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Fireplace Remodels

Kim and I both live in the same neighborhood where the houses were all built in the 80’s. This meant both our homes had original red brick fireplaces that needed major overhaul. We each just completed our fireplace remodels and did them separate ways. We are so happy with the way they turned out and for the most part they were simple projects.

Renee’s Fireplace:

The original fireplace to my home looked something like this:

However when I bought my home this past summer the past owners had taken the brick down and replaced it with a brown fake marble tile:

This was definitely not my style and not the type of look I had in mind for my fireplace. I searched all over Instagram and Pinterest trying to decide the type of look I was going for. I really wanted a simple white mantel and some sort of gray tile for the surround. The picture below was what I was envisioning.

The biggest problem I ran into in this design was my window directly next to the fireplace. It left me no room for the beautiful pillars on the side and the mantle surround. The design I had planned simply wouldn’t work for my space. So it was back to the design drawing board. I also liked stone fireplaces and my husband pushed for stone as well. I had to find a mantle that could be a custom size and stone that would compliment my neutral decor choices. 

As I have said from a previous blog post, I love the Shanty-2-Chic sisters. We used their plans for our kitchen bench and I’ve seen their floating shelves used in so many other ways. We decided we would build a large floating shelf using their plans for our mantle. It was a fairly easy project and my husband had it done in a day. We stained the wood in Briarsmoke by Varathane and hung the mantle up. 

Next came the stone and the vast number of choices I had to choose from. We started our search at a local stone  supply store. They had tons of options and the one I liked the best had a 6 month lead time!! No way was I waiting 6 months to get stone in. We went to Lowe’s and I found a white stone in the back splash aisle. I liked this particular stone because it had hints of gray and pretty sparkles. We started the install from the ground up.

In all, the stone took about a day to install. It was a fairly easy project even if you don’t have experience laying tile. We are so happy with the outcome and love the finished product:

Kim’s Fireplace:

Kim had an original red brick fireplace and wood mantle in her home. She also had 3 different types of flooring choices in the same room.

Kim began a major overhaul of her kitchen and dining room this summer. They removed a wall separating their dining room from their kitchen and laid a beautiful wood-look tile throughout their room. The original fireplace was placed directly in the center of both the dining room and the living room.  The fireplace opening faced the dining room, which seemed odd considering most people like to cozy up on the couch near a fire. Originally they hadn’t planned on doing such an extensive remodel of the fireplace, but good thing they did because it’s spectacular and much more functional. Kim’s husband convinced her to do a “peek-through” style fireplace, which would make the fireplace now visible from both rooms. With a small amount of wood framework and beam reinforcement, they restructured the face of the fireplace, cut the opening, and reinforced it with beams to prevent any structure issues.  

The fireplace vent was completely removed and they decided to do an ethanol burner instead of the typical gas fireplace. Ethanol burners are clean burning and do not require the use of a traditional chimney or ventilation.  They had white quartz installed around the opening and the hearth. Kim and her husband also debated between using stone to finish the project or doing something different. They even ordered four boxes of stone which they later returned! They ended up buying Stikwood ( and installing it from top to bottom. Installation was really easy to both cut and install since it has stickers on the back that attach easily to any surface. The adhesive is guaranteed for 10 years! The finished product is absolutely beautiful and truly makes this room standout from an ordinary fireplace.

There you have it, our fireplaces done two ways. Both different and unique to our homes and styles. We hope you enjoyed and if you have any questions or comments let us know!

Thanksgiving Tablescape

This fall we decided to do a complete Thanksgiving table to help people find inspiration for a simple, yet beautiful way to decorate.  When we began our search for our own inspiration, it was hard not to get wrapped up in all the new things stores were putting on display.  How do you keep up with the trends without spending a ton of money? The answer is….you don’t.  If you have enough money to buy new stuff every year, then I say more power to you, but if you are like us and don’t have a money tree in your backyard, then you have to find ways to be creative.  

First we had to decide our color scheme.  Fall is always so full of different colors, it’s near impossible to incorporate them all.  So we didn’t! We used a simple palette with white dinnerware, black and white napkins,  gold AND copper decorative accents. Yes, we used both! Gold is so classic and timeless; it will never become obsolete in the decor world. Copper, however, is the new trend.  Will it last? Hard to say, but our bet is you won’t see it around forever.  But for now, we are LOVING it.  

