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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Wall Lake Cottage Project

Here is the scoop on a project that has been taking up a great deal of my schedule lately. I am playing General contractor these days for this cute little cottage up on Wall Lake in Delton. My clients purchased this guy in the fall and we have spent the last few months getting it ready for summer. I know I posted some Idea Boards for furnishings recently but I think I should start back at the beginning.

Let look at the kitchen the day my clients took possession on this 1200 square foot beauty.

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Very Nautical with the navy cabinets….yikes!!! We had Navy trim throughout the house as well….and they must have had extra navy because all of the exterior trim is navy too! Navy is very popular now but when not used properly it can be really bad.

I knew this had to go and we needed to brighten up this small space. I felt like I was in a cave….

Almost all of the flooring was vinyl or carpet in the home….neither of which we wanted to keep.

The first thing we did was come up with a color scheme. The walls all needed to go white. We chose your basic Sherwin Williams Extra White for the walls, ceiling and trim.

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The cabinets in this centrally located kitchen would be the only color in Benjamin Moore Stratton Blue HC-142.

Next we chose the flooring, which would be the same throughout. We went with a higher end 12mm laminate for easy cleaning and durability.

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The flooring is Quick Step Reclaime in the color Mocha.  I love the way it looks like old barn wood….that perfect weathered lake house look. Like all remodels, we hit a glitch with the flooring which delayed our project for two months. The manufacturer discontinued the flooring after our order but we finally got it installed throughout the entire house right after the Christmas holidays.

While we were waiting we forged ahead with the kitchen.

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The cabinets were painted, new hinges and knobs were put on.

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Then we topped them with easy to care for butcher block.

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I added an awesome farmhouse sink from IKEA, with a pull out Moen faucet.

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The last thing we did in the kitchen was add a simple subway tile back-splash for a clean look.

During this time the cottages only bathroom was gutted down to the studs. This is what it looked like before.

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The bathroom was super small with a 3 foot stand up shower. The shower had a bulk head over it that dropped a foot to house an exhaust fan. it was a little claustrophobic not to mention gross….the double sinks could go as well since this was just a tiny family cottage.To maximize the space we needed to add a 6 foot tub/shower and a new vanity.

Here it is in progress today.

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The tub, new vanity and all new plumbing have been installed. The tile is just basic white hexagonal tile with Oyster Gray grout. Below is an example of the Idea Board I gave to the client to keep us on track.

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Now we just need the finishing touches.

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The walls will be painted Rockport Gray this week.

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This is the new light fixture and I am waiting on a rustic barn wood mirror to arrive.

The shelving we added for baskets and rolled towels will also be trimmed out and finished this week. My favorite contractor, CE Squared, who has been doing all the work for us on this house, came up with a fantastic idea. The shelves are all done in a white laminate so they are easy to keep clean rather than a painted shelf! What a great tip and it did not cost much more at all!!

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Here are the before pics of the family room.

I wish I had some better updates because this room looks 100% better but I will post them soon. We painted this room white and it got new Reclaime Mocha flooring. Before the flooring went in I tackled the fireplace myself. The painter was not grasping what I wanted the fireplace to look like so, I just rocked it out myself. We had two types of brick on the fireplace and it was so dark and dated….not the light look we were going for. So, I white washed it to bring it all together!

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And this is what it looked like the day I was done….it will also have a new gray barn wood mantle soon. Stay Tuned!

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Since then, the flooring was installed, the new ceiling fan went up and the sconces went in next to the fireplace. This room is just waiting on the upholstered furniture to arrive!!

Below is the Idea Board that the client and I started with.

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This cottage is transforming into such a cute family vacation spot.

I cant wait to show you the end result!!

West Gull Lake Client Update

Another client update! If you read back in my blog, I began my work with these clients in their study. It was an absolute blank canvas. We warmed it up and made it a great place to work from home or for the kids to lounge on their lap tops for homework. This family is a family of 5 so every space I design for them has to be casual and kid friendly. This house was very traditional and formal when they moved in. Little by little we have made it a reflection on their tastes and personality. Taking “Traditional” to “Transitional” is the way I like to look at it!

So after the study, the next project was painting almost the entire first floor.

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We went with Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter for all of the common areas,

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while adding a pop of Benjamin Moore Evening Dove to the dining area.

Next on the list was to tackle the focal point of this open space…..the fireplace. Again, another client who hates their fireplace! Actually, all of my clients have fireplace issues! Why do these builders do such crazy things!?!?! The East Side of the State was the “Land of Ugly Kitchens”….maybe the West Side is the “Land of Terrible Fireplaces” !! Check out that pink marble….

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So as you can see, we had some updating to do. This is a young family…..and in all reality, this did not reflect either of this couples personality. They like a more contemporary transitional look….dark grays, rich leather.

First we decided what we wanted to do with the fireplace. We chose a stacked stone and took it all of the way to the ceiling to draw your eye up to the ceiling. This is a tall room and we wanted to accentuate that! We installed the TV over the fireplace to maintain the existing built ins. One of those cabinets housed a tiny TV on a slide out shelf….this family enjoys sports and movies. That little 25″ isn’t going to cut it!

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And those built ins needed to pop more so we decided to paint them a darker color rather than the trim color. We decided on Benjamin Moore Deep Creek 1477.

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The bookshelves and fireplace look amazing now!!! The stone draws your eye directly to this beautiful focal point in the room….and the TV is the envy of all of the dads on Gull Lake 😉 Check out that mantle! We ordered that from Antique Beams and Boards in Ohio. What an amazing resource that is!!

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The next step is to furnish this family room with comfortable furniture that can stand up to 3 kids and a dog with out sacrificing aesthetics. We turned to Pottery Barn and ordered the Turner Square Leather Sectional. I have to admit that over the years Pottery Barn has not won me over on their upholstered pieces but, even I have “Sectional Envy”. This sectional has proven to be well worth the price tag and the clients could not be happier. We scattered a mixture of pillows with accents of Navy and Orange….both accent colors the couple agreed upon.

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We ordered the Sweep Armchair from West Elm in a blue chenille tweed fabric. A perfect accent with the sofa for alternate seating. Some accessories, an ottoman, chandelier and a sofa table complete the look of the room. I even bought some books with navy hard covers to draw our accent color into the bookshelves.

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Notice all of the mullions have been removed from the large windows overlooking the lake. This really opened them up more and gave a more contemporary feel. Such a small change can alter the entire look of the space. Why no window treatments you ask?? One of the clients doesn’t love the look of draperies on every window so, we let the view draw your eye without dressing the windows further.

The Family Room is open to the dining room so that was the next space that needed to be addressed.

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The Dining Room before was very formal and the family never felt comfortable in this space. Check out the chandelier….doesn’t scream young family does it??  This is a family of five and they couldn’t all fit around this round table for holiday dinners let alone family meals.

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First things first….we ordered a table made from reclaimed barn wood. A reclaimed table cant get much more durable for a family with young kiddos. This table was custom made and shipped to the client. We ordered simple linen chairs to complement the colors in the new area rug. The navy accent walls make the navy pop out of the area rug and tie nicely to the navy in the family room.

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A new contemporary chandelier was added….I am in love with it, by the way!!

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What a transformation!

Now, all of the these spaces in this very “Traditional” custom Gull Lake Home have been converted to a more updated  “Transitional” style.

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!

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!