Mantel Makeover, Guest

I thought that this fireplace face lift was so great I had to share.  Check out what Karla of It’s the little things that make a house a home did:

When we moved into this house a year and a half ago we were greeted with accents of mauve throughout the house (see here for a glimpse). The house was built in 1995 and while the house is great, the previous owner’s obviously had a soft spot in their hearts for this particular color.
The living room had a big, beautiful fireplace as it’s main focal point with a deep mantle, a giant mirror above it and flanked by tall windows and 10′ ceilings. But front and center were large mauve tiles covering the face and the hearth. I lived with it for as long as I could, but, sooner than later, it had to go. And I had to figure out a way to do it without any major demolition. The only choice was to cover it up! Hide the mauve and create a clean, contemporary facade that would blend seamlessly with the rest of the house.

We had already tackled one fireplace makeover

…so there was no doubt we could do it again!

Here is a picture of the fireplace in all of it’s mauve glory!

And here is a picture of it before we moved in!
(sorry for the grainy picture – it was scanned from the “For Sale” flyer)

We had been given some 12″ slate tiles from my best friend who had recently done a huge kitchen renovation. She didn’t need the remaining 8 tiles that she had, so being resourceful I took them off her hands knowing that we could definitely use them!

The first step was to break out the tiles that were acting as the hearth of the fireplace. This was the only “demo” that was done on the entire project. It was a bit messy, but it only spans about 5 feet, so it wasn’t that bad.

After the tiles and mortar had been chipped away we laid the new slate tiles. We don’t have a tile saw, so my husband took 3 of the tiles to Lowe’s and had them make a few cuts for us. Super easy and FREE!
We then cut and nailed a thin strip of MDF around the existing mauve tiles. This would act as a frame that we could attach our facade to. You can see in this picture the newly laid tiles and the frame going up!

We then measured and cut a sheet of 3/4″ MDF to completely cover the old mauve tiles.
Oh, Happy Day!!
The fireplace wasn’t even pretty yet and I already felt better in the room!

We then marked the facade for where we wanted our decorative panels to go.

We cut out squares for each corner and rectangles for the top and sides to add a decorative flair to the fireplace. The sides of the square and rectangle panels were routered with a “Roman Ogee” bit to make them look similar to all of the existing trim and wainscoting throughout the house. We added decorative strips of MDF around the base to help it tie in with our existing base boards.

We spackled all of the cut edges of the MDF so that we could ensure a clean finish!

One coat of primer and several coats of semi-gloss paint later, we were nearly finished!

I decided that the mauve tiles weren’t the only thing about the fireplace that needed some help. We have a HUGE mirror above the fireplace, but it was really lacking character and it didn’t feel much like an asset at all. I needed a quick, easy, and most of all cheap way to make it a real focal point.

My idea: use fence paneling to create a frame and use spray stain to give it a dark finish.
(My husband thought I was crazy – seriously, fence paneling?)

I love the rustic nature of fence paneling. And I really love that it costs $1.50 per panel! That’s right…$1.50! So I bought 4 fence panels and one can of spray stain for about $10. All told my frame cost about $16.00! Nice! Even my frugal husband couldn’t say “no” to that!
Here are a couple of panels propped up on the mantle before the stain and cuts were made…

And here it is “after”…
The whole project took us about a day and a half to complete.
It was SO worth it! Since we got the tiles from a friend and used MDF instead of real wood, the cost was minimal.

And the best part?
No one has to know that the mauve tiles were ever even there!
It’s our little secret!

WOW!  I wish I had a fireplace that I could do this to!
Isn’t it totally lovely?!!

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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. >Love what was done to the fireplace. I'm going to have to have a look for fence boards as I would like to frame the mirror in the bathroom and they might be just the ticket.

  2. >What a gorgeous fireplace!!! And they made it look so easy. Thanks for posting this to inspire us. Love & blessings from NC!

  3. >I love how you simplified it and made it look so classic and elegant! Great job!


  4. >What a great improvement. The old surround made the area look dated. The new look is timeless.

  5. >It turned out great. I also like your wall colors you chose. Super job! Good to know that Lowe's will make cuts for ya too.