Before and After: $700 Brings Farmhouse Style to This Mantel-less Fireplace

updated May 6, 2020
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Have you ever had a detail of your home—the kitchen cabinets, the bathroom floors, the popcorn ceiling—that you’ve hated and glared at and cursed and willed to transform, but you never quite made the fix? Meet Genie Valentine and her “huge, beige, tile-ridden fireplace.”

“When we first bought our house, I knew I had to one day update the fireplace,” Genie explains. “I started with a small update before we moved in, by spray-painting the fireplace surround black. It used to be brass! At first it was fine, and then I found myself decorating around the beige color of it. That made me resent it. After a while, it became an eye sore and I needed a change.”

After two years, Genie was finally ready to give that thing a makeover. “I wanted to make this fireplace something it wasn’t—bright!” she says. “I took my time, looking on Pinterest and at other home accounts to see what I liked and what I knew we could handle! I’ve always dreamt of a shiplap fireplace, so I decided we’d do that.”

Genie considered bringing in the pros, but in the end, she and her husband decided it would be a fun project to work on together (and a gratifying one—peace out, beige tiles!). Genie’s husband, whom she says is a planner, spent a week taking measurements and figuring out which materials they’d need. Then, over the course of two full days, they went to work, installing the shiplap, as well as the premade, pre-stained mantel that Genie spotted on Wayfair. The full cost of project materials: about $700.

“My one piece of advice is to plan!” Genie says. “Know exactly what you want to accomplish, and do your research on how and what you need to do so! This was our first big DIY, and I’m so proud of all the pre-work we did to get the outcome we now have.”

Genie is clearly thrilled with the end result, especially how “light and bright” it is (see: not beige). “The thing I love most,” she adds, “is that every time I look at it, I am reminded that we made it together! There’s nothing like that feeling of accomplishment.”