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Updating our hideous 90s fireplace literally top to bottom

So our fireplace when we moved in was all honey oak and nude tile with dark grout and brass. It did have impressive ridges and intricacies but was definitely not the jive we were going for when the new wall paint went up.

Fireplaces are hard. You must look into the safety specifications for your state or it'll need to be redone when you try to move. Also, remember we were merely two newlyweds with a can-do attitude and no professional idea as to what we were doing most the time. 

The best part was the demo, which I got to enjoy on my own on an off-day from work. I ended up keeping the base of the mantle up instead of tearing it down because it was way easier and all we had to do was cover it with new wood. Otherwise, all that intriguing trim work and molding came down.

I started with taping off and spray painting all the brass and inside the firebox with an easy heat-resistant spray paint made for grills. This included scrubbing the inside of the chimney several times and taping off around the brasswork. It resulted in a very clean look that I love.

We then worked on the hearth for a few days. I don't think a fireplace is complete without a hearth--a cozy spot to cuddle up next to the fire with an unnecessary blanket. That's where you'll find my sister most winter nights, at any house. 

We built a frame on top of the tiled foot that was already there. That would hold up several layers of cement board, then built a frame on top of it that would enclose the new tile. This took a bit of brain power because according to fireplace safety standards, there couldn't be anything flamable within 8 inches of the firebox.

We opted to tile over the existing tile because, quite frankly, tiling is not our strongsuit and we didn't want to deal with removing the old. It worked out fine though, although tiling up n down a wall is weird, since we had to kind of prop it up overnight. 

You'd think the hearth and tile would be the hard part, and thinking-wise it was. But then I got the brilliant idea to create a wooden chimney whose design mimicked our accent wall on the opposite side of the room (see the link "Divorce-Maker Wall below).

It was just a lot of work, like the Divorce-Maker Wall was. Screwing in heavy boards atop a ladder in a speciic design ain't easy but worth it in the end. After that, it was paint and putting up the perfect length of leftover barnwood from the Divorce-Maker Wall for the mantle and, boom!

We now enjoy an impressive conversation-starter. The Christmas stockings are so happy to be hung there during the holiday and the hearth comes in handy for marshmallow-roasting!