Fireplace Mantle Redo in time for Christmas

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.

Christmas family room makeover

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!

fireplace before

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.

Fireplace mantle redo after

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.)

Christmas fireplace redo

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.

fireplace redo tile

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!

Christmas stockings

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.)

Handmade knit christmas stockings

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.

handmade christmas stockings

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!       

before and after fireplace mantle redo

And one more Before and After shot, just for fun. 😉

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  • Reply
    December 23, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    I love your new mantle but I love the story of your stockings even more. 🙂 I’m a knitter and went off to look for the pattern : I found it on ravelry in case you (or any of your readers) are curious!


    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      December 23, 2015 at 10:26 pm

      Oh my gosh. That is fantastic!! Thanks so much for finding and sharing. It’s funny because I’ve known other people with stockings made from the same pattern, but I didn’t know the history or that it was from 1945. Love it. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Kathleen Gee
    December 23, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    Such a dramatic difference! It looks so good, Amy! Thank you for sharing and Merry Christmas.

  • Reply
    Susan k
    December 23, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Your mantle is beautiful! A dramatic difference. I love that the tradition of knitted stockings in your family. What a treasure! And they get a perfect mantle to hang on.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Love your fireplace – it’s “pin-worthy”! The knitted stockings are just precious and dear.

  • Reply
    December 23, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    What a dramatic change, and it looks fantastic! I can imagine that you are thrilled with the new look. Best wishes this holiday season to you and your family!

  • Reply
    December 23, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    Beautiful fireplace. Love the stockings – and such a rich tradition – beautiful.

    BTW – is your fireplace a gas fireplace? Woodburning? We have a old wood burning one that looks similar to the design of your “before” pic and can’t decide what to do with it.

    Merry Christmas 🙂


  • Reply
    December 23, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Love your mantle and fireplace redo! Wow – what a change!! Tha ks also for the history behind the stockings. A lovely story and what a wonderful thing to have! Have a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy the snow! I am in Houston, TX and we were at 82 degrees today! Not normal and while I don’t necessarily wish for snow, it would be nice to wear a sweater or even a coat a Christmastime!!! Cheers!

  • Reply
    Martha cook
    December 24, 2015 at 5:14 am

    What an awesome transformation! Merry Christmas to be you and yours 🙂

  • Reply
    Lindsey Brake
    December 24, 2015 at 5:15 am

    Great job on the fireplace! Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy New Year

  • Reply
    Denise in PA
    December 24, 2015 at 6:51 am

    Wow, everything looks fabulous! Covering the window certainly was the right thing to do! Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    Vicki in MN
    December 24, 2015 at 7:16 am

    That fireplace is absolutely gorgeous! I think I should spray paint my brass on mine-not sure DH would go with that though. All the fixtures and doorknobs are brass, that was the ‘in’ thing when we built it. Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    Sigi G
    December 24, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Oh Amy – what a difference. It is beautiful! The white all around just makes everything look so fresh and sparkly. Enjoy! Love the story of the Christmas Stockings. The older I get, the more precious the traditions of family become. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  • Reply
    December 24, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Oh it looks beautiful! I hope your family has a Merry Christmas!

  • Reply
    Nancy A
    December 24, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Love your new fireplace and mantle. But then I am partial to the mission oak/craftsman style. I think it speaks of honesty with it’s clean lines. Your stockings look great hanging there, and I love the family story. I am now 73, and we have moved from Illinois to Alabama to be near our oldest daughter. I have been telling her the history of family things, but I realize I need to write it down for a record for the whole family.

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      December 26, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Yes – such a good idea. Your family will treasure that record. And I’ve always loved the Craftsman style for it’s clean lines too.
      Thanks Nancy!

  • Reply
    Karen K from Buffalo
    December 24, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    My Mother had the exact same pattern & made stockings for all of us kids plus our spouses. She even went on to do all of my cousins! And I know what you mean about the difference in the original stockings. She made one for my husband when we got married in 1978 & his was huge because she couldn’t find the same yarn! Anyway, I took a double take on those stockings & had to write! Have a joyous & blessed Holiday Season!!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      December 26, 2015 at 11:13 am

      I love it! I’ve loved hearing how many people have those same stockings. It’s such a great, timeless pattern. Thank you for writing! Happy Holidays to you and yours too!

  • Reply
    December 28, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Amy, what an incredible change–I definitely prefer your After. But what I want to know is –how much fun did you have with a sledgehammer when you demolished all that stone and did you follow it up with a massage? 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa Youtzy
    August 23, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Hi Amy – I just stumbled across your blog from Pinterest. I was looking a fireplaces and yours popped up. What is so crazy is this… we have the exact same Christmas stockings with similar stories! My grandmother made my siblings and I all stockings… they are all slightly different (mine has a plan white foot, while my siblings are striped). When I got married, my mom made one for my husband. When my first daughter was born, she made her one. But when my second daughter was born, she just couldn’t quiet do it any more, so I asked my friends mom to make my youngest daughter hers. Somewhere along there, we lost the pattern. It’s so sad to me! I was hoping to have one made (I don’t knit more than an scarf) for my girls husbands and if then their children! Anyway, my long post is this… do you happen to have the pattern? I’d gladly pay you for a copy if you do! One of my favorite things about the web is finding someone like you, with a beautiful fireplace (I’m jealous) and Christmas stockings that are so sentimental! My email address is lyoutzy@hotmail.com… if you feel like following up, I’d love it! I’d love to show you our stockings too! Thank you for your post… It made me so happy!

