House Update - #1 (House numbers & Fireplace redo)

Hi guys! I hope you will forgive me, today's post is not about food. But! This post has been a few months in the making and I'm so happy to finally share it.

Lately, I've been pouring a lot of my creative energy into making our new house feel more like home so I wanted to share some of the projects I've been working on! I hope you'll enjoy watching the transformation.

This blog post covers how we updated our house numbers and how we updated our living room fireplace. Read on for details and pictures! 

House Numbers

The first thing I wanted to do was to give the house numbers by the front door, and the porch light, a little update. Those old numbers felt like they were straight out of the 70s:

House numbers update

So of course I did my homework browsing Pinterest (my kind of homework!). Then, I set to work creating a little board for our numbers and wiring in a new light. Oliver was a huge help: the numbers were annoyingly uncooperative and "electrician" is far from something I can claim. 

Next, a slightly bigger project: updating our fireplace. I knew from the first time we walked through the house that this would be one of the first projects I tackled. Just look at that original 1970s brass fireplace! 

Living Room Fireplace

Before we moved in, the fireplace was dusty and had a brass surround. The shelves looked like an after thought and the shutters.... made me shudder. 

Before we moved in, the fireplace was dusty and had a brass surround. The shelves looked like an after thought and the shutters.... made me shudder. 

This had to be addressed-- ASAP! Honestly I hated the old brick so much that it felt like I had nothing to loose. I removed the old shelves, and that brass, so that I could refinish everything. While those were out, I white washed the brick.

At first, as the white wash was drying, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not. But I took a few deep breaths, reminded myself of how terrible the brick looked in the first place, and kept going. 

Next, I spray painted the old surround. Lucky for me, our surround is a total facade and is actually stuck on using magnets, which meant I could just pop it off and take it outside. This is important because the paint it was going to use can emit a lot of fumes! If you plan to spray paint your surround, see if it can be removed.

Please forgive my mid-construction-zone mess of a coffee table that proves that yes this is real life. While you're at it please forgive my crooked camera phone pic. 😜

Please forgive my mid-construction-zone mess of a coffee table that proves that yes this is real life. While you're at it please forgive my crooked camera phone pic. 😜

As you can see from the picture above, at this point I also applied wall paper to the wall on either side of the fireplace. Now, before we get too far, I NEVER in my life thought I'd be a proponent of wall paper. But when I started thinking about the built in shelves I knew I needed a way to make them look more built in-- not just stuck there. I had actually priced out what it would take to do wood paneling behind them, but then discovered this "reclaimed wood wallpaper" which only cost me $30. This was another "Let's just give it a shot" moment, and I bought the wallpaper. 

Up it went! With a learning curve. My parents actually came over for dinner the next day and for a few moments they thought it was real wood, so I'm going to say the wallpaper was a success. 

After all of that, I spent what was pretty much a whole weekend sanding down the old shelves to reveal their hard wood grain. Then, I stained them with a "natural" stain and put them back where they started. 

I also tacked on a bit of molding in matching stain above the shelves to help them look more built in. 

Oh yea, and I painted the right-hand wall a blue-grey, and made new cabin-inspired pillow covers:

White washed brick fireplace

The LAST fireplace update was to add a mantelpiece. It wasn't in the original plan but once all of the brick was white I decided something was needed. My dad, the engineer, helped me bolt on this piece of wood my friend Thomas found on his mountain property. I gave the top a good sanding and stained it like the shelves.

The fireplace: whitewashed, painted surround, installed reclaimed wood mantle, refinished shelves. 

The fireplace: whitewashed, painted surround, installed reclaimed wood mantle, refinished shelves. 

Now, we still have tons to do! We want to update our coffee table and come up with a better solution for the stereo and TV. I'm still toying with ideas for those shutters. And that popcorn ceiling. So far though, I'm pretty proud of our work! 

Have you ever done a similar project? How did it go?