Do you have an outdated fireplace or one that you just don’t love?….Well, I had one of those and over the past year it had at least 3 makeovers until I finally grabbed my vision and made it a reality. The fireplace is usually in the heart of the home where family and friends gather, so it ends up being the focal point in the room. So, why not make it fabulous? Come along as I share the many transformations and how we ended up with the final winner….
Here is what the fireplace originally looked like (This photo is from the real estate photos)
As you can see, the fireplace mantle is an orangey oak wood and kind of small in relation to the chunky Austin stone. Since I was painting out all the wood, I decided to try a dark stain on it to make it look a little more rustic. This is how it turned out… still just kind of boring .
So then I decided to paint it and chip it up a bit and then add some corbels for a more architectural appeal. You can see this post on the process I used to paint it How to distress & update a wood mantle. Here is how it turned out.
I loved the change and it made my decor during the holidays really pop. The corbels added a lot more personality to it. However, every time I looked at pictures, all I could see was how yellow the stone looked against the white mantle. We had also installed shiplap walls and painted them white next to where the fireplace is, so it really looked yellow.
After a little research, I decided to try doing a limestone wash to soften the color and tone down the yellow. Here are the steps to limewash…
It has a paste like texture and I watered it down quite a bit to make it very thin. Then I brushed the product on the stone very lightly. One thing I did learn is that it dries even whiter so if you don’t want a complete whiteout, apply sparingly. The nice thing is that once applied, you can spray water on it to wash it off. It makes a mess so be sure to cover your floors.
I also sprayed the stone with water first to allow the wash to go on lightly. I used a very light hand while brushing with a wide stiff paintbrush.
You can see what a difference the limewash makes in toning down the yellow/orange tones. Applying it lightly allowed for there to still have some of the character of the stones varied colors without completely washing it out.
Here it is all complete and I love the look with the mantle so much more now.
BUT, I still wasn’t loving the style of the mantle with the style and look I was trying to achieve for the room. I still felt that the mantle was too small for the chunky stone. So after perusing Pinterest for more rustic looking mantles I finally found the look and a vision for what I wanted. I love the look of a big rustic rough-hewn beam and that was the look I was going for. However, there was not way that mantle was coming down, at least I was not about to tell Mr. Hip and Humble to try to get it off!!
So we figured out a way to build around the existing mantle to achieve that look. We used 2″ x 12″ x 8′ knotty pine boards. And measured more than twice to ensure a snug fit.
We removed the corbels, then built a u-shaped box to fit tightly around the existing mantle. Then we screwed the new mantle into the existing piece. Once that was installed we added a piece on the bottom.
Here’s how it looked once installed (we hadn’t taken the old corbels off yet. ) Then I was on the hunt for some big chunky corbels that would look substantial enough next to our newly enlarged mantle. I found the perfect ones at the Canton First Monday Trade days and did the happy dance the whole way home!!
Once everything was installed, I took a chisel and chipped some of the sharp edges off and took a few chunks here and there on the front panel to make it look more aged and rough-hewn. After it was “beat up” a bit, I stained it with Minwax dark walnut.
I’m so thrilled with how it turned out and the wow factor it adds to the whole look of the room….It only took a year to make the vision finally visible, but hey all things come in good time!!
So I’d love to know what you think…(I know some people thought I was crazy for changing it a million time )s, but we have to do what makes us happy when we have a look we are trying to go for. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot me a comment or ask if something seems confusing. I love to hear from my readers so come say hi!