a fireplace makeover {part one}

I’ve been holding out on you.

Last November we finally tackled our fireplace and gave it a makeover.

I completely love it.

Except like with most projects we do, indecision on the final detail set in and then life just kept going. Which brings us to today – seven months later – with a nearly completed fireplace makeover.

I was going to wait until the whole thing was finished and do a big TA DA! Before & After! but I’m thinking maybe some in-the-process photos are just as fun as the big reveal. And by posting this today, it will hopefully give me the motivation to get this last step finished so I can share the completed look {hopefully next week}.

First, let me remind you of what our fireplace has looked like for the past six years.

Except pretend the tv is not there because it only lived up there for a few months before we came to our senses and realized that it was way to huge and obnoxious to hang front and center in our main living room.

A few things about the fireplace:

It was fine.

But we never could understand the little notches on either side, or the niche in the center and we didn’t like the tile surround. The mantle was fine, maybe a little more detailed than I would choose, but it looked a bit funky with all those extra corners on the dry wall.

We brainstormed for months about what to do to make the fireplace either stand out and become the focal point of the room, or blend in and simplify things.


Finally, one day last November, with our brothers and sisters-in-laws over for a leisurely saturday afternoon, we decided on a whim to just tear the fireplace apart. Don’t worry – we had a plan – but we didn’t know until that afternoon that we were actually going to do that plan.


Down came the mantle.


Out came the tile. The guys decided it was just easier to cut the tile out and re-drywall. Pulling off the tile would have damaged the drywall so much they probably would have had to replace it anyway.


We already put the two built-ins on either side of the fireplace, and we just wanted a chunky, clean mantle to run across the fireplace visually joining all three sections together. Ryan built a simple box, then added a top piece and trimmed it out with pre-made molding.


Nothing fancy, but it gave us the substantial mantle we wanted.

Next came the kinda crazy part: we decided to wrap the top portion of the fireplace wall with cedar shingles. We were thinking we’d do wide horizontal planks, but when our friend suggested shingles, we both instantly loved the idea.  It’s totally unexpected, adds lots of texture, but still remains slightly neutral and gives us a sort of cottagy/outdoorsy look.

Random, for sure, but this room needed something interesting.

To get started, Ryan attached cedar strips of wood {lath} directly to the wall where the shingles would be nailed in.


Once those were up along one side, we couldn’t help ourselves and started nailing in a few shingles just to make sure we loved it.


{this was day two. Ryan’s brother & sister-in-law went home, my aunt & uncle came over. It was a revolving door of helpers}.

Yes! Love! So they kept going … filling in that terrible niche and wrapping the chimney with those little boards.


Later that night when family had gone home, a few neighbor friends stopped by to see the progress and we somehow talked them into helping.


These final three worked late into the evening and finished up the shingles. I’m not exactly sure what their system was, but they were quick. I think we had two compressors and two nail guns going at a time.


When we decided to go with shingles, Ryan jokingly suggested mounting an elk head and I thought it was a brilliant idea. He was so shocked, he ordered one right away before I could change my mind.


The stag head came from Restoration Hardware and is resin that looks like cast iron.


We were so excited with how it turned out.

Once the shingles were up, we had to decide what to do with the fireplace surround.

        I’ll call that Fireplace Makeover part two.  Stay tuned …

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displaying jewelry

 I was just having a conversation with my darling sister-in-law about how to navigate looking stylish when you don’t have a clue what stylish is. My best tip: throw on a piece of colorful, chunky jewelry. I’m not really sure if that qualifies as stylish, but it seems easy enough to me. As a girl who wears a whole lot of jeans + cardigans, somehow I feel a bit more put together when I slip on a necklace.

Jewelry-collecting is new to me. I don’t wear a lot and on most days all you’ll see me wearing is my wedding ring, a white watch and my favorite dainty necklace with my kids’ initials.

But with so many affordable and colorful pieces out there, it’s fun to go a little crazy every once in a while.

To store my small collection of jewels {none of them precious, by the way}, a simple linen-covered cork board does the trick. I stapled the fabric to the board, adding in upholstery tacks along the perimeter because don’t you think upholstery tacks make everything look fancier?! The necklaces are hung on t-pins purchased at the office supply store.

Bracelets and cocktail rings overflow from a vintage silver bowl.

Having the pieces out makes me excited to wear them.

And hopefully look a bit more stylish in my jeans + cardigan uniform.

Do you have a favorite way to store jewelry?

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be still {the newest print in the shop}

Some people find peace in the wilderness. Some find it running or painting or singing or while sitting in a church pew.

I find it at the sea.


It just dawned on me that three of my most favorite places are located on the edge of the ocean.

Amidst the chaos of the everyday, there is something so peaceful about sitting on the shore, watching the waves flow in and out, in and out, in and out. The vastness of the water, the mysteries it holds, the power and beauty, the way it sparkles with the sun and responds to the wind – all of it does something to my soul.


It calms me down. It makes me take a breath. It reminds me of how small I am in the big scheme of things. It kinda forces me to put things into perspective.


Most of all, I am reminded of God’s glorious faithfulness.

The one who created the waters, who holds it all together, who perfectly orchestrates the tide and sustains the underwater world, surely He is worthy of trusting.

God is our shelter and our strength.
When troubles seem near, God is nearer, and He’s ready to help.
So why run and hide?
No fear, no pacing, no biting fingernails.
When the earth spins out of control, we are sure and fearless.
When mountains crumble and the waters run wild, we are sure and fearless.
Even in heavy winds and huge waves,
or as mountains shake, we are sure and fearless.

Come, gaze, fix your eyes on what the Eternal can do.
Amazing, He has worked desolation here on this battlefield, earth.
God can stop wars anywhere in the world.
He can make scrap of all weapons: snap bows, shatter spears,
and burn shields.
“Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God”.
{psalm 46:1-3, 8-10 from The Voice bible}


I need this reminder so much. Every day, it seems.


Be still. And know.

Chill out, Emily. Calm down, take a breath, stop worrying and trying to do it yourself. Remember what He’s done for you, what He promises you, what He says about you.

Be still and know.


So until I go on the next vacation or permanently move to the ocean {wouldn’t that be lovely!} I’ll daily look at this art print and find my soul.


This new print is available now.

Click here to add one to your home.

{sign up below to be added to our email list and you will receive a discount code for 15% off your order}

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