Monday, January 14, 2013

Budget Friendly Fireplace Makeover

When it comes to decorating my own house, I can honestly say, it is my greatest challenge. Firstly, we moved into an old house that needed structural work that we did not anticipate and from that moment on, it has been one thing after another. We only planned to live here for a couple of years, which is laughable now.

When I tell you "every detail of this house needed renovating", I am NOT exaggerating. We want to sell the house, so I am trying my very best not to over improve and simply update and move on. (gee, anyone know a good Home Stager? duh)

As projects get prioritized, some of the easy makeovers have been neglected. This brings me to my fireplace. It's always been neglected. It's a working fireplace but I hate that it gets so dirty and as much as I LOVE a real fire, I'm not so crazy about the smell in the house. So, I've been looking for a cool solution to keep the fire, lose the smell, and give this little old traditional fireplace a modern twist. Right before X-mas, I needed something quick so I ordered this Nu-Flame freestanding fireplace from didn't arrive until last week.
 After cleaning up all of the holiday decor,  I seriously could not look at it sitting in the box and my sad fireplace any longer. I was supposed to be painting my bedroom (again- story on that later) so this needed to be about a 2 hour fix so I could stick to my Saturday job of working on my OWN house.

So, here's how it went down. 

 There are so many things- this spot tends to be a dumping ground for random accessories that need a home.

First: I planned to have sconces wired because the wall space is SCREAMING for them and there is really no other solution that makes sense. However, 2 things:
1) I have so many more important places in the house to put that money into.
2) I cannot find sconces that I love that are under $400 each(+electrical install) and again- why over-improve?

 I'm torn on painting the brick because there is something authentic about it that I really like. Once it's painted, I'll feel like the house will have been completely painted over and it seems sad. (whatever.)

So, I recently purchased these candle wall scones from Tiki Tiger's shop on ETSY (for no reason except that I'm obsessed with bursty looking objects from the 70's) and they were sitting in the box reminding me why I need shopping therapy and then I thought... What if I took the candle sconces:
And added a shade? I have a couple of $25 lights from Ikea that I did not end up using on a job....

married the two and just hung them on the wall? Well, here's the result.. 
I just hung the sconce and then tacked the shade directly to the wall with a small nail.
The shade probably needs to be half of the depth...I'll change later.

What is really great and unexpected is that I can actually put a
 little (battery powered) tea light candle inside and it lights up!
Here's the inside view: (The taper candle is just for show, the little silver tea light is the real candle)
  Next, i grabbed these agate prints that I made and have had in the kid's bathroom for a year or so.
I decided they looked better here. 

These are really easy to make and a year ago I thought I was a genius until I saw my idea cropping up on other blogs. I guess I wasn't the only genius ;) They are really fun though. 

I used these West Elm prints


These little agate drink coasters. 
(I bought different colors and each pack for only $7 at Homegoods- look in clearance section)

And, just like that, a little fireplace makeover in just over an hour. 

What's really great, is that when the fire is going it looks like this, and it has a little crackle.

But when there's no fire, I can close the hatch and put my selenite logs in the clean black box.
I'll probably end up doing a carrera subway tile over the brick but for now, it will
do so I can move onto other areas.
What do you think?


  1. Great to see such an enthusiastic DIY'er, you've done a fantastic job. Your fireplace looks fantastic, and it could be finished off greatly with fireplace accessories. Although the nature of yours and many other fireplaces don't necessitate fireplace accessories, they still can add great aesthetic and traditional value to the fireplace, adding that final touch of tradition and class.

    Great work, good luck with the next venture!

    1. Thank you so much Ben, I'll check the site out for sure.

  2. Good to see this post & i really like this kind of fireplaces.This is really awesome & attractive.
    Stone Fireplace Mantels

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Great post indeed! I really like the idea and suggestions you shared for the maintenance of fireplace. Though, these modern fireplaces provide a great way to warm up a house, but maintaining and regular inspections of these fireplaces is quite essential. Today modern fireplaces come in various designs and style which not only enhance the look of a house, but they are very user-friendly as well. Most of the fireplaces and heating stoves come with advanced cleaning kit so keeping these heating devices clean is quite easy. Last month, I renovated my house and I installed a fireplace which I purchased from The fireplace is perfect in terms of both heating and design. The fireplace is having a separate cleaning kit also so it becomes easy to keep it clean.