A Fireplace, a Women, and Her Dream.


I love my family room. It is the heart of our home and the most lived in room in our house. Some of my most memorable moments have happened here. Christmas mornings, holding a sick child through the night cuddled on the couch (I know is not typically most memorable, but there is just something about holding a little body all night and being their lifeline), holding a snoozing baby, family nights and overall laziness. This is where I achieve maximum peace.

Saying all that, I really disliked the design of the original fireplace mantel and it has long been on my renovation hit list. It is the focal point of the room, so difficult to ignore. The style was dated, and there was a lot of wasted space.

Here is the before

Fireplace before


That alcove was difficult to decorate because of it’s size, we have ten foot ceilings, that sucker was massive.  What it was super awesome at, was collecting dust and clutter. Our old projection T.V. was on it’s last legs and Ryan really wanted that flat screen, but the current mantel was way to high,  we would have all needed neck therapy. Then we would have had a big empty void beside the fireplace.

When we started our main floor renovation, Ryan added this project to the list, I was pumped. The happy, clappy kind of pumped.

I stalked Houzz and Pinterest obsessively to get an idea of what I did and did not like. I wanted to see zero clutter or components. I did not want a surface for things to be set on. I wanted it clean and modern.

My friend Danica from Wallflower Boutique  helped me with the visualizing. She is a genius and pulled all my ideas together seamlessly for me. She even put it into this fancy drawing.


Fancy Drawing by Danica

fireplace plansWe started to put it out there to contractors and cabinet makers and the quotes we were getting were seriously offending our budget. I am sure in the contractor world they were reasonable, but reality hit us. Danica had worked in great option for using Ikea cabinetry, which ended up being WAY less then custom built-in’s.

So we decided to DIY it. I found a new super cheap, sexy  contractor that I could afford (Ryan) and we got to work.


FP Collage


As far as the building details, I can tell you Ryan used wood,  screws and patience. We also had a gas guy for moving the gas stuff.

It took forever, between procrastination and Ryan trying to alter my design plans midway to make something fit, which caused some tear down, calling the gas guy back and tears, we  he persevered. I did help with the tiling, but my tiles kept falling off . It turned out though, I am an ace with a tile saw. I mean, scarily awesome.




This renovation has completely modernized our home. I love the hidden storage; there is no where for clutter to collect.

I went with the high gloss white cabinet doors and I am so happy I did. Even realized that if I ever want to change it up, IKEA is just a quick trip away. The look of the high gloss white kept the design clean and fresh. All the ugly components, game stuff and DVD’s are hidden away. I would open the doors and show you, but I have yet to master organization on that level. I am just happy that the doors still close.

I will be writing on how I distressed that mantel, and installed it, well Ryan helped with the install. Remember, my tiles kept falling off and that piece of wood is heavy.

If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them. Or feel free to just leave a comment below, would love the hear from you!


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