Before and After: A Southwestern-Style Living Room Redo Lovingly Restores a Cracked Fireplace

published May 2, 2022
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About this before & after
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Before: white fireplace next to white wall

Natural light and historic details are two major selling features of homes, and they certainly were for Lara Parra (@thelittlepinkadobe) when she bought her charming New Mexico abode.

“The living room and its gorgeous, afternoon New Mexico light sold me on this house,” Lara says. “You can see fiery sunsets from the living room and dining room.” She also loved the home’s casement windows, which date back to the 1920s, and the centerpiece fireplace in the living room.

Lara and her husband wanted to preserve the home’s historic charm and Southwestern vibe, but they wanted to give it some modern updates and design details, too. For the fireplace, that meant adding tile to the concrete hearth and covering the cracked whitewashed brick with a smooth plaster overlay.

“The fireplace had to enhance and tie directly into the house’s gorgeous, classic bones,” Lara says. “We believe we preserved the fireplace’s essence and functionality, yet gave it a style upgrade.”

Although the (functioning) fireplace is wood-burning, Lara and her husband added an easy-to-use electric insert that can be removed if they eventually decide to switch bag to wood logs.

In addition to modernizing the fireplace, they painted the whole room with a fresh coat of white, Sherwin Williams’ “Belgian White.” “This is my absolute favorite wall color,” Lara shares. “It harkens to the laid-back, California cool greige trend but is a bit brighter. It stays clean and makes any space look effortless, airy, contemporary, and warm.”

After the bones of the place were refreshed (including swapping the ceiling fan with a new, beaded chandelier), Laura accessorized with low-budget finds. She says she was mainly going for durability when it came to high-traffic items like the sofa and the rug.

Her couch and one of side tables are from Target, the other side table and little copper coffee table are from Overstock, the mirrors are from Horchow, and the corner chair is a travel find from Mexico.

“I had the most intricate vision board for this place!” Lara says, and she’s proud of the way her vision came together. The end result is “stunning, warm and welcoming,” she says.