  • Reply
    Paulette LeMieux
    December 26, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    I have to add my name to the list! I love the fireplace transformation and had shown the pin to our carpenter. While scrolling down, I see the very same Christmas stockings MY great-aunt knitted for me and MY siblings hung right on my soon-to-be fireplace make-over. Thank you so very much for sharing your pin and your wonderful story, and I can’t wait to follow the links for the history and find the pattern. QUESTION: do you mind sharing your wall and trim brand/color? Happy Holidays!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      December 27, 2016 at 10:35 am

      That is so cool! Those stockings are classic.

      I wish I had the paint color for the wall – it was this color when we moved into the house. I did paint-match to retouch the wall, but I don’t have a name. I’ll see if I can find the paint color code. (But truthfully – I think there are better colors out there – this one is about 10 years old and I think there are current colors that are prettier. IMHO. 😉 )

      I’ll look a

  • Reply
    May 30, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    Hi, would you please share where you got the fireplace mantle surround? I absolutely love it! We are currently updating our fireplace and I’m not able to find a similar style anywhere. Appreciate it!

    • Reply
      Amy Smart
      June 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      I had it custom built by a local craftsman who is now out of business. 🙁

  • Reply
    sl50 (@fr502004)
    December 10, 2017 at 9:28 am

    What did you use to attach the stockings to the mantle?

    • Reply
      December 10, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Clear plastic Command hooks! They work so great and they’re easy to remove after the holidays.


  • Reply
    March 10, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    This makeover is fantastic; great job! Was the marble tile you chose for the hearth floor/wall tile? Have you had any problems with cracking or overheating of the tile or grout?

    • Reply
      March 12, 2018 at 11:36 am

      Thank you! I didn’t use real marble for the wall or bench tile, but it has a similar look. We haven’t had any problems with cracking or overheating the tile or grout, but we don’t use our fireplace constantly.

      • Reply
        September 22, 2018 at 9:15 am

        Hello. I have just re-done my fireplace and looking to place some stone on the top wood piece of the fireplace hearth. Everything with your fireplace is beautiful! Is your tile recessed at all or did you just put it on top of the wood hearth? I can tell there is a thin edge but not sure if the tile dropped down in?

  • Reply
    November 4, 2018 at 9:14 am

    I love the fireplace! Do you have any step by step instructions or plans on how you remodeled it?

    • Reply
      December 2, 2018 at 2:25 pm

      Following. We would like to have our carpenters recreate this look.

      • Reply
        December 3, 2018 at 4:45 pm

        Hi Kate! I responded to Annie below. I’m afraid I don’t have a lot of helpful info, other than hiring guys who knew what they were doing.

    • Reply
      December 3, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Hi Annie – I’m afraid I don’t have any plans or instructions for this mantel. I hired a carpenter to do it all. I just showed him images of looks that I really liked and and this is what he came up with, customized to our space.

      We had the stone mantel removed completely (which was a big, dusty mess), then sheetrocked and painted where the previous mantel was too wide. After the wood part was installed, I hired a tile guy to install the tile on the bench and around the fireplace itself. My husband is not a hands on DIY guy, so we just hired people who knew what they were doing to take care of it all.

  • Reply
    November 26, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    Amy our family has the same stockings started by my mother in law and now my sister in law. She makes them for each new member at a wedding or a birth! It’s a beautiful family tradition! Love your fireplace too! Nice job!

    • Reply
      November 28, 2018 at 10:00 am

      I love how many families have these same stockings!

  • Reply
    Kathryn Kibitlewski
    March 28, 2019 at 7:18 am

    Hello! I love your fireplace makeover. We are in the process of redoing ours and I have been on Pinterest a million times and keep coming back to yours. What I would like to know is where you bought the tile for the surround and bench. If you have colors or sku numbers that would be helpful. I know it has been a few years, but as I said, I keep coming back to this photo and I love it! Thanks.

    • Reply
      March 28, 2019 at 10:52 am

      I’m so glad you like it! I’m still just as happy with it as ever.

      I got both tiles at Home Depot. Sadly, I no longer have the color/sku info, but Home Depot doesn’t have a huge range of styles, so you may still find something similar.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    I love you’re fireplace. You did a beautiful job. I’m designing a fireplace for the house we are building and I’m having a hard time finding dimensions. Would you mind posting the dimensions of all the parts of your fireplace? I.e. width and height of fireplace, height, width, depth of hearth seat, width of tile, width and height of paneling to on each side of tile, etc. It would help me so much! Thank you!!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2021 at 5:24 am

    “What were they thinking?” I was an interior designer and was faced with many windows like that. Very clever idea! Years from now, someone will redeisng that fireplace again and discover the window!

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