Tuesday, October 9, 2012

fireplace makeover

A few weeks ago when I decorated the mantel for fall, I shared this picture of my embarrassingly bad job of removing some tile from our fireplace. Warning, there may or may not be an overload of photos coming your way. But I promise, it's some good stuff.
And this weekend, we tackled this baby head on and our living room is looking good now!  On Friday after work, we made some dinner, turned on some Parenthood (which is fantastic by the way! Have you seen it?), and ripped the rest of the tile off.  I was originally hoping to salvage the drywall, but the tile was stuck on there like crazy, so I opted to just pull off all the tiles in as large of pieces as I could without worrying about the drywall.
I was super excited because I was able to get all that down without making that much of a mess! Except, you'll notice that part of the moulding came up too. oops.

So, I went into the kitchen to make some cookies for a snack and Matt started to remove the drywall.  I came back with these...
...and came back to this:
After cleaning up all this and getting the paint touched up, this was our stopping point on Friday night, and I would say the demo part of this project took us about an hour.
On Saturday morning, we woke up to a chilly morning and snow! We took a quick trip to Home Depot for our supplies for this project and got started.  I think the greatest part of working on projects with Matthew is that we don't even have to talk about how we'll divvy up the work, we just get into this natural rhythm, and it's awesome!  Matthew got started on replacing the drywall, while I started on cutting the glass tiles.

We didn't have any of the tools we needed for this project since this is our first tile project, so we picked up this awesome bucket o' tools for $18.  We were planning on getting the tile nippers already, which were $16 regular price, so this was a great deal, and I highly recommend it if you're going to start your first tile project!
One stinky thing about this project was that the sheets of tile are 12" x 12", and the fireplace is only 10", so I had to cut what felt like a million tiles with these nippers.
Each tile was pretty quick, but after all of them, I was ready to be done.
I set them in order as I cut the sheets.
As I cut them, Matthew replaced the drywall.  I took this picture to send to his Mom,
but had to post it here since it's just so cute.
Now this is where I share the best part of this whole makeover with you.  When we were at Home Depot picking out mortar, we noticed this guy.
Since we didn't already have mortar, it was about the same price to buy these sticky sheets, and oh-my-goodness, so much easier and worth every penny! It's just like double stick tape, and the best thing is that you can grout right away, instead of having to wait a day or two like traditional mortar.
After this was all up and we were ready to go, you simply pull off the top film and start placing your tile sheets on the wall, using spacers of course!
Seriously, I cannot explain to you how amazingly easy this was! Every time we would place a sheet of tile, we would both just laugh because it seemed like it was way too good to be true. To replace the drywall, cut the tiles, put up the simplemat, and place the tiles, we put about 2 hours of work in on Saturday.  This is the fireplace before grouting.
We were loving it, but let me tell you, before you grout these tiles, they look all kinds of crooked. On Sunday, I had a crazy headache, so my wonderful husband let me take a nap, and when I woke up, he had done the grouting and even took pictures!  It took him less than an hour to prep and grout.
We let this sit for a few hours and got this great haze going on the tiles. ;-)
 This is where 15 minutes with handy dandy cheesecloth comes in handy... 
...isn't that just dandy?

And here we are now!  Look how amazing!!! 
And here's the way before, in progress, more progress, and after:
Now, for those of you who are curious about the costs associated with a project like this, here you go:

(10) 12" x 12" Ceramic tile sheets - $60.00
(1) Box of Simple Mat - $20.00
(1) Box Non-Sanded Grout - $13.00
(1) Package Cheesecloth - $4.00
Total - $97.00

Then, if you need to replace drywall like we did, add another $9 for a sheet of
drywall, bringing the total to $106...

...and if you don't have any tools for this project like us, add another $18.00, bringing the 
Grand Total to $124 for us.  We still have to seal the grout, so that will add a little bit of cost, but overall this is pretty awesome considering how much it has changed our living room, and it only took us about 5 hours!!  It just adds so much warmth to the room and it looks like a million bucks (if we do say so ourselves).


  1. oh my gosh, what a huge and impactful transformation! and that's awesome about those sheets, didn't know about them. love this, and bet you do, too.

  2. They were a lifesaver and I am loving it! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. It was a excitement locating your site yesterday. I came here right hoping to learn something new. And I was not dissatisfied. Your well thought out ideas for new events like this. Thank you for this idea and sharing your knowledge.

  4. Getting ready to tackle my basement fireplace as part of our remodel. I bought the grey version of your glass tiles a few months back. Now that it's time to actually start the project, I've been wondering if I should have taken the easy way out and painted the brick surround. This looks like something I can handle. Thanks for posting!

    1. That's so exciting! Good luck; let me know if you have any questions!

  5. So, I came across your blog as I was browsing Pinterest! My fiance and I just bought our first home, and we have the same boring (ugly) looking tile around the fireplace in our family room! I love the way yours turned out, and I'm excited to redo ours :-) Your home is looking great, by the way! Keep up the good work!

  6. Our tile just came in and I'm excited to start using this as our guide! I'll let you know how it comes out:)

    1. That's so exciting! Can't wait to hear about it!!

  7. Erin,
    Where did you get that tile and do you know what its called? About to do my fireplace and that tile would match my living room perfectly!

    1. Hi Melissa,

      I got this tile on clearance at Home Depot, so I'm not sure they have it anymore! :( So sorry!

  8. I so want to do this to my fireplace! Do you need to worry about the heat from the fireplace messing up the grout or the tiles? Thanks!

    1. We used our fireplace all the time last winter and never had an issue.

  9. Hi! i'm about to start a tile /fireplace project myself and i bought the simplemat...curious how the tiles have held up with this product, has the heat from the fireplace melted/loosened the adhesive at all??

    1. Hi Alexis! They have held up great, and have not loosened at all! We are really happy with it!!

  10. Ah! Left you a comment and it disappeared so I will try again. I am in LOVE with this makeover! Found you on Instagram with the #hometalkeveryday posts! PINNED!

    1. Thank you, thank you! Have a wonderful day!

  11. Wow! This is amazing! Thanks for the inspiration & the tip on the Tile setting mat! That sounds like a winner :)

  12. Hi Erin, Glad to see you're still responding to the comments! :) What type of wood was the surround and what paint did you use on it?

    1. Hi Chris! The wood was oak before, and I just did some light sanding to rough it up, and used Behr interior semi gloss in pure white.


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