One of our family’s absolute favorite things to do is curl up in front of a toasty fire on a cold, winter night. We adored our fireplace at our old house. It was a beautiful wood burner, built with bricks from an old, Detroit factory and a mantle made of swamp log. It had such character. At our new house, the fireplace was far less inspiring. As you’ll see in the photo below, it was entirely made of drywall, with a standard mantle and stove insert. When we learned that the stove could come out, we discussed bringing the fireplace back to life. What you’ll quickly learn is that it’s never really that simple with us.
To start, the wood burning stove was about 500 pounds of cast iron. My husband’s understanding of simple machines is all that I can attribute to us getting the thing out of the house. (It’s still strapped to whatever mechanism we used last, sitting in the garage.) Instantly, the room felt more up-to-date. We had also decided that a new mantle was a fairly inexpensive way to give the fireplace a different look. And so, we grabbed our sledge hammers and pulled that bad boy right down. To our surprise, we discovered brick just below where the mantle had sat. We looked at each other and instantly knew what was about to happen. In a matter of minutes, all of the drywall was down and we had exposed brick! Granted, it was really ugly exposed brick, but brick none the less!
We contemplated painting it, but for some reason, I’ve never been completely in love with that look. I feel like the brick, as ugly as it may have started, loses most of its character when it is painted over. After a bit of reading and looking through photos, we decided to whitewash the brick. My husband was a huge help and we cruised right through the project.
I should probably preface the remainder of this post by telling you that if we didn’t love Michigan as much as we do, I would pack my husband and dogs up, move to Texas, and have Chip and Joanna Gaines design a home for us. I love their style. It’s classic, yet fun. It’s beautiful but still comfortable. In an attempt to capture that style, we spent one Saturday afternoon rummaging through reclaimed barn wood to find our new mantle. It was a tough feat, as we needed a whopping eleven-footer, but we fell in love with an amazing hand-hewn, Elm piece from an old barn in Michigan. Again, thanks to my husband’s ingenuity, we had it fit and hung in just a few days!
Now for the final element. Lots of people suggested we simply paint the upper half of the wall, but then I would have been robbed of my ultimate dream; shiplap. I had been secretly Pinteresting the heck out of DIY shiplap ever since I saw my first episode of Fixer Upper. Of course, the walls of our house are not square, so hanging the wood was a total bear, but it also meant that hubby was ready to wipe his hands of the project and leave the remainder to me when it was done. After a quick paint and distress, it looked just as I had hoped.
As I sit here gazing at our beautiful fireplace and feature wall, I am in such awe of what we have created. It’s hard to remember what that wall looked like when we first moved in. Over the coming weeks, I will share with you the processes we went through to achieve our final product so that you can do them too! I honestly can’t believe how easy it all was. I considered waiting to share this with all of you until the actual tutorials were complete. We also have more to do to the room before it’s finished. To be honest though, I was too excited and too proud to wait. Our house is really starting to feel like a home and I couldn’t love it any more.
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