Last week, I shared the “before” tour of our 1963 split-level fixer upper, in all its original glory. When you live in an older house, it can sometimes feel like your project to-do list is a hundred feet long and like there’s no end in sight! But it’s so reassuring to look back on our “before” photos from time to time and remind myself just how much progress we’ve actually made since we first moved in. It really is starting to look like a different house!
By far, the biggest project we’ve tackled since moving in has been our fireplace room remodel. In all honesty, we (and by we, I mean I) totally decided to do this project on a whim. You’d think that maybe we’d focus on our kitchen or upstairs bathroom first, but nope – the fireplace room was the one room in the entire house that I just simply couldn’t wait to transform.
From the day we first walked through our house, I knew this room had so much hidden potential. I had all these ideas running through my mind, and I was so excited to see them come to life! Thank goodness I have a hubby who supports all my crazy ideas, and a dad who can help us see them through!
Before we renovated the fireplace room, we had pretty much been using it as a makeshift mud room and as a place for Sierra to hang out during the day while we were at work. After all, we weren’t exactly worried about ruining that lovely (read: nasty) peel-and-stick vinyl flooring that wreaked of cat pee!
At first glance, this room doesn’t look all that bad. It has great bones. And I actually didn’t really mind the painted wood paneling (although I would have chosen a different color). We didn’t want to do more work than was needed, but the longer we lived here, the more I started to notice how outdated the space really was.
The paneling was cracked, dented and worn. The trim was beat up from years of abuse, and you could tell it had been painted in a rush. The flooring was a cheap, peel-and-stick vinyl tile that was coming up at the edges (yes, from the cat pee). The entire space just desperately needed a refresh, and I felt like I owed it one. Anyone else ever feel that way?
My vision was to create a vintage farmhouse feel with lots of woods and whites. To me, that meant creamy white floor-to-ceiling board and batten with thick farmhouse trim, contrasted by our brick fireplace, rustic wood ceiling beams, aged bronze fixtures and wood plank flooring. Can you imagine me trying to explain all this to Matt and my dad? They probably thought I was crazy. But I just knew it would turn out to be beautiful!
Our fireplace room actually did have boxy wood ceiling beams to start with, but they had been painted white (…WHY?!). I don’t think anyone even noticed them because they just blended right in with the ceiling. Plus, they were really deep (a whole eight inches!), which made the ceiling feel so much lower than it actually was. Luckily, the beams were decorative – and not structural – so we decided to just take them down. We’ll be putting up reclaimed wood beams instead!
I was really inspired by the contrast of these rustic beams against the white walls in this old farmhouse… isn’t this room just lovely?
Another thing we wanted to fix… the fireplace room didn’t have a natural flow to it – at all. It felt really disconnected from the rest of our main living space upstairs. Almost everyone we had over didn’t even realize there was a family room downstairs because the doorway was so narrow. Aside from being closed off, it was also pretty dark and gloomy. I wanted to give it more of an open, sun-room type vibe, with lots of natural light filtering in!
I’m also still going back and forth over whether to very lightly white wash the brick fireplace… kind of like the one below. A large part of me is super nervous that I’ll ruin the brick, but the other part of me is really curious to see what it would look like! I really love that old brick-and-mortar look. Can you blame me?
We started renovating our fireplace room at the end of February 2016, about a year after we had moved into our home. I think we thought this wouldn’t be all that big of an undertaking, but boy were we wrong! Not only did we underestimate the amount of work involved, but we came across a few unexpected “surprises” along the way (luckily, nothing too major!).
It ended up taking longer than we had originally thought. But then again, doesn’t it always? Basically, we spent almost every single waking hour outside of work (weekends and nights) on this remodel project for four or five months straight.
I do need to give us a little pat on the back, though… we did everything ourselves! It has been a lot of hard work, but it’s allowed us to save quite a bit of money on the renovation and I’m really proud of that. It makes us appreciate it that much more!
But before I do a “reveal” post, I thought it would be fun to share our progress in phases so you can get a better sense of how much work actually went into remodeling this space. It certainly didn’t just happen over night!
So, now that I’ve shared my design inspiration for this remodel project, let’s take it down to the studs… I’ll be sharing the demo of our fireplace room over the next several days!