It’s the story of our fireplace bookcase built ins! This post is long with lots of photos, if you love DIY then you will love this :). There is a mix of in progress iphone photos along with final finished product photos at the end.
From the moment I first saw the listing for our current house it was love at first sight. I remember being at a play date down the road and thinking I really liked their house so I pulled up realtor.com to see what was in the area. A beautiful listing on Bayberry Lane popped up, it had been on the market for 3 days and was beautiful. David had been advocating for a new house since our first home was pretty tiny and if we wanted to add any more babies we needed more space. I had a list a mile long of must haves. Front porch, fireplace, lots of windows, long driveway that makes people wonder what’s at the end of it, oh and the garage doors could not face the front. Yes I know that is super picky but I hate pulling up to a house and the first thing you notice is the garage. I think our realtor wanted to kill me on that one because it was a non-negotiable! This perfect house on a street with the sweetest name fit all my criteria and more!
Most important was that it was done enough to live in comfortably but not so done we couldn’t make our mark on the place. Two babies have slowed down my DIY ways but they haven’t squashed them entirely. When I saw the family room all I could think was how perfect built-ins would look surrounding the fireplace which also totally needed an upgrade.
I really kicked this project off by hitting Pinterest with a passion, I pinned any fireplace book case and built in combination I could find. I counted over 50 pins just related to fireplaces on my entire board. I looked closely at everything from how the hearth was done to where the flooring transitions were in relation to cabinets. You can check out my actual board here – The Home : Living Room. I pulled out graph paper and sketched out many many many versions of designs and finally landed on the one below! You can get an idea for what Phase 4 will be by looking at my sketch ;).
Now onto some befores! Doncha love my tape lines as I was figuring out sizing and placement of everything :). I’m pretty sure I can file this under Hot Mess! One part I did not photograph was tearing out the brick hearth, the one part of the project where we thought we might not pull this off. It did not want to come loose and we needed to make sure we didn’t damage the structure of the bricks above. Turns out they weren’t full bricks but veneers over a metal casing. David had some issues getting the metal casing cut but finally we succeeded and could move on to the floors.
Turns out laying hardwood floors isn’t so bad! Unfortunately with kids you have to stop around bedtime because swinging a hammer onto the nailer will keep waking them up! We went with a handscraped Acacia wood floor from Lumber Liquidators. Sadly we’ve only had this flooring for about 6 months and the dogs and kids have gouged it pretty good in areas. We have zero plans to re-do it so area rugs will protect it for awhile and eventually we will get it sanded and refinished again once the boys are off to college ;). It is super pretty where it isn’t scratched though! We also picked up an air compressor and nail gun for this project which I LOVE!!!! I just want to build stuff so I can use them over and over again!
I’m not sure there is any tile more beautiful than 18×18 marble, it makes my heart flutter! We got all our tile from a local store called the Tile Shop. I was picky in that I wanted 3 full tiles and then we cut the ends shorter to fit the space. You can see a large gap where we didn’t put any tile because I knew it would be covered by the fireplace surround. We beefed up the fireplace by extending it around 8″ on each side with columns.
Next came planning for the tile surround and figuring out cuts. We rented a tile saw for a day and I wanted to make sure we knew what to cut to get started quickly. We opted for 12×12 sheets of smaller subway style tile because it seemed much easier to me to layout a 12×12 sheet vs 15 individual tiles. I relied heavily on Young House Love’s post on redoing their fireplace! God I miss them, am I the only one that felt like a family member died when they closed up shop. I mean I get it, I have two young kids so I totally get it but I miss them!!!
As you can see in the photos below we really made the fireplace stand out more and magically shrunk our television! I find this ironic because we just got this tv about a year ago and kept saying how massive it was when we installed it and now it looks small. The beefed up mantel meant I could decorate for Christmas this year! The previous one was way too narrow to fit anything.
A little during shots as it all came together. You can see the lattice trim I added before painting to beef up the look of the bookcases. I got that idea from Centsational Girl – Billy Bookcases! My local store didn’t have as wide of lattice as she used but it still worked fine. You can really see how the cabinets were just plain boxes until I fancied them up with trim!
Finally here is the final product! I painted the backs with a dark navy blue color that was similar to Stunning from Benjamin Moore.
Here is a peek at another living room project we have going on. It’s not completely finished yet but I’m already so happy with what it represents for us! The boys will stand on the chair and point to the photos and talk about the boat, I love it!
Melissa Arlena Photography is an award winning wedding, newborn, maternity, anniversary, engagement, lifestyle and family photographer in Fredericksburg, Virginia and surrounding areas. Ready to book your session? Contact me now for more information!