Last year we started a redo of our kitchen and family room. While I love it all, I’m ecstatic that the fireplace mantle is finally done in time to decorate and hang those stockings. I thought it would be fun to share a little before and after.
When we moved into this house we left a lot of beautiful built-in book and TV shelves in our last house. Since you’re always a little house-poor right when you move in, I just bought the cheapest thing I could find at IKEA to house everything, planning to update after a year or later. Well, 6 years later, we finally did something. Part of the issue was that the space on our wall is a unique size because of two windows on either end. This meant that anything commercially made was either too wide or too small. We knew we had to do something custom. Which, in the end was good because I could get more storage to hide all the junk. It has been great!
Since we were in the process of doing that, we decided to redo the fire place too. Here’s the before shot. I have never loved this fireplace. The biggest issue being the window above the mantle. I’m not sure who thought that was a good idea, because it pretty much meant you couldn’t hang anything above the fireplace and made it awkward for decorating. Worse, the window faces west with no way to shade the light that hit you in the face on the opposite couch and was a magnifying glass for letting in heat during the summer.
Here is the after. Ta-Da! I always worried about the cost of trying to wall over the window, but after seeing lots of paneling above fireplace designs on Pinterest, we just paneled over it. Saved so much time and money! (A contractor suggested spray-painting the window before we covered it – now it looks like frosted glass from the outside. Easy.)
I’ve always loved the clean lines of Craftsman style (even before it was all the rage) so I love the way this looks. I also spray-painted the brass fixtures on the fireplace unit to clean it up a little. It was a simple update. (And yes, I used the special heat-resistant spray paint.) I love how much cleaner it looks. Everything about it is just a joy to behold for me.
We finally got the tile done – the final project – and it’s perfect. (I found the tile we ended up using at Home Depot.) I love the way it ties-in with the built-ins. For the first time in my life I feel like my house doesn’t look like a hodge-podge!
And everything got done just in time to hang up the stockings. Our stockings have a lot of sentimental value. My great-grandmother was a maker and knit my own mother’s stocking in this pattern over 65 years ago. After her death, my great-aunt carried on the tradition, making the stockings for everyone in the family as baby and wedding presents. (If you look carefully, mine is slightly different colors than the others.)
I was the first to get married in my family and since that great-aunt had passed away, my mom decided to carry on the tradition and has knit stockings for the past 18 years as my siblings have got married and we’ve had babies. I love the sentimental, handmade sweetness these stockings represent.
I hope all is well as you finish your own Christmas/holiday preparations! We have snow this year and my kids are excited it’s going to be a white Christmas here. Best wishes with all that final, last minute prep!
And one more Before and After shot, just for fun. 😉