairs hallway and I am happy to say that I’m finally finished!! I’ve been sharing the changes I’ve made as I’ve gone along so please check out my previous updates on this makeover:

PHASE ONE

PHASE TWO

With my third and final phase of this project, I mostly focused on updating the banister on the stairway in the foyer. Take a look at how it looked at the beginning of this phase:

As you can see it is quite dated and blah looking. My goal was to improve the look of all of this railing without going over budget. As I brainstormed ideas, I immediately gravitated to this:

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Ever since Joanna Gaines revealed the makeover of her bed and breakfast I’ve been in love with this black iron railing!! I love the clean modern look, and I knew it would look great in my house.

However, it didn’t take me long to realize this was simply not a possibility for me because of the steep price. Turns out I have about 44 linear ft of railing in total and to hire a professional to make and install that much railing was going to be incredibly expensive! I realized that with my limited budget, my best option would be to focus on altering what was already there instead of completely replacing it.

I decided to stain the railing black, paint the newel posts white, and replace the balusters with a more minimal tapered style baluster. Here’s the final look:

I like that there is less of the oak wood in the foyer now, but the color of the floors still really bothers me! Eventually when we have the money, we’ll have the floors sanded and stained a different color and I think that will be a huge improvement.

With the banister finished, I only had a couple other quick changes to make.

I replaced all of the polished brass door hardware with matte black hardware. This has been on my to-do list for a while and I finally got around to changing all of the doors in the whole house.

I also changed out the two dated builder grade chandeliers in the foyer with more interesting modern ones.

Then it was time to bring in all of the accessories and I was finally done with this makeover!!!