Weekends Are For Projects: Fireplace Makeover


Fireplace Makeover: Bye-bye builder grade. Helloooo, Farmhouse Chic

This project showcases how a few bucks, some paint, and a Saturday can transform a room from a bland space to a feature space.

We choose the corner fireplace wall in our living room. A plain wall employing the builder-gradest of builder grade materials for the mantel and fireplace surround. Totally unremarkable.

This picture was taken right after we put a fresh coat of Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray on the walls.

We decided to add a faux shiplap finish with some trim and coat the whole thing in Sherwin Williams Alabaster in a matte finish. Alabaster white is one of my favorites. Yes it’s white. Plain ol’ white. White like rich, velvety cream. White as the remains of a giant doomsday marshmallow man. It’s a white you want to wrap yourself up in, or sink into, or eat. In other words, you see this white and you want it to cover everything!

Since our wall was less than 8 feet wide and each ripped plywood strip of plywood is 8 feet long, we decided to go with a super clean seamless look. We cut strips to run the entire width of the wall. If you want seams, go with seams. Just cut the strips to your liking, and remember to stagger the seams all the way down the wall. Because we’re going to trim out the wall, you have a nice margin for error, so you don’t have to be super precise with the cuts. Just measure and get them close enough.

The only part of this project that even approached difficult from a skill perspective was where the wood strips met the mantel, where we had to cut a multi-angled groove to fit the wood to the mantel as tight as reasonably possible. But even here, all you need is a bit of patience, a jigsaw, and a couple clamps. Ours didn’t fit perfectly, but some caulking blended the pieces together just fine.

Excuse Josh’s delicate, slender hands. This pic inspired him to order a grip-strength squeezer thing 


The trim pieces are 1.75” casing cut to fit and mitered to 45° for a clean finish. No biggie.

As for painting, well, we paint. And we end up with this.

What do you think? I think the fireplace needs to kick it’s smoking habit. Gotta do something about that gross tile.

Regular paint is no good for tile, even after a good scrubbing, so you need to mix up a bit of chalk paint, find my recipe here. Once that’s done, more painting, and here we are!


Ahhh! Pearly whites

At this point, we’re kind of torn. We love the white, and it’s such a huge improvement from where we started… but you know, we started with a plan and we’re sticking to the plan!

Check back soon to see where it takes us!


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