The Gameplan for our DIY Fireplace Makeover

Our fireplace area is one I rarely show here on the blog. And that’s because it’s an incredibly tricky spot to photograph with the large windows right behind it. Oh, and it’s also pretty ugly. So maybe that’s the REAL reason I never want to show it.

But instead, I’ll blame the windows.

Our Fireplace – BeforeOur fireplace before the makeover

Here it is in all its glory.

You’ve got the black granite that matches the countertops in our kitchen. It’s super shiny and has sparkles in it. Eek, not my favorite. The other weird part is the strange angle above the fireplace. We live in a building with 3 levels and our upstairs neighbors have a fireplace above us…but a bit to the right. This flue connects to their fireplace, hence the weird angle.Fireplace with weird angle from flue

I showed you guys our fireplace on Insta Stories one day a while back and so many of you suggested squaring off the wall to make it a straight line. While that could definitely work, it would close in on the doorway which is the main entry point to our home. I don’t want it to feel boxed in right when you walk into our place, so I think the strange angle is here to stay.Black granite fireplace before

Instead, I want to focus on the cosmetics of this area with a little DIY fireplace makeover.

DIY Fireplace Planspray paint inside of fireplace black

The only thing we’ve ever really done to the fireplace is spray paint the inside of it black so it looked less dirty. I’m so happy we did that super quick DIY project and I’d highly recommend it to anyone! Other than that, it hasn’t been touched since the day we moved in.

As you guys know, we’re looking to move so I wasn’t sure if we would get to this project before we listed our house. But the market has been super slow and I figured why not finish off one more DIY project before we leave? Finn and I have been itching for a good project ever since we finished up our guest bathroom. And compared to that huuuuuuuge undertaking, this seems like a piece of cake. But you never know what will happen with a DIY project until you get going, so I may be eating my words!Our DIY Fireplace plan

But because we are selling, I don’t want to do anything too crazy with the design. I have been drawn to fun patterned tiles lately (love this one!), however, I think we’ll have to save those for our next house. For this DIY project, we’re attempting to appeal to the masses with a bright & clean look. And we also want to keep the installation as easy as possible on ourselves (after the tile fiasco in our bathroom, I owe it to Finn!).

Fireplace Inspiration

Marble and craftsman style fireplace

Photo via Philip Miller Furniture

Because we have Craftsman style elements in the rest of our home, I want to add some of that style woodworking to the fireplace. I love the woodworking in this DIY fireplace from Philip Miller Furniture. He even provides a great building plan that we’re planning to modify for our own space.

Of course, the top of our fireplace won’t be the same since we do have the angle and the ledge near the door. I’m not totally sure what we’ll do for that…maybe woodworking on top. Maybe more stone? We’ll see what happens once we get rolling.

Photo via Young House Love

I also love this budget-friendly fireplace makeover from Young House Love. It reminds me a bit more of our setup, especially with the tile going onto the floor like that and the wood wrapping around the side.

Choosing Fireplace Tile

Marble and shiplap fireplace

As I mentioned before, we want a clean and bright look that won’t scare away buyers. My mom’s fireplace makeover provides great inspiration. She ended up doing long subway tile pieces in marble for a light and fresh look.

Finn and I hit up Floor & Decor a few Saturdays ago and browsed their crazy huge selection of tile. We were really loving some of the small patterns they sell and had our eyes on this one and this one. Then we reminded ourselves that we need to get this project done quickly AND it needs to be a choice that most buyers will love.

Marble subway tile from floor and decor

That’s how we ended up with this marble subway tile. Since we didn’t need to buy very much, we were okay spending a bit more to get marble. Plus, we are already pros at installing subway tile so we figure this should make for a quick and painless tiling job. Marble subway tile for fireplace makeoverWe do love the idea of doing a herringbone pattern on the floor (kinda like how John & Sherry did it with their fireplace), so maybe we’ll get a little creative with how we lay it.

DIY Fireplace Plan – What Now?DIY fireplace plan for makeover

We were able to get the demo and tiling done in February (thanks for following along on Insta Stories!), so next Tuesday I’m planning to share the details on demo and prepping for tile.

The week after that, I’ll share details on tiling (along with plenty of tips).  Finally,  it’s time for woodworking…which, to me, is the most intimidating part of this entire project. While I’ve done lots of board and batten and trim work, I haven’t done a woodworking project of this size. I’m excited to have my math genius of a husband helping me out because figuring out the measurements and angles sounds way over my head!

Can’t wait to share more next week…


Fireplace Makeover Posts

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.