Friday, January 29, 2016

~~ Fireplace Do-Over ~~

My living room has had many looks. I'm sure you can relate.
Gradually, through trial and error, I started to find my style.

But before I figured it out, there was the Mary Tyler Moore look with matching
white love seats, mauve pillows, a glass coffee table, and black lacquer shelving units.
At least I didn't have the big initial "P" on the wall.
(I do wish I'd kept that chaise lounge though. It would have been perfect in my office.)

And then I had the southwestern style with a wicker sofa and leather mission-style chairs--
cool looking but so uncomfortable--and a  shaggy flokati rug.

And I can't forget the time I went for drama with dark red walls. 
Yep, every wall.
Red. Dark glossy red.
What was I thinking?
This was before I knew dark colors make a small space seem even smaller
and glossy paint highlights every problem.

Finally, I painted the walls a muted khaki with white trim. 
I removed the lined bronze drapes, lightening the room with new lace curtains, 
(I've since replaced them with ivory loose-weave linen drapes.)
I removed the fake stained-glass windows on each side of the fireplace and
switched out a wobbly ceiling fan for the vintage chandelier from the foyer.

Better, but I still had that boxy red fireplace.

So, I decided to take the plunge and remove the fireplace that, 
like so many good intentions in the 70s, was just wrong. 
It jutted into the small room about two feet and
diagonal planks of rough wood covered the whole thing floor to ceiling. 
Quite a visual impact but not one I wanted.
(Here's an old photo showing the diagonal boards).

Researching my options, I decided to have a gas insert installed. 
Wood-burning fireplaces are romantic . . . and dirty, time-consuming, and inconvenient. 
I loved the idea of enjoying an instant fire with the flick of a switch.

My contractor demo-ed the fireplace wall down to the cinder block lining. 
You can see the scars on the floor and ceiling where the old fireplace used to be. 
It was about this time I started having second and third thoughts.

 I asked him to build a platform to rest the insert on so it would be more visible. 
Then, the gas guys came and installed the insert.

You can see how much natural light comes in
after we removed the faux stained-glass windows. 

Then my contractor finished the carpentry.
I asked him to match the design of the corner legs to the original staircase newel posts.
Perfect match. He does beautiful work. 

I picked out a tile that complimented my furnishings and resembled tile I'd seen in old houses.

When the construction was finished, I painted the wood white to match the white trim in the room 
and the white dog on the couch. Then refinished the floor.
Most visitors think the fireplace is original to the house with a new gas insert.

I gained a little over an actual foot of floor space since the new design hugs the wall
but the room feels even more spacious.

I've made some changes since the previous picture was taken:
a different rug, a light slipcover on the couch, flat-screen TV, farmhouse coffee table
and a more relaxed yet elegant French Country style.

The gas insert was definitely the right choice. 
It's perfect for a chilly morning with a cup of coffee or a romantic evening watching a movie.

And it's fun decorating the new mantle.

So now, the room is finished. . . at least for now!

Only 50 days til Spring!!

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  1. I compliment you for your vision. It is simply stunning. I also really love the open and airy feel of your space. Enjoy!

  2. So interesting to see what you have done with the fireplace. We bought a 1927 house last year. The fireplace is in the dining room and has a terrible grey boulder surround that looms over the room. We are going to remove it, drywall over the space and relocate the fireplace to the living room, between two piano windows. The intention is to make it a gas fireplace.
    I enjoyed seeing your room evolve.

    1. Sounds like quite a job ahead but it will be worth it. Thanks for visiting.

  3. Such a beautiful project. It looks fabulous! All of your hard work paid off! Thanks for linking up to our Table It link party. I am sharing it through social media.

  4. Pat,
    What a dramatic transformation, dear one!!!
    I l o v e all the natural light that come into the room!!!
    Gorgeous decor!!!

  5. I love the new, more modern style - but still really like the chaise, too! Looks like you did a LOT of work to get your style, but it really looks great!

    1. Thanks Ann. Yeah, I could kick myself for selling that chaise!

  6. Wonderful to still have all of the photos from past transformations. I love what you did with the fireplace... and your mantel is great too! Thank you for sharing it all with "Let's Talk Vintage!"

    1. Hi Jillian. I did luck out with the old photos. Really brought back some memories. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Hi Pat! This is gorgeous!! Love how you showed past to present! I think we've all painted walls colors then asked ourselves "What were we thinking?" I just covered up some poopy brown walls. :) Thanks for sharing at Table It!

    1. Thanks for visiting Lori. Poopy brown used to be one of my colors too! I repainted that room with "herb flowers." Love the names of paints these days.

  8. Your red walls took me down memory lane! Really don't know where that trend came from. Your room is looking really good and looking forward to more peeks.

  9. I always look forward to your blog posts in my email!

  10. I love what you have done. It is so charming. I also love the fact that you are always changing things up . . . and that you have photos of all of the transformations through the years. Who wants to be stuck in a rut . . . not me . . . and apparently not you either :)
    Happy Weekend!
    Connie :)

    1. Thanks so much Connie. I get that from my Mom who was always surprising us when we came home from school. She even painted my bedroom in vertical pink stripes one day. I loved it!

  11. Wow! Looks amazing; great transformation!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!

    1. Thanks Cindy. Always nice to hear from an "expert" on transformations!

  12. Wonderful room! Love everything!

  13. I missed this post last week--happy to see it now! I have a full wall red brick fireplace. I can't imagine tearing it out so I've learned to love it. Thankfully it is gas, so the inconvenience is wonderful!

    1. Hi Pat, thanks so much for visiting. I love exposed brick so I think you're lucky, especially since it's a gas fireplace.

  14. Wow--I have to hand it to you for tackling this and what wonderful results! Great job and thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm!

  15. Beautiful fireplace makeover!!!! I love how much your fireplace has changed and it is so beautiful. Thanks for sharing at the Your Home Decor and More Party. Can't wait to see what you will share with us tomorrow when our next party is live! Pinned and shared!

  16. What a nice house and room. Your fireplace is looking very good and this will warm your room. gas fireplace Winnipeg