A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

Living Room Ideas: A Fireplace Makeover?

I have kind of a crazy idea.

Fireplace Faux Wood Stack Screen : PepperDesignBlog.com

Redoing the face of this fireplace has been on our todo list since the beginning, but we’ve found bigger and more urgent projects to tackle over the past five and a half years so this guy has been on the ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ list for a while.

Before Shots of Our Home | PepperDesignBlog.com

I added a very basic wood box mantel (basically a plywood box) three years ago and the wood stack facade last spring. The sunburst mirror was a diy project from about the same time.

We’ve thought about tearing out the brick (which is not original) to see if there might be a beautiful Spanish fireplace hiding underneath. But we’ve come to grips that, when torn off, the plaster holding the brick together will surely tear out any decorative stucco below.


So my new thought is to box the fireplace in with dry wall and tile it. Embrace the square shape and use it as the foundation for a brand new look.

The first little redo inspiration seed was planted when I was watching Secrets From a Stylist, season 1 (what happened to that wonderful show?) when Emily takes on a Spanish home and includes a fireplace makeover. I couldn’t find a straight on pic (and the ochre is not my favorite room color-wise), but that herringbone pattern totally knocked my socks off.

A Mantel Makeover? Ideas | PepperDesignBlog.com

Two years later and ideas for the fireplace rise again when I spot a very beautiful marble makeover by Molly Wood in December 2013′s Better Homes & Gardens (I have also since subconsciously purchased a couple of those really cool gold wiry stars for our mantel only to come back to this picture and get why I was drawn to them).

A Mantel Makeover? Ideas | Molly Woods Fireplace, BHG | PepperDesignBlog.com

How cool is that whole fireplace? The white/grey, the warm wood, the natural accents (even though it’s decorated for the holidays in the above).

So I’ve been playing around mixing those various elements with some quick photoshop mockups…

A Mantel Makeover? Ideas | PepperDesignBlog.com

A marble herringbone tile with a grey quartz base (we have a chunk left over from our kitchen counters)? A new warmer wooden mantel?

A Mantel Makeover? Ideas | PepperDesignBlog.com

I’m thinking that a marble slab may be out of the ballpark, but maybe a lighter grey quartz? Or perhaps we could find a stone yard remnant…

I don’t know though. The scale of the tile feels too small and the color too cool. Perhaps a lighter marble is out there (already on sheets) waiting to be discovered.

Or or or, how about white ceramic.

A Mantel Makeover? Ideas | PepperDesignBlog.com

I love that.

Am I crazy for thinking chevron/herringbone here? Should we tear down the brick to see what’s really left of the original fireplace? Not touch it at all? Consider plastering it over (to look and feel more like a Spanish fireplace) or a different tile pattern altogether?

I’m so inspired and ready to go on this, but I also know that these ideas need to simmer a bit. Something else amazing might pop up instead.

PS a lighter marble fireplace inset (would be great if I could find that shade in herringbone sheets). More living room renovation posts here.

Home Inspiration: Beautiful Hanging Planters

A little eye candy…

Favorite Hanging Planters Inspiration Board | PepperDesignBlog.com

1. Wooden Hanging Planter | 2. Air Nest | 3. Copper  Cup & Macrame | 4. Earthenware Planter | 5. Geometric Cage in Sunset Orange | 6. Navy, Gold & Neon Pink | 7. Geometric Terrarium | 8. Porcelain Cone Planter | 9. Rope Hanging Planters

Happy Wednesday! Oh man I love etsy too much…

PS more inspiration boards right here.

PPS and – this is so exciting – This Old House features our faux log fireplace facade as one of their featured projects. Thanks, TOH. Makes me so happy + warm & fuzzy. (Same project snuck into the magazine).

A Fresh & Bubbly Good Morning Cocktail

Happy 1st of April! No April Fool’s joke for you today, just a really great drink to try. :)

We have been getting a plethora of grapefruit in our csa box as of late and I haven’t known what to do with it. Often it’s too tangy or bitter for me to reach for in the morning (I end up dumping a cup of sugar on a halved grapefruit) and too time consuming to wedge for a salad (I have the best of intentions to try something like this or this before the season’s over). So they’re stacking up like crazy in my fruit bowl.

But! I have recently discovered something wonderful. I really love grapefruit juice – especially if there’s just a teaspoon of sugar in it (to make the medicine go down, the medicine go down…).

A Good Morning! Grapefruit Cocktail | PepperDesignBlog.com

I made the perfect Sunday brunch cocktail the other day out of a few of them. It was sort of a greyhound-meets-champagne cocktail blend and it was quite the morning wake up in that perfect freshly squeezed, sweet-but-tangy way. If you use the right vodka, you might not even realize that you’re drinking before noon.

A Good Morning! Grapefruit & Champagne Cocktail | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Grapefruit & Champagne Cocktail

1 part top shelf vodka
1 part freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 part tonic water
1 tsp sugar (adjust to taste)
Splash of champagne

In a shaker mix grapefruit juice, vodka, sugar and ice well. Pour mixture over a cup of ice cubes, add tonic water and finish with a heavy splash of bubbly.

A Good Morning! Grapefruit Cocktail | PepperDesignBlog.com

For me, the secret to citrus fruit cocktails is in the freshly squeezed juice. There’s just something about that straight-from-the-source taste…

A Good Morning! Grapefruit Cocktail | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Good Morning! Grapefruit Cocktail | PepperDesignBlog.com

By juicing a quart or so of grapefruit juice in advance you could easily mix up a batch for friends for a midday brunch. I keep using words like ‘tangy’ but I promise that this is such a yummy drink and one that pulls all of the sweetness out of this pink, citrusy, spring fruit. You will not be disappointed!

PS did you know that the grapefruit was named because it tends to grow in clumps, mimicking grapes but in trees? Also, my new favorite cocktail glasses are actually these candles when they cease to exist being candles. Double duty.

PPS the perfect lavender french toast to serve these with for a spring brunch. More good eats of all kinds, plus a night cocktail and an afternoon cocktail (just to round you out). 

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