We recently decided to lend our hand in helping our parents do a fireplace, living room makeover. Their fireplace & mantle situation was pretty outdated for their style and it didn’t really make sense for the flow of the room.
The fireplace was surrounded by a brick facade and a brick hearth that extended towards the right half of the room. This layout made the room feel totally off balance and squatty, especially with the TV down low and the couches facing the corner, away from the rest of the space.
We came across this living room, fireplace design by Nicole of Eye for Pretty on Pinterest when sourcing inspiration for the new build-out and our parents really liked it. So our goal was to duplicate this in our parent’s living room as best we could.
Photos & Design by Eye for Pretty
We really liked how this design centralized everything around the fireplace and made it the focal point of the room. The vertical center structure also helps make the room feel taller and more open, which is exactly what we were going for.
This was by far the most time consuming part just because we had to break down the brick hearth and facade around the fireplace. And we also put up a makeshift enclosure with 2x4s and plastic sheeting, so all the dust would be contained. Once we demo’d everything, we were left with exposed fireplace brick, studs, and insulation.
Tiling and Framing
Once we cleaned up all of the debris, we were able to get a better idea of how we could tackle the fireplace build-out. We started with the tile. We applied concrete to build up the facade in layers around the fireplace so we would have a nice even, level surface to lay the tile on. We were going for a seamless look, so we tried to have as little of a grout line as possible, butting the pieces of tile right up next to each other. We used this light gray tile from Home Depot and a gray grout to blend the tile together.
After the tile was set, we put up some new drywall, and then started framing out the center structure with 2x6s. We ran our wiring up into the structure and then patched up our walls. We finished the build-out by putting up shiplap, building some simple shelving on either side with some finished pine, and then painting everything a nice bright white.
One final thing we added to the buildout was 4×6 beam to create the floating mantle, and we did a light, honey colored stain on that. We also installed a Samsung Frame TV, which has been such a great addition because you can display art on the TV screen when it’s off. It is actually pretty convincing, and sometimes you can’t even tell it’s a TV, which we love!
For decorative elements we went with a modern, coastal theme for the shelves in the living room with hints of aqua to tie into the rest of our parents home decor.
And finally, probably the best thing we added to the living room was under shelf lighting. Initially, we ordered a complex shelf lighting kit offline and couldn’t get it to work properly. We almost gave up hope entirely on doing any lighting under the shelves because it was so complicated, but then we tried these Hue Lightstrips by Phillips and they were so easy to install and use – thank goodness! These Hue Lightstrips connect to Alexa so you can use commands to control them (in addition to your phone) and you can even adjust the brightness and change colors. We’re really glad we found this more user friendly option because these lights really make the space so ambient, especially at night time, and they just took the whole build-out to the next level.
We’re really happy with how this project turned out. The living room is so much more enjoyable now. It has a much better flow with the centered TV and flipped orientation of the couch. It is so much more open and modern.
Going in to this project, we were a little intimated because we had never laid tile or done a project quite this intense before as far as demo and construction. In hindsight, it went a lot better than we expected. We just tackled one thing at a time and worked our way through with some trial and error. We definitely made a few mistakes, but it all worked out in the end, giving us the courage to attempt some more home projects in the future.
We’re happy to have learned a lot from this reno, and we hope maybe you found some inspiration to tackle some home projects of your own!