Fireplace Upgrade..and Some Surprises

The last time my husband and I updated our fireplace was last year when we were living in our townhome. We gave that fireplace a facelift with some fresh tile, paint and a new marble hearth. We were only able to enjoy it for a couple of months before renting to our tenants but I still love the way it came out! You can read about that DIY Project Here.

The fireplace in our current home is much different. It’s covered in brick, much larger and is used for real fires instead of gas. (One day randomly, a women who used to live in our home when she was 4 years old dropped by and told me the story about how her dad built the house and fireplace. She said the fireplace looked similar to how she remembered it over 60 years ago!) I know this meant it needed a bit of an upgrade. 😊 We wanted to keep this project as inexpensive as possible since we had (still have actually) many other projects to complete throughout the house.

This fireplace had an electrical insert when we first moved in. But we love the coziness of real fires so we removed the insert and got a grate before remodeling.

A quick paint job, an updated mantel and some decor items was what I was envisioning. But there was a little more to this project than just that. We bought our house knowing there was a leak in the fireplace/chimney and had that fixed right away. But what we didn’t know was that the leak had been there for years and years causing moisture ants to take up residence behind the wall.

Luckily we discovered the ants because my husband wanted to add an outlet above the fireplace for our TV which meant removing the drywall and rewiring the electrical outlet close by. When he removed the drywall, we discovered the most disgusting amount of ants hidden behind the wall where the leak used to be (way more than in the photo even!). He used a shock vac to vacuum all the ants up and then we left the drywall off for a couple of days to ensure everything was completely dry and no longer leaking.

Yikes! After that mess my husband added an electrical outlet to the center of the wall, added new drywall, learned how to do knockdown texture and then painted everything. He is incredible! From there him and my father-in-law used pine boards to extend the mantel, taking inspiration from this blog to make it look a bit more modern. I found these Wood Sheets on Amazon which we used to cover the seams on the ends for a perfect match.

We added some Wall Sconces and Puck Lights, found this Crate&Barrel Fireplace Screen on Offer Up for 50 bucks! and added some decor items that we had stuck in boxes from the past couple of months. And here is our fireplace now.

Clean, fresh, updated and most importantly….ANT FREE (And our pup Edgar loves it too)!

Townhouse Makeover

And just like that..it’s 2021! Wow, what a year 2020 was. To me, this past year flew by because many of my memories blend together (staying home each day, teaching online, Zoom meetings, lots of Netflix shows, more Zoom meetings, walks with my pup, mixed in with a couple of weekend trips with my close friends). And although it was definitely challenging, I still have many positive moments and experiences from 2020 to reflect back on. One significant event that stands out is we bought a house in November!

My husband Tommy and I have lived in our current neighborhood the past 5 years. We have loved the location so much that we decided to buy a little fixer upper right down the street (I literally walked to the open house). Throughout those 5 years, we made small changes to our townhouse to make it feel more like us. We began to realize just how much we love DIY projects and decided we wanted to take on more! But before we could begin any new project in our new home, we had to get our townhouse ready to be rented out. This made for a couple of insane weeks. Packing, moving, painting, cleaning, townhouse tours, tenant screening…all while having just one week to get our new home painted and livable. I blinked and somehow we did it.

But anyway, with this blog post I wanted to put together a list of everything we did in our townhouse to look back and reflect on. Many of the DIY projects were very simple but I think made a big difference. A little paint goes a long way! If you are thinking about tackling your first DIY home project, maybe this list will give you some inspiration.

  • Painted kitchen cabinets, extended to ceiling with crown molding and added hardware
  • Installed Faux Shiplap Wall
  • Painted all the orange trim white
  • Changed wall color (and added an accent wall)
  • Took out carpet and installed Luxury Vinyl Plank
  • Updated Fireplace with tile and new hearth
  • Remodeled Powder Room with tile and new vanity
  • Replaced interior builder grade doors with shaker style doors
  • Painted front door and railing
  • Replaced light fixtures in dining and living room
  • Installed dimmer switches on all outlets
  • Added weather tech floor to garage stairs

Here are some before photos from when we first bought our townhouse in 2015 (I only have a couple from the listing) and some after photos from when we rented it out in December 2020.

We had many amazing years in our townhouse but we are so excited to take on more advanced DIY projects in our new home this upcoming year! Stay tuned. 😀

DIY Living Room Makeover

Over the summer something very exciting happened, my mom became a homeowner! She has been living in her townhouse the past 6 years and decided she was ready to invest in some property and have a place for herself that she can truly call home. In June she asked her landlord if he would be willing to sell her the property and the next thing she knows it’s officially hers!

Since the transition happened over the summer during quarantine, it was the perfect time to take on a new DIY project and upgrade my moms space. We didn’t do too much. In fact, the only things we did were:

  • New floors and baseboard
  • Painted all walls and ceiling
  • New light fixtures
  • Upgraded and rearranged furniture

It’s incredible what new floors and a little paint can do. My mom gave me free rein and told me she trusted me to pick out everything so this made the project even more fun!

There was this awkward trim that ran all along the downstairs walls and this was the first thing to go (it was nailed in the middle and basically cut the walls in half). The walls were covered in a shiny bright white paint so we went with all new paint throughout. We used Sherwin Williams Eider White in flat for the all over color and Sherwin Williams Slate Tile in flat for the accent wall.

Side note: Make sure you double check your paint and get the correct finish! We order another gallon of the Eider White, used it for touch ups and then I noticed something just didn’t look right. Well the galloon was in a satin finish instead of a flat! So there were these random shiny patches throughout. 😂 We ended up having to repaint over the shiny areas. Again, always double check so you don’t make the same mistake.

For the floors we decided on Lifeproof Luxury Vinyl Plank in Fresh Oak. I used this same product in our home (just in a darker color) so it was easy for my husband and my dad to install them at my moms place.

Then it was time for the most fun part, decorating! My mom and I mostly used Wayfair for larger pieces and then got a lot of the little things from places like Target, Ikea, Home Goods, etc. We are both extremely indecisive (I can’t even tell you how long it took us to pick out that credenza lol) but this just meant spending more time together until my mom found everything she loved. We had so much fun shopping and working on this project together.

I am so incredibly proud of my mom and proud of how hard she worked to get to this place of owning and remodeling her home! (Also real estate in and around the Seattle, WA area is no joke). She is absolutely amazing and proves it’s never too late to accomplish your goals and dreams.