One of our "to-do" list projects this year is re-facing the fireplace. So, while my mum was visiting last weekend we took advantage of hitting RONA all-by-OURSELVES! NO KIDDIES! It's so much easier to create a mantel design and choose from hundreds of different moldings solo.
A wood burning fireplace was a "must have" for us when we were searching for our current home. We longed for the crackling wood burning fireplace that reminded us of when we were little. Love it!
When we purchased the house, the fireplace looked like this:
YIKES! It was painted royal blue with layers of wallpaper for its surround. Oh my.
We removed the wallpaper and painted the entire thing white. So up until a few days ago, this is what it looked like:
I really like it but I felt like it needed to be the statement piece in the living room and wanted something bigger. So, in comes the latest DIY.
Mr. Fix-it and I had an idea in our head, we just needed it to come to life. We drew a few sketches out and headed to RONA. There are tons of moldings to choose from and we essentially had to "create" it in the store by laying out the pieces in the aisles. It took us a good 1-1.5 hours to decide what we wanted but we decided to reface the mantel from floor to ceiling to make it feel like a custom piece. That meant, new tiles on the hearth to crown molding at the top.
So, here we go...all items removed...
In the above picture, the hearth tiles are glossy black. When we moved into the house, these tiles were a pinkish beige. TIP: If you are looking for a quick fix that will update your hearth and give it a classic look...just give the existing tiles a sand and paint them glossy black. Looks fab!
Once you have all your materials (wood, mouldings, tile etc) make sure you have the accurate measurements. This is Mr. Fix-it measuring the new top piece of the mantel. We chose a larger piece of wood to extend the mantel out.
Starbucks required! - Did you know their holiday cups are out now...It's beginning to look alot like Christmas ;)
Next step: To make the mantel bigger, Mr. Fix-it created a "box" around the existing mantel.
We also wanted to create a "box"/moulding around the edges of the top part of the fireplace. The wood was measured, cut and nail gunned into the wall. 'Scuze the photo quality, it was dark outside and my lens appears to have some fingerprints on it. Hmmmm.
A good tip to remember when drilling in screws, is make sure you use flat heads and drill them right into the wood so they sit in the wood and create a flat surface. All you have to do after is fill with wood filler.
Next step: Fill in all the seams and nail heads with wood filler. This product is your best friend when you want to hide seams and nail/screw marks. It looks goopy and scary at first but once it dries you just give it a good sand (Mr. Fix-it used his electric sander for the mantel and hand sanded the box at the top of the fireplace) and it will be perfectly smooth and you won't know it's not all one piece!
Next step: Crown Moulding. Have you ever installed crown moulding before? We had never and yikies...not the easiest thing to do. Especially when your ceiling and walls aren't straight to begin with! There were definitely some "non repeat" words that came out of Mr. Fix-it's mouth when he was trying to cut the angles for the two corners perfectly, but after a second trip to RONA to get another piece of moulding, some good solid wood filler action and a coat of primer...it's starting to come together.
On Monday, we took a trip to EuroTile & Stone (they have beautiful tile and a gorgeous showroom) to buy our tile. I wanted something slate-like for the hearth and something glass and shimmery for the surround. Of course we had to fall in love with one of the most expensive glass tiles, but...HEY! Sometimes you have to splurge for beauty right?
Tile in hand, we left the store having never tiled before on our own. We borrowed my Dad's wet saw and Mr. Fix-it got started: measuring and cutting. I suggest cutting the tile outside, in your garage or your basement. The water flies and Mr. Fix-it was a dirty mess! This was a total trial and error process for the both of us but the cutting part was pretty easy.
Old tile removed...it came up really easily with a crowbar.
Starting to place the new tile:
Soooo, that was as far as we had gotten on Monday night. Tuesday night (after the kiddies had gone to bed), we laid down all the tile and realized that:
1. Mr. Fix-it cut the tiles beautifully...BUT...didn't leave much room for grout. So we had to really shimmy them ever so slightly to get even lines for grouting. It was a good thing we wanted tiny grout lines because we didn't have much wiggle room. Most people use these to space out your tiles:
TILE SPACERS (little "x"s that you place in between the tiles to ensure they are all even).
2. Mr. Fix-it nearly killed himself trying to cut the metal kick-plate piece that goes around the tile. The metal broke off while he was sawing and parts of his saw went flying. So we're halfway through the project and he has two bloody thumbs. Hmmmm.
So, we ditched the metal kick-plate. The tile does sit a little bit above the hardwood but c'est la vie! I'm diggin' it.
So, I have zero pictures of us applying the adhesive to the tiles or spacing out the tiles because, to be honest...the whole process was a little stressful! I was so worried the tiles were going to stick so quickly we were working like mad to get them perfect.
Now that it's done, they are looking beauty and we realized it wasn't that difficult but I would suggest maybe starting your first tiling project with something that isn't a focal point in your room! Phew!
We also decided Tuesday night that the beautiful glass tile we purchased for the surround just may prove to be too difficult for us to install on our own. We've tried to think of many ways to cut the glass perfectly but because it's such a small area, we would be wasting so much tile and we're worried the saw is going to shatter the glass :( SOOOO...good-bye gorgeous glass tile and back to the drawing board to find something new. Even for DIY junkies, we had to admit defeat.
Wednesday night: The tile was grouted. Again, this is new territory and again I have zero pictures of this process. I promise to take photos and do a thorough Tiling DIY when we tile our bedroom ensuite. Promise. This time was a learn-as-we-go. It was actually pretty easy and fast. The longest part was continually cleaning off the tile.
Thursday Night: Mr. Fix-it attached the wood to the front and sides of the fireplace, added some wood fill and caulked the top portion (crown moulding and box).
Sooo..remember Wednesday's post? Wednesday Yummies: Gourmet Night! Well that's tomorrow night! Our house is totally upside down and there is dust everywhere. So we need to to keep moving. It's a P.D. Day at school so the kids are chillin' with Mr. Fix-it for the day. While the babe sleeps, he and our little guy will continue with some serious sanding. Then its time for more priming and paint! Tonight, I'll be cleaning like a mad woman. Doesn't that sound like the perfect Friday night activity?! And, I can't even have a drink!
It's coming together!! Yeah.
I'm excited for it to be finished and can't wait to show it to you.
Have a fresh.fabulous.sophisticated weekend.
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