Making My Ugly Fireplace Pretty….

This morning, before I left for my studio, the sun was shining on my newly renovated fireplace and I took a few quick pics and thought I would update y’all on my latest home improvement DIY.

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When we moved into the house almost five years ago now, the kitchen and the fireplace were the two things I hated the most. The kitchen was torn out in the first 4 months but the fireplace was kind of put on the back burner…yes, it was ugly but we had to remodel the kitchen and master bath and paint and the list went on and on…..I mean there was a whole lotta Hunter Green tile…Ick!!!

So, I worked around it and lived with it (and its green tile)….then this summer we had a stone mason at our house for the exterior job. He inspected this fireplace and really recommended we tear it down. Yikes!!!! We are land locked on that side of the house with our neighbor plus the roof was built around the chimney. HUGE undertaking!!! So we went around and around in our discussion….and finally we were all in agreement we could repair this old guy. I mean it is pretty cool….this old field-stone fireplace does add to the cottage look….so instead of getting a new one and throwing tens of thousands more into this house, we will repair and rework it.

Demmo time!!!!

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Can you imagine how happy I was when we tore off that old oak mantle? I was literally jumping for joy and…..surprise! We found photos of the old homeowners from the ’90’s who put it in! How fun is that? I always wanted to find keys to the past in our house….but I was just not thinking it would be in such the recent past. Either way, it was fun! And one of the pics had the father and daughter standing in our great room with all of the walls torn down to the studs….so that’s when the drywall was replaced?!?!?

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Demmo was complete and my stone masons got to work to raise the hearth for me with a bit of limestone. They took off the doors and raised those too so it made a bit more sense. Yes, we lost a few stones and we broke a few in the process, which was sad but luckily, my yard was full of field-stone when we moved in and we still have some left even after the landscapers built retaining walls with most of it. They took a couple from the yard and worked them back into the face of the fireplace.

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After a week, the dust settled and they guys left us with this. The mortar is still wet in this photo and the doors were still off, but it was still an improvement!

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Now, it was our turn to build the mantle. I, of course, came up with the design and my talented husband built me what I wanted. He has become such an amazing carpenter….and I think he loves it as a hobby! I hit the jackpot ladies!!!

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We added Car Siding to a focal wall in our family room and we thought we would repeat it over the fireplace. When my new sectional, chairs and entertainment cabinet get here I will post about that project we completed over Christmas….stay tuned.

I really just wanted to keep the mantle simple. Our dining table sits in front of the fireplace so I wanted the mantle to draw your eye up the wall above the table and also break up the long expanse of wall on that side of the room.

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Here is the finished product as the sun came up over the lake this morning and streamed in the windows. Once my new table arrives you will get the full view. I think we did the right thing by keeping the old stone and altering/repairing the old girl. This fireplace was part of the original structure and hopefully she will be sound enough to last for may years to come.

 

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Fireplace Reveal

I have a client who lives in a beautiful custom home that is about 15 years old in a very popular subdivision outside Kalamazoo. I actually have a few clients in the neighborhood and they all seem to struggle with some of the same problems. Basically, they move in, inherit the previous owners stamp on the property and need to make it their own. This clients main issue in all the years they have lived in the home is that they HATE their fireplace…..I have to say I cant blame them!

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They are a young family and spend a ton of time in this room. It is adjacent to the kitchen and it appears that the previous owner did have some sort of a plan and had the custom built-in made. The built in matches the kitchen cabinets and provides some sort of balance to both ends of the space . But that fireplace??? Its dwarfed by the built in and the brick is just plain ugly….not to mention a hazard for their two year old!! Those are her toys by the way….she was pretty much using it as her toy shelf!

My job is to update the fireplace wall, keep the furniture and maybe add a very few accessories, like pillows to warm it up! Totally On It!!

So, I collaborated with my contractor. I knew I wanted an updated stone look from floor to ceiling and a mantle that stretched across the wall to give some balance. He came up with a fantastic idea to have the front of the raised hearth paneled to carry the built in over!!! I love it when two great ideas come together. He contracted a woodworker to customize the panels and mantle. I was off to pick the tile!

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The rug is full of burgundy, purples, and small accents of turquoise. The client loves it, so that is we used as inspiration. The slate stacked stone I picked from the tile showroom could not have been more perfect.

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My contractor then removed the brick and old mantle, then built a box to construct the hearth.

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Then the tile began to go up and I couldn’t have been more happy with how it all was coming together!!!

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The finished product was gorgeous!!!!

And the rest of the room??

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We added Throw pillows to the existing sofas….this is my signature accent! Pillows can change the look of the room and add comfort….I mix and match them and ALWAYS use down filled. The bonus to a down pillow is that the cover almost always comes off and you can interchange them with the seasons. Plus a pillow cover is easy to clean if there is a spill etc. You will also notice that floor lamp in the back ground. I just bought a drum shade and took off the out dated bell shade to give it a quick and inexpensive update.

