{Before & After} The Fireplace

A small reno can make a big difference.

Our fireplace is proof of that little fact.

Back in August. Yes, August. We worked on a little guest bathroom project. And, just like when a mouse eats a cookie, while we had our tile gal here, we decided to have her reface the fireplace, as well.

When we moved into the house. This is what greeted us as the hearth of the home.

fireplace, before, blog_01

It wasn’t horrible, but it certainly didn’t scream “welcome to our home” and it lacked some major personality. The lovely homeowners before us (and I’m sure they were) installed white carpet and painted every wall in the house bright white. Y’all should hear me say “bright white” in person, it sounds soooo much better.

But for four years we spent time at Dell Children’s and updating the fireplace fell to the very bottom of every list. After Luke’s seventh surgery we decided to do a little celebration and put the final touches on our living room (look for that before and after in a few weeks).

We went from plain, very boring and zero personality, to this.

fireplace, after, blog_007

Some evenings you can find Scott and I sitting in the living room staring at a wall. Because we’re crazy fun like that.

That small snapshot of travertine is the only amount I’ll ever be able to afford, and the glass tile we love. The original pick was a little more neutral, but I don’t really do neutral. After some “negotiating” with Scott, I finally convinced him to take the leap and use the one with bits of red. We went back and forth on painting the wood surrounded the fireplace, but ultimately decided to just leave it be. And, Scott added the gas logs which we totally loved when Texas had its cold snap a couple of weeks ago. Is it sad to admit we sometimes fire it up when it’s only 55 outside? No. No, it’s not.

fireplace, after, blog_009

To be fair, I was nervous about that glass tile, too. I can totally admit that after it turned out better than expected, right?

fireplace, after, blog_011

Here’s one last look at the transformation from {yawn} to {love!}


For more home renovations, click on over to the Before & After page!


  1. Abbey on January 16, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Catherine, can you show and tell us about the picture above the mantel?!

    • Kathryn on January 16, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Abbey, that story is coming soon. It’s my favorite piece of art in the house!

  2. Nicole on January 16, 2014 at 9:13 am

    @Abbey – I wanted to know more about that picture too. Hopefully in the full room reveal we get more 🙂

    And I love the transformation! The glass tile is so pretty, and it plays off the travertine quite nicely. I can totally relate to just looking at it. Beautiful!

  3. Beth (A Mom's Life) on January 16, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Love it! Our current surround looks a lot like your old one and it leaves a lot to be desired. You’ve got me thinking that a small reno might be in order! Convincing my husband would be the hard part!

  4. Amanda on January 16, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Beautiful! I am currently trying to convince my husband to put the old fashioned tin type backsplash in my kitchen. We shall see. Fingers crossed!

  5. Bonnie on January 16, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    WOW, K! What a difference!

  6. Shandra on January 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    How beautiful! Our surround looks exactly like your old one. I would love to have ours updated too….would be so fun. Y’all have wonderful taste!

  7. Deborah on January 18, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Would you mind sharing who installed the stone work? They did a great job!

    • Kathryn on January 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      Not at all – Mallory was awesome. Affordable, meticulous and flexible on her schedule. Check your email for her contact info! Just emailed it to you.

  8. Aileen on January 18, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I love the *after*! Great transformation. It certainly isn’t boring any longer! Its got color, detail and interesting art.

  9. {Before & After} The Family Room on February 6, 2014 at 7:31 am

    […] I shared our fireplace reno, several of you asked about “the artwork.” Here’s your Paul Harvey rest of the […]

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