The sitting room is the first room you walk into when you come in the front door.  It was my first impression of the home when house hunting.  I have a knack for being able to walk into a room and know exactly the potential it has and how it could look once I attack and complete it!  Looking beyond the current owners decor and belongings, I immediately knew what this room needed.  Learn more about the overall condition of the newly purchased home on this link (link coming soon)- Our home as purchased.

The entire house had been painted a beige color and beige carpet… in every room.

The before photos I am about to show you are literally my first time meeting the realtor to walk through the house.  The home was permeated with tobacco smoke and was very difficult to breath inside.  More about that on the link above.

Here are a couple of the before photos of the sitting room.

Now, my style is clearly upscale farmhouse.  There is nothing to be saved here except the fan, and the mantle, which I removed and re-used in another room.

sitting room before

From the front door, you can see that there is a peek through square hole that looks into the kitchen.  I patched up that hole and will never forget all of the drywall sanding that had to be done.  The hole needed to be patched because I re-designed the footprint of the kitchen on the opposite wall.

sitting room before

And, the fireplace closeup.  Are there any words??

the fireplace

And here comes the renovation!

I’m going to hoan in mostly on the fireplace wall because that is the main focus of the room.  That is where my vision began.  First, all of the walls and ceiling (in the entire house) needed primed because of the cigarette odor that had permeated the home.

Carefully, I removed the wood mantle and put it aside to use in a different area of the house.


Next, on either side of the fireplace, I knew I needed to add shiplap for some texture.  I will post my shiplap technique soon.  With my saw sitting in the middle of the room, I cut my shiplap to length for both sides of the fireplace and attached them with an air compressor nail gun.

I painted the horizontal edges of the shiplap with a brush so that I could get paint onto the edges.  You can do this before installing it as well.  The photo below shows you the bottom of the fireplace painted and gives you an idea of just how beige (or tobacco stained) the brick was.

See the brick “mantle” sticking out in the center horizontally?  We will talk about that in a minute!

mantle sticking out

The beige carpet was also pulled out of the entire house.  There was a dumpster full of it!  We found nice hardwoods under a lot of the carpet throughout the house, but had a different plan for the flooring.  We will get to that!

So, with the fireplace all painted and the shiplap in place, we worked our way onto painting the rest of the walls.

painted fireplace

Long ago, when brick fireplaces were built, they would insert a long concrete mantle right into the brick, and it would only stick out about four inches or so.  Functional?  NO.  Decorative?  No.  There was no way I was going to tear into this brickwork to get it out so I came up with an alternative solution.

diy mantle

I built a custom cedar box that would cover the concrete mantle with an eight inch depth for decor.   With an open back, I placed it over the concrete mantle.  I drilled down through the wood and into the concrete mantle and attached it with concrete screws.  The natural color of the wood was right on target, so I didn’t stain or seal it with anything.  This tone of wood became my “go to” wood tone throughout the house.

custom cedar mantle


cedar mantle

After a lot of searching, I finally found the perfect “home” decor for above the mantle.

diy manrtle

Flooring throughout the house was underway.  After a lot of comparison shopping, I chose 100% waterproof flooring to be installed in every square inch of the house.  The flooring is 100% waterproof; can be installed in wet areas and will never swell when exposed to water.  The flooring is quieter and softer under foot due to ultrasoft underlayment.  Below is the product I chose, from Lowes.

SMARTCORE Ultra 8-Piece 5.91-in x 48.03-in Lexington Oak Luxury Locking Vinyl Plank Flooring


You can see the finished shiplap wall, and I found the perfect arched mirrors for each side of the fireplace.

shiplap wall

This is the wall to the left of the fireplace that I patched up.

patched wall

Finally, the completed mantle and fireplace.  I love the simplicity and looking forward to decorating this mantle for years to come.

completed fireplace

You would never know this was the same room as before.  It feels more like my upscale farmhouse style.  This is the room I go to when I’m talking on the phone or sitting on the sofa posting my home renovation projects just like this one!

Finished sitting room

I hope you are inspired!

Jeanne Marie – The Practical Fanatic