My husband, Peter, and I love our home. It’s the perfect size for our three boys and us. We live in a subdivision not far from a large city, and this set up keeps our lives simple. We are close to the grocery store, close to malls, close to an interstate, close to family, and yard work is minimal because we have little property. It’s great for our family.
Our home was built almost nine years ago, and it is a standard builder’s grade home with very little character. Peter and I both enjoy home projects, and we finished up a new fireplace right around the fourth of July. Peter built the mantle in the garage in just a couple hours. He painted the ship lap, and I drove an hour south of our home to pick up some white subway tile.
Here is our newly finished fireplace.
Peter was able to tear off the old mantle with very little damage to the wall, and the old tile came off with very little work and chipping away.
The project was going, quite unexpectedly, very quickly and as planned.
It all was going well until Peter installed the perfectly painted shiplap. I had some concerns. He used the term cottage in conversation one evening. My husband, an amazing listener, had remembered years ago that I was drawn to the cottage shabby chic type look.
Well…my tastes have changed.
Before I go on, here is the before picture. Every good update needs the before picture.
Here’s some in between work.
And here is the in between picture where I had to think long and hard about the word cottage.
Do you see the gaps in the shiplap? The inconsistencies between the boards? A bit of rustic charm, right? Some of the board were slightly bowed with noticeable imperfections. What appears minor in the picture gave our entire living room a bit of a rustic farmhouse or cottage like feel.
Unfortunately, I was not going for the rustic farmhouse nor cottage decor.
I like clean lines. Negatives space. Flawless appearance. Low volume color.
Even though we bought the $3.00 pine boards and latex paint, we really wanted the $12.00 select boards and high quality oil based paint. Down came the shiplap. We went back to the store and up went our project expenses.
If we are doing something fairly permanent, let’s do it well, right?
The mantle was installed and uninstalled three times, but the extra effort was worth it.
We replaced the ship lap, yes, but we also repainted everything multiple times. We learned that oil based paint comes in different qualities. We knew we wanted the professional or factory look finish. Nothing chippy or distressed. No brush strokes. We bought some quarts at the local chain store for about $10 each. After a few tries with drippy and ultra shiny paint, we invested in Benjamin Moore oil based paint for about $75 a gallon. Pricey but well worth it.
We had a bit of trouble finding a pure white subway tile. We looked at all the big box stores around here…Lowe’s, Menards, and Home Depot…but they all had a slightly off white subway tile. It appeared white at first look, but if you compared it to a true white, they were all a bit yellow or creamy. Beware to make sure you get what you’re wanting before installing a bunch of tile. Thankfully we noted the dull white from the big box stores and found some at a smaller outlet an hour south of our house. The grout is a standard charcoal color we bought at Lowe’s.
This is the first of a few updates for our living room, and it was a good way to set the tone for a few additional changes.
Like most places in our home, you’ll find a bit of patchwork close by. Despite enjoying muted tones and low volume colors, you’ll always find some cheer in the fabrics. I love patchwork and think it offers the best accent to any room. 🙂
It’s time to get back to sewing, my friends! We only have so much time we can dedicate to home projects when I have so much sewing to get done. 😉
If you have any additional questions about the supplies we used or how we updated the mantle, be sure to ask in the comments or send me an email!