Christmas, Holiday, Home Improvement, Paint

A mini fireplace renovation and Christmas decor

I love the winter holiday season and all of the decorating that comes with it. I was extra excited to decorate our mantel this year because I just completed a mini fireplace reno.

Do you remember this gem of a fireplace that we started with when we moved in?

Before fireplace

This is how we changed our fireplace after we did our family room reno.

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The difference in the brightness alone is nuts! But something was still missing. The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors. New doors are so expensive, so I decided to DIY the doors and the inside of the fireplace to complete the three-years-long reno.

Brass doors

To start, I removed the doors and cleaned out the fireplace. Then, I painted the inside of the fireplace black with heat-resistant paint.

Fireplace unpainted

I did two coats of paint on the inside to cover up the soot, and it turned out really nice! I actually contemplated not adding the doors back on, but Brian said he prefered doors to an open fireplace.

Fireplace Brick

Once that was dry, I started to work on the doors. At first, I sprayed the doors with heat-resistant black spray paint. I taped the glass, but didn’t cover all of the panes with newspaper. (Word to the wise — cover the glass! I had to later scrape off paint. Oops.)

Spray painted

The spray paint didn’t hold up so great, so I ended up painting the doors with the same paint I used for the inside of the fireplace. Once that dried, I was able to rehang the doors.

Ready for the big (small?) reveal?

TA DA! Oh, and Christmas decorations 🙂

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Do you love the black doors? It’s taken me a while — I actually hated them at first — but I really like them. I’ll admit that I wish they were new and fancy and not spray painted, but considering we don’t use the fireplace and the doors are rarely opened, this little DIY will work just great for us. Buh-bye brass!

The only downside to the painted doors is the paint does scratch off if nicked in the right way. Other than that, I’m really happy with the new look. I don’t miss the old, dated color at all.

OK, enough reno talk. Check out my Christmas decor! I absolutely love my Christmas mantel.

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As you can see, Remmy loves it, too. Really, he just loves to sniff his stocking to see if there’s anything in it yet. Sometimes he cries because he can’t get it down. I think it is hilarious — does that make me a mean doggie mom?

santas

On my mantel I have my collection of Jim Shore Santas. We got one as a wedding gift, and I’ve been in love with them ever since. I can’t wait to see which new Santas I get this year as gifts.

Christmas is the one time of year we do seasonal decorating, so we take it pretty seriously. We have one real Christmas tree, a small fake tree I decorate with flamingo ornaments, a decorated mantel, a decorated TV shelf and a decorate console table. We even decorate by our bar. And, of course, we do lights outside.

How do you all decorate for Christmas? If you have a blog, I’d love to see what you’ve been up to this holiday season. And if you don’t have a blog, no worries… the rest of my house (outside of these photos) is messed up with wrapping paper shreds and stuff I had to move out of the picture frame. It isn’t quite as perfect as it may appear 🙂

Speaking of perfect, I have not been on the ball this year with holiday cards and gifts. I am looking to get holiday cards a.s.a.p. and I found the most adorable cards on Shutterfly that are in the cutest shapes (i.e. not just rectangles). Some have scalloped edges, some have rounded corners and some look like quatrefoils. They are such a fun twist on normal cards — now I just need a cute photo of me, B and Rem!

I also need to get a kickstart on my gifts. I’ve purchased quite a few things, but there are so many gifts I want to make that I haven’t even started on! Work, class and other life craziness has made this holiday season fly by so far. Where are my elves when I need them?! Luckily, I am fortunate enough to have time off before Christmas, so I’ll be my own elf and make my gifts then.

Are you making gifts this year or tackling any mini makeovers before your relatives come to town this holiday season? I’d love to see your holiday decor, renos and crafts! The holidays really do bring out the most creative and fun ideas.

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Home Improvement, Paint

The itch to paint

Right before the Christmas holiday we had a radon mitigation system installed in our basement. Turns out Columbia has a lot of this cancer-causing gas just hanging around. Lame-o. Basically how it works is the radon guys come and drill into your foundation (we have two) and create a well for the gas to collect. Since gas takes the path of least resistance, the gas will pretty much all pool here instead of seeping into our house in other ways. Then they install a pipe that connects the hole in the foundation(s) to a hole they cut to the outside of your house. They seal it up nice and tight so no gas can eek out, then put in a fan that runs 24/7 to keep the gas flowing outside of the house. And with that, we are radon free! Woot!

The whole thing took about two hours. Not too bad!

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Gee, I sound so knowledgeable about radon.

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I was really happy to have this completed because our radon levels were a little bit higher than normal and I’d like to avoid cancer if at all possible. Crazy, I know. I was also happy to have it done because it inspired me to paint our laundry room/basement area! I bet you thought there was nothing left to paint… that’s what the hubby thought, too.

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There was nothing wrong with the color of our laundry room as it was.

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A boring neutral was just fine for the space. But I spend a fair amount of time down there, especially at those cabinets in the back. The cabinets in my craft room are a great sitting height, but the cabinets in the laundry room are great for projects you want to do standing. I wanted to brighten up the space a bit.

I set out to paint the whole space white. Yes, white. I never want to paint anything even close to white, but I didn’t want another blue room and I didn’t want to paint the space anything crazy. So white it is.

I went with Behr’s Waterfall Mist. It was a nice contrast between the white of our door frames, so that was a win.

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Well, it turns out Waterfall Mist is blue. Even though I tried to paint my laundry room white, I ended up painting it blue! I think there is something wrong with me.

Look…. even in the Behr virtual paint chip wall, Waterfall Mist is categorized as white.

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But it’s not. *Sigh*

So I painted the whole room and stood back to admire my work… then realized I had inadvertently painted another room in the house blue. Oops.

At least it’s brighter!! And I love blue…

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The other mistake I made, aside from painting it a completely wrong color, was I painted our stairs (which were orange before) the same color as the walls. That just looked weird. Really weird.

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So the day after Christmas I ran to the store to pick out some dark brown paint to match the floor you can see peeking in from under the door.

IMG_2520Ahhhh…. much better.

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All in all, the basement looks nice. It’s not some crazy huge improvement to what it was before, and let’s keep it real, I’ll probably want to paint it again in the future. At least for now it satisfied my itch to paint something. Now I just need to make some cutesy decorations for the laundry room and I can let it be for a while.

Maybe.