It has been a hot minute since I have updated our blog, despite my best intentions. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought to myself, “I should write a post about this project Mike and I have been working on,” but then get sidetracked in the hustle and bustle of life.
Back in March (wow! how has it been 4 months already?!?) I shared our mudroom makeover (which I still love so much) and lo and behold it evolved into a living room make-over!
So, some background…. I listed my house for sell about 3 years ago, although fortunately or unfortunately for me, it did not sell. The market quite simply was not as blazing hot as it seems to be right now where houses sell sight unseen and often for thousands above asking price, but I digress. While my house was on the market, I received feedback from a few buyers that they thought the “layout” of my living room and kitchen was a little tight for a house the size of mine, in my neighborhood, etc. This feedback did not surprise me one bit, and I spent days (weeks) dreaming up ways to make my living room and kitchen feel more spacious.
The main problem with my living room actually wasn’t the actual size of the room, it is after all 15’ x 18’, but rather the placement of the fireplace in the living room. The fireplace, which I loved (building the mantle up to the ceiling was actually my first project in the house), was placed dead center along the longer wall of the living room. As the fireplace is the focal point of the room, I obviously tried to arrange my furniture around it, but this left the space feeling tight due to the natural hallway that connects the living room to the foyer and the kitchen. I roughly had an 11’ x 11’ square in front of my fireplace to arrange my furniture and considering almost any couch is about 30” – 36” deep the furniture ended up feeling very close to the fireplace.
Since I knew the problem was the fireplace location, I began thinking up ways to literally move the fireplace to the adjacent wall. I became a little obsessed with the idea…. I spent weeks looking for a fireplace that would meet the following criteria:
- A slim profile and not protrude more than 15” into my living space
- Have a gas hookup (as I am not a fan of electric fireplaces)
- Look like it belonged in the house
- Must be ventless
- Preferably not break the bank
It turned out what I was looking for practically didn’t exist; after weeks of looking, I paused my search and my dream of relocating the fireplace. Fast forward 2 years to the midst of our mudroom makeover, I reminded Mike once again of my desire to relocate the fireplace and on a whim I started searching again for a fireplace that would fit the bill.
Only this time, I actually found something that would work! And when I found it, Mike didn’t object to me buying it despite being already knee deep in a renovation (I love this guy)!
I ordered an Empire Boulevard 36” Vent Free Linear Fireplace from Fine’s Gas, and it met all (ok, most) of my criteria:
- A slim profile (our finished mantle only protrudes 11” into the room)
- Its gas powered
- It looks like it has always been in the house – and I especially love the bit of sparkle the glass pebbles provide
- Its vent less which means it did not have to be placed along an exterior wall
- Ok, it wasn’t especially budget friendly, but a splurge is worth if for the right piece, right?
Despite being mid mud-room renovation when I ordered it, and when the new fireplace arrived, Mike and I wasted no time prepping for install (because who doesn’t want two major projects taking place at the same time!?!).
We first determined the correct placement of the fireplace on the 15’ living room wall, centered below the center square in our coffered ceiling, and then demoed the existing drywall. Mike framed out the new wall/fireplace hole per the vendor specifications and then we started the process of moving the gas line from the existing fireplace that we had to the new location on the other side of the room. Fortunately for us our gas line was easily accessible in our crawl space and was done with flexible gas line as opposed to a rigid piping. Mike did some minor electrical work to provide electricity to the starter and we were set.
Because I loved our previous fireplace so much, we decided we were going to attempt to recreate the previous blue floor-to-ceiling mantle with a few small modifications. I found this photo on pinterest of a vintage fireplace mantle and I fell in love with the fluting along the front – fortunately so did Mike.
We spend the next few days cutting molding, wood filling and caulking holes, and then painted the entire fireplace a beautiful deep blue. Once the paint was dry, the next step was filing the cement board surround around the fireplace opening. I found a beautiful mother of pearl subway tile and I installed it using Musselbound tile adhesive mat – seriously the easiest tile job I have ever done!
All in all, I am absolutely thrilled with how the movement of the fireplace from one wall to another completely opened up my living room and makes it feel so much more spacious! We ordered a new sectional (which unfortunately has only half arrived) and I cannot wait until our room is complete.