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.

fireplace

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 The fireplace was outdated with the old metal doors.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 🙂

fireplace3

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.

fireplaceremmy

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

The prettiest fireplace ever

It would be an understatement to say that I love my fireplace. It has quickly become one of my favorite things about our house — I cannot believe how well it turned out! Glen did a marvelous job of creating a simple mantel for our brick fireplace, and it is truly perfect!

I still have to paint it, which I plan on doing this weekend, but isn’t it just awesome?!?

The fireplace has come so far, and I have to say that I’m rather proud of our design choices. Remember what it looked like before? It used to be smooshed against the wall of our fourth bedroom, suffocated by paneling and surrounded by a massively round hearth . Really, it was just altogether unsightly.

Now it’s the centerpiece of the room again, as it should have been. I’d say we’ve made quite an improvement. The trim at the top looks splendid and the mantel is going to match nicely once it’s white. It’s also placed at a normal height (the old mantel was about a foot higher… weird) and extends to the edge of the brick.

It looks so charming with our wedding photos on it, too! ❤

Instead of buying a pre-fab mantel at Home Depot or Lowe’s that would have been a lot fancier, I had Glen make the mantel out of two simple wooden supports, two pieces of wood (he glued them together to form the thicker shelf), and a piece of trim. It saved me about $200, and it really does compliment the simplicity of the fireplace and the simplicity of the room.

Once I paint the mantel, the only thing left to do will be to eventually replace the doors with something more modern. The brass is rather dated, but it works for now!

We get our couch this afternoon, so check back for pictures of the room with furniture in it!

Home Improvement

Ubatuba granite and clamshell molding

Our granite is finally finished! It took an extra week for the place we ordered from to get us our 5-foot piece of granite cut and polished. Since I picked from a warehouse of remnants, it was a little tough to see the exact color I was picking. The color I chose was called UbaTuba, which looked completely black with a few gold specs in it. Our granite has a little more green in it than I was anticipating, but I think it’s going to look really nice as our hearth. It weighs about 130 lbs. Wowzer.

In other home improvement news, the hubby and I finally ordered blinds! ** Hallelujah** Privacy is going to be nice. We used JustBlinds.com, so we measure, they create, we install. It cost a little less than $500 to do the entire first floor of windows, minus our bay window. We’re not sure what we want to do with that one yet.

Our blind order included a set for our master bathroom, but not for the window in our guest bathroom shower. Instead we used a window film to add a frosted effect to the glass. Now you can’t see into the window and there aren’t bulky blinds in the way of your showering.

This is the film we bought at  Home Depot for $19.99.

We bought the application kit as well for another $9.

The film was easy to install on the window. It took us about 10 minutes to do both panes. And we have a ton of it left, too. I am toying with the idea of using this film in our downstairs bathroom as well.

Before:

After:

And you don’t really notice it from the outside, which is nice.

This was the perfect solution for this window, fo sho.

My last exciting piece of new is that Glen surprised us by removing the molding in the family room (that wasn’t the surprise) and using it to fix some busted molding in our kitchen. Our whole house has clamshell molding, but in our pass-through window into the kitchen and around the door frame of the kitchen, the molding was messed up or different from the rest of the house. Glen removed the downstairs molding without breaking it and reframed out the doorway of our kitchen, the baseboard and the pass-through window. Now all of our trim matches! He is awesome.