Our Living Room Fireplace Through The Years — From The Beginning To Present

If you’re new here, and you haven’t taken a close look at our living room fireplace, you may not realize that the fireplace is fake with an electric insert. From the first moment I saw this room before we bought the house, I knew I wanted a fireplace in the room. And I also knew that it didn’t need to be real. I just wanted the pretty architectural detail of a fireplace.

So a few months after buying the house, I built a fake fireplace to go in the room. But if you compare how it looked originally to how it looks now, it almost looks like a completely different fireplace…and a completely different room. I had forgotten just how drastically it had changed until I was looking through some old pictures last night, so I thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane and remember just how far this fireplace has come.

But let’s start with the prettiest view, which is the current view. Here’s how it looks as of this morning. I still need to decide exactly what I want to display on the mantel. That vase is a temporary place holder.

fireplace 2-3-21 - resized

So if we go way back to the very beginning when we bought the house, you can see that there is no fireplace between those two windows. There was also no doorway into the kitchen on that left wall, but that’s a story for another day.

Living room with original hardwood floors covered with carpet

That space between the windows seemed like a perfect place for a fireplace to me. So in early 2014, I bought some MDF and trim, came up with a design, and after a few days of work, this was the first iteration of the living room fireplace.

That project was pretty involved, and I broke it down into several posts. You can find those posts here…

The original fireplace was decidedly more craftsman in style, and the tile was dark and busy. I was also hesitant to install tile directly to the hardwood floor to create the look of a hearth (I’m a lot more daring in my DIY projects now than I was then), so I put the tile on a piece of 1/2-inch MDF. I never did like the look of that hearth. It seemed too high and too bulky.

When I originally built the fireplace, the living room still had the original front windows, one original side window (to the right of the fireplace) that had a window unit air conditioner, and an aluminum window to the left of the fireplace. And the ceiling was still covered in the polystyrene tiles.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that the fireplace was a much too craftsman in style for my taste, so with the addition of some trim and a little paint on the tiles, I gave it a much more traditional look.

You can find those details here…

The look of the fireplace changed pretty drastically when I was finally able to build the overmantel.

That had been the plan from the beginning, but I couldn’t build that part of the fireplace until the original polystyrene tile ceiling had been removed and the room had new drywall. Once the new drywall was in, I could finally finish the fireplace to the ceiling and add the rest of the crown molding and trim.

You can find that project here…

Once the whole fireplace build and all of the trim was finished, it was just a matter of finding the right color for the fireplace. I struggled more with this room than with any other room I’ve ever decorated in my entire life. So it took a long time for me to finally find the right combo of colors and decor. It was a very long road with lots of missteps that included this awful light gray…

Followed by this dark gray that I thought was really pretty, but it didn’t make the final cut.

And finally, its current teal color with a new and improved tile surround and hearth tiles installed directly on the hardwood floor so that it has a much lower profile.

This little fake fireplace has been through quite a transformation over the years. I was very proud of the original design, and the fact that I built the fireplace myself…

fireplace - original

But I’m so glad that I kept on adding and tweaking until I got it just right. The current iteration is so much more fitting to my style and to the room, in my humble opinion.

fireplace 2-3-21 - resized
fireplace original and current



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  1. The fireplace is looking fantastic now! The additional inset mouldings added so much to the lower half. And the added upper portion gives your room height. My ceilings are also 8 feet, and we have done a similar treatment. Between hanging drapery just below the ceiling, and the over-mantle, it looks so much higher. Love it!

  2. WOW – I guess this was before I “found” you – what a transformation from the beginning!
    I too am planing a fireplace soon – fake is fine – I just love the look, and the light/warmth of it.
    You have done an awesome job with this…I love it!

  3. Every time you posted a picture I would think to myself “it’s perfect”…..and yet, every time you changed it, you made it even more perfect. Absolutely loved each stage. Such beautiful work Kristi!

  4. I love this whole room and especially the fireplace. I grimaced at some of the things you did with it but I can genuinely say I love this one now. I also think that vase is perfect just as is.

  5. I’ve been following you for a long time so i remember the first iterations, but gosh! what a journey to this fabulous room! You’ve got stick-to-it-tiveness, and now it looks just right! You go, Kristi!

    1. I’ve followed you since right after you bought this house. I love watching the progress. The fireplace is beautiful, but the teal, purple and pink in this room is so pretty! The before picture and the now picture is unbelievable! Love it❤️

  6. What a transformation! Love the artwork you have up above the mantel. I think it really takes everything up a notch!
    PS–Haven’t seen any photos of Cooper in a while, hope everything is OK on the doggie front 🙂

  7. I have the hardest time redoing something I’ve finished. So you are BRAVE and so good at it! I don’t remember the official installation of the fireplace, but I’ve been here ever since! I’ve enjoyed your blog over the many years.

  8. Well, that was fun! I have been through all of these transformations through the years, but it’s really fun to look at the transformation, It’s just so beautiful!

  9. So glad you are back! I enjoy getting your emails and updates. You are such a talented lady so I share “what Kristi did today” with my husband!

  10. The original was very sweet and it did fit with your room at the time. I didn’t remember that you had changed the color so many times but that is what progress is all about, right? I did like the dark grey color and love the current color best. Ahhhhh, everyone loves a trip down memory lane. Thanks

  11. I am like Linda, every time a new post arrives I can’t wait to review. What I love most about your design style is every room has it own distinct style which to me creates a lot of interest in a home.

  12. I have been following you for several years now. I am always anxious to see what you have come up with. Love the fireplace and the color of it. The artwork is awesome.

  13. This post was perfect, focusing upon the changes you have made to just a single feature makes me appreciate the finished (?) product even more.

  14. This look back made me realize I’ve been following your blog since roughly 2014! The house we owned had a fireplace sitting between two windows just like yours and I believe I pinned one of your images as inspiration because I liked the roman shades. I eventually dug into your archives and loved your detailed tutorials, and have been following along ever since! I don’t think I’ve ever commented, but this felt like a good time to say thanks for all the inspiration and how-tos. I’ve really enjoyed seeing this room, and the rest of your home, evolve.

  15. I rarely comment, but always love your posts. You are so talented and creative. I love the way you tackle your projects and are able to change direction midstream. But what makes me happiest is your use of color!!! I have seen so many trends come and go and really dislike the greige trend of the last decade. It is refreshing to see you use color so well and with such daring!!!

  16. I’ve been following you since a little before you bought this house (didn’t realize it had been that many years!!!) and I agree with what other commenters have said above. Every time you make a change, I think it’s so creative and lovely … and then you come up with another amazing idea, and another, and another. I am so thankful you share your gifts and talents with us this way. (And of course- this current version looks gorgeous!) 🙂