White dinnerware, Black & White napkins, Copper accented flatware, Copper leaf accent on pumpkin

The entire table was set using these place settings pictured above as well as a floral arrangement that incorporated some of the normal fall colors.  We used a florist our floral arrangement, however, you can make your own or find a faux floral arrangement that suits your style and taste.  The decorative pieces including a glass pumpkin from Pottery Barn which was one of our personal favorites from their fall collection.  We also used both their gold rimmed flutes and gold rimmed hurricane candle holders with their Premium Flicker Flameless Birch Candles. The copper accents were hammered copper tea light candle holders from Anthropologie, leaf accent on the pumpkin from Paper Source and the copper handled flatware from Pottery Barn.  Subtle displays of both made for the best combination.  We can’t forget the amazing coconut twig placemats from Cost Plus World Market.  We used these in place of traditional wood slice chargers.  We felt this brought in some of that earthiness without using something we have already seen time and time again.  

But what is Thanksgiving without dessert?! Obviously can’t be real without some sweet treats to share with all our out-of-town guests. So naturally we had to style a dessert buffet which incorporated some of our favorite fall flavors: apple and pumpkin. YUM!  As much as we would like to take credit for these delectable little treats, a HUGE thank you A Nouveau for making the tastiest and most beautiful desserts.  As you can see not much work had to come from us as they are already so beautiful.  

Brown cake styled with some fall florals.

Pumpkin Mousse with Sugar Cranberry and mint

We had so much fun doing this stylized shoot, we hope that you walked away with some inspiration for your Thanksgiving table.  Stay tuned for our TWO Christmas tablescapes that will incorporate some of the pieces from Thanksgiving! That’s right, how to reuse some of your decor for multiple holidays! 

Sources: BEST Photography EVER: Kimberlee Miller Photography, Dinnerware, Flatware, Flutes, Hurricane candle holders, Birch Candles: Pottery Barn, Black and White Napkins: Williams-Sonoma, Coconut Twig Placemats: Cost Plus World Market, Hammered Copper Tea Light Candle Holder: Anthropologie,  Gold Leaf accent: Paper Source, Free Leaf printable: Ella Claire Blog, Amazing Fall Floral Arrangement: Bell of the Ball Designs, Table and Venue: Maravilla Gardens, Desserts: A-Nouveau. 

The Mom-Made Market

Both Renee and I like to seek out events we can shop local and hand-made items, bonus is when it’s moms like ourselves.  The Mom-Made Market in Santa Barbara did just that.  Roughly 70 vendors came together at the Impact Hub on State Street.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with State Street in Santa Barbara, it is one place you should put on your vacation wish list.   The weather is almost always perfect, never too hot and never too cold, much like Saturday while we were there,  a perfect 75 degrees.  Beyond the weather, the atmosphere is so eclectic: people are there from all over, including the locals, and the shops range from clothing to bohemian furniture.  Swanky restaurants flood the area and high end retailers such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue also have a place here.  

But back to The Mom-Made Market, although it wasn’t particularly decor focused, it was a great way to discover the talent in our community.  To start, I picked up two great items for my daughter.  The first item was a small glass container of “fairy dust”.  Now I know if I had some of this when I was a little girl, I would have been floored! FAIRY DUST, who doesn’t need some of that? So it should come to no surprise that when the sweetest little girl told me she hand filled each vile herself and was selling them for $5 to pay for something she wanted, I couldn’t pass.  Second was a beautiful hat.  For those of you that have little girls, you know what a difficulty it is to find hats that suit “girly-ness”.  This hat from Brightside Blooms is a home run with it’s stunning floral print and heathered gray bill.  

Follow @brightsideblooms on Instagram or check out their website

For myself, I walked away with a yummy soy candle made by Lavender Apothecary.  The scent is Pumpkin Cinnamon Vanilla which is appropriate for the season, not to mention it makes my house smell like I am an award-winning pastry chef.  YUM

Small jar soy candle from @lavendarapothecary

It only felt appropriate to save our favorite for last.  This most charming shop embodies everything we love about home decorating, The Walt House. This mom was free-hand writing gorgeous calligraphy (some even on the spot) on world maps, globes, and clocks.  Renee walked away with a world map that read “Believe there is good in the world” and the BEST part, “be the good” from letters in each word was highlighted in a different color.  Not only an empowering message but a message you can hang in your home! 

If you have never had the opportunity to check out The Mom-Made Market follow them @themommademarket to find out where they will be next.  Be sure to get there early so you can score one these awesome totes! 

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