We did purchase a blue table lamp to bring in more of the accent color, but most of the accessories we used were here  in the home. Notice we also bought some gold round vases in the photo below and placed them in the open space of the entertainment center. This carries the gold over from the fireplace and surprisingly makes it look less dated. Gold is back, people!! Lets just apply it the correct way!

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We also changed the furniture configuration and it really opened up the space. My favorite little golden-doodle puppy client, Sophie, had to be in the photo. She wanted to show her approval. I hope to get a photographer to take more professional portfolio pictures in the coming months but I figure, if I am taking them with an iPhone then I can slide a cute puppy in there….

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This room is lookin’ good….now on to the next project!

It’s been awhile….

I know its been a long time since I posted….. I have been busy busy for the past few months and now need to get some of these projects out there to share!

I decided to take advantage of this snow day to work a bit on my neglected web page.

 I took on a large project in the fall for an existing client. This is my first time acting as a general contractor and I am learning as I go on this small 1200 sq. foot Wall Lake vacation home. Finally we are getting toward the end of construction with tile, appliances, trim work etc. going in….its almost time for finishes!

I have some idea boards that I have made for the client that I would love to share first and then as each room is completed, I will update you.

I have quite a few projects in the works right now and my photographer is on call to start taking official photos when they are complete.

The Wall Lake Family Room

  OB-Wall Lake Cottage Family Room

The Wall Lake Master Bedroom

OB-Wall Lake Master Bedroom

The Wall Lake Bathroom

OB-Wall Lake Cottage Bathroom

The Wall Lake Sun Room

OB-Wall Lake Sun Room

The Wall Lake Boys Bunk Room

OB-Wall Lake Boys Bunk Room

I promise to update with more soon!!

2015 is going to be a very exciting year for AHID as I continue to expand and offer new services.

I am now beginning to offer E-Design Services.

Stay tuned for details.

Client Update

Finally, I can give a client update. I am really bad about taking my Nikon to appointments to capture client updates….something I really need to work on!

Today, I stopped by to chit chat with my client about a few things and to drop off some accessories.

Maybe you remember this client from a previous post about the free design services available at furniture stores.

She had absolutely no accessories but beautiful expensive furniture to fill her rooms.

Here is a  Before photo of her Living Room….

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Here is the room done after we accessorized…

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What did we do?

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First we painted the fireplace wall Benjamin Moore Squirrel Tail to make it stand out as the focal point of the room.

Here is the Before….

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I wanted to raw your eye directly to the fireplace, since the furniture placement was so symmetrical and, the built ins were painted the trim color.

The wall color was something the client wanted to keep.

Here is the after…

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It is amazing what a quart of the right paint can do!!

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Then I brought in tons of throw pillows to draw out the colors in the artwork and the floral in the chairs. I also brought in some lamps with very little height because we did not really need to draw the eye up….those lamps turned out to be the perfect height when lit and you are seated on the sofa. Nobody likes a light bulb that is blinding them when they are sitting trying to relax!

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The last thing I did was mix some of their accessories with some I brought in to change the look of the bookshelves. I

t all flows well now and the clients are happy!

The Dining Room was also an issue. Here is what I walked into the first day….

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We have since ordered new host and hostess chairs with some pattern.

We also took the rug and moved it into the breakfast area off the kitchen.

A new mirror and artwork for the walls was just what we needed to warm up this room.

Here is what it looks like today but it is still a work in progress…

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We have a rug and new chandelier on order.

(And I still don’t love this mercury glass on the credenza…but the client does, and I don’t live there so I better shut it! Just a disclaimer!)

So, things are coming along at this clients house!

I hope to show you all the completed pictures soon!!!

 

What we are working on next?

While I am trying to finish up a few small projects, I am moving on to my clients Great Room.

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This is a huge open living room that is central to the home. It can be seen from the Dining Room and Entryway, so we are finishing those small projects to begin this one that is a bit more complex.

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There are many problems in this room.

The first being the furniture desperately needs to be updated. There is also a need for a new entertainment configuration. The current cabinetry only can accommodate a tiny TV, which suits neither of my clients. They love sports and they love to entertain in this room….this is not working!

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We have chosen some inspiration pictures and plan to put slate or stacked stone on the chimney with a new mantle, maybe barn wood or reclaimed? We are currently waiting for a few contractor quotes to give us an idea of what type of profile we can have on the stone with compromising the built in cabinetry.

What do y’all think of painting the built in’s a dark tone like the middle inspiration picture? I am working on convincing them….

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We also need new flooring and are exploring carpet options to keep things warm and cozy on the feet.

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The rest of the common areas of the home will be painted Revere Pewter from Benjamin Moore, so we will be looking to coordinate accent colors with that tone.

So, this is what we have to work with….

I have to say, I love this house and these clients! This has to be the best job I have ever had.

I hope to update you soon with progress.

I know the results are going to be gorgeous!