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…


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:


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.

Next, we covered the framing with plywood using a nail gun. I chose to cover the wall in plywood instead of drywall because the majority of the wall will later be covered with shiplap. The plywood went up much quicker and easier than drywall would have, and since you will hardly see any of this wall in the end, I wanted to go with the quickest and easiest option.

Planning this project out on the computer also allowed me to make sure I could place the seams in the plywood in areas that would later be covered by the shiplap.

I also trimmed down a 1”x8”x10’ piece of pine to about 6.5” wide and then cut it to frame around the fireplace opening in order to finish off that area with a clean look.

I primed everything and painted the wall with one coat of white. Note: It’s much easier to paint the wall the color you want before installing the shiplap than it is to try to paint between each crack of the shiplap after it is installed.

Now it was time to finally install the shiplap on the new wall.

I mitered the corners of the shiplap to get a modern clean corner as it wraps around the wall.

It’s starting to come together now! I then caulked and painted everything white…

The final step was to install the mantle.

I made this mantel from scratch by building a box with an open back. Then I covered it in maple wood veneer to give it a more uniform look so it looks like it’s all one piece.

The open back of the mantel will make it easy to attach it to the wall.

I stained and sealed it.

For installation, I attached some scrap wood to the wall making sure it was well secured into the double 2x6s of the frame I had made.

The mantel slides onto the wood and fits snugly which means I don’t have to secure it with any nails or screws which would mess up the clean look of the mantel.

And here is the final look with the mantel installed…

Here is a look at the Before and After side by side:

This fireplace is on a very prominent wall in this room so it was important that I got it looking how I wanted as it is the main focal point. I’m very happy with how it turned out. In total, I spent about $275 on this project. Much cheaper than hiring a contractor!!

I still need to install new taller baseboards and paint the walls white, but that will be a part of the next phase of this room makeover.


  1. Avatar Jacqueline D Fuentes

    Were there any considerations about fire hazards or code for clearance of wood? Great job. I really like this.

  2. Avatar Julie-Anne Shannon

    Thank you for creating the best post on the construction that I’ve come across. I love the color coding and details for each step of the process that you’ve included. You have a real gift for instruction. Thanks again!!

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      Thanks! Glad it was helpful!

  3. Avatar Osni

    I really liked your fireplace, and I’m planning something very similar for mine.
    Question to you: Why did you close the frame structure with plywood, instead of coming with shiplap directly over the frame? If there any advantage on doing that?

  4. Avatar Christina

    Your fireplace is beautiful! I’m halfway through a similar build but am really struggling with the mitered corners and I really don’t want to use trim. Do you have any tips? I have a 10” miter saw so I have to lay my shiplap down in order to bevel the sides at 45 but they are not perfectly straight. Yours look so great! Did you use spackle or caulk? TIA

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      Hi Christina,
      Yeah, the mitered corners don’t always line up perfectly. You are cutting your pieces the same way I did and some of my corners were off too. Corners sometimes aren’t exactly 90 degrees and walls aren’t always exactly straight from top to bottom (especially when working with existing walls in your home) so that’s usually the cause. I suggest just doing the best you can as you cut and then fill in any bad corners with caulk (not spackle or wood filler which can crack over time if there’s any expansion and contraction). That’s what I did. Best of luck! I’m sure it will all look good when it’s done!

  5. Avatar Trena

    Looks amazing and I appreciate the detailed instructions. My question is using pine around the fireplace box, does it get affected by the heat? I have tile and grout around our old fireplace and it’s dried out and crumbly and coming out. Will the painted pine get affected too? We do use our fireplace a couple of times a week in the cooler months.

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      Hi Trena, I honestly wouldn’t be able to answer your question without knowing what’s actually going on in your specific situation. If your tile is not holding up in that location then I don’t think it would be a good idea to install painted pine there either. My recommendation is to consult a professional as to what is actually causing the tile to deteriorate and what meets local building code requirements which could specify how far away from the fire the pine needs to be. This is particularly an issue if you have a wood burning fireplace. Sorry I couldn’t help!

  6. Avatar Lonnie

    I really like the black stone, what is it made out of and where did you find it?

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      We didn’t install the black stone, it was already there. It was installed by the builder when the house was built so I’m not sure exactly what it is.

  7. Avatar Dave Dombrowski

    Absolutely Beautiful…My Before look identical and this is my next project. Ceiling is about 30ft high so I will have much more framing and going to use white stack stone. I love how your fireplace is more inset now. Unique look and great job and thank you for the great ideas for framing.

  8. Avatar Jacqueline

    Hi I forgot to ask, what kind of maple Venere and where did you get it and also the stain color you used thank you

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      Hi, I used white maple veneer that I purchased from a local lumber store. You could also probably find it online. I stained it with a combination of Minwax Classic Gray and Minwax Fruitwood.

  9. Avatar Jacqueline Fabi

    Hello – what wood stain color did you use?

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      Hi, I used Minwax Fruitwood and a little Minwax Classic Gray.

  10. Avatar Heidi

    Looks great. How did you attach the 2×6 wall to the 1×4’s? Did you use a kregjig or just really long screws?

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      Hi, I just used really long screws.

  11. Avatar Elaine

    Hi, it looks lovely, did you treat the wood at all, are you concerned about the heat from the fireplace and the wood ?

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      I would’ve been concerned if it was a wood burning fireplace because there could definitely be some safety concerns in that case, but it is a vented gas fireplace. There was some existing wood trim around the fireplace to begin with so I tried to keep the new wood trim about the same distance away from the fireplace as what was there. We also don’t use our fireplace a lot or for long periods of time.

      • Avatar Arelis

        The fireplace is beautiful! Are you able to give the measurements of u your fire place ? Thank you.

  12. Avatar regan

    Im about to do the same with ours and our outlet is so far from the fireplace i’m having a difficult time deciding how to run the electrical… did you put it in the baseboards?

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      Hi Regan, I actually didn’t run electrical to mine because I decided I didn’t like the tv above the fireplace because it was too high. Sorry that’s not much help!

  13. Avatar Johnny Tran

    Hey what degree did you use to cut the corner of the shiplap

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      Hi, I cut it at 45 degrees. Which should work unless your wall wasn’t built totally straight.

  14. Avatar brittney

    love it !! looks awesome! Great Job!

  15. Avatar Susan

    Thank you for sharing. It looks beautiful. I’m about to install a fireplace between 2 windows and having a tough time deciding how wide to make the new wall. The space between the windows is 79”. My floating mantle shelf is 72”. Any suggestions?

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      Well you definitely want the well to be larger than the mantle, but the size of your fireplace also affects it. It’s hard to say without seeing it. But I can tell you that my wall is about 12.5″ longer than my mantle. Hope that helps!

  16. Avatar Jon DuPont

    What software do you use for design?

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      I use SketchUp

  17. Avatar Valerie Dodge

    I love it! Looking to make a change like this without the year.

  18. Avatar Debi Striplin Beiland

    What type of wood did you use for the shiplap? I’m looking to do exactly this on my fireplace but my lumber yard wants a fortune for “Shiplap”.

    • Avatar Stephanie @ Studio 36 Interiors

      Yeah, I noticed very pricey shiplap at my local store too! I bought 4’x 8′ sheets of plywood instead and cut them into strips to make boards. It was much cheaper! I think the plywood we used was 1/8″ or 3/16″ thick.

  19. Avatar Amy

    Such a beautiful transformation!

  20. Avatar Theda

    Nice job!!

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