Home Blog Rachel Bauer Design: Family Room Week #3: My fireplace

Rachel Bauer Design: Family Room Week #3: My fireplace

orcHi.  Thanks for checking back this week.  It’s the halfway point for the six week One Room Challenge.  Here you can see week one and week two. I must say, I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much so far.  I have started making the shades for the Family Room and the small Kitchen window.  I’ve ordered the Pagoda cornice (I actually ordered the cornice a few days before the ORC started–don’t tell anyone.)  I called to check on it’s status, and they said three weeks.  Well people, we have three weeks to get this finished.  It’s going to be touch and go or “touch and no.”  Another thing I didn’t get started on early enough is the replacement sofa.  In some ways I’m glad I didn’t order the first thing I saw because, I’ve been moving the furniture around in the room, and I think I might go with a sectional instead of a sofa.  My daughter has been lobbying hard for one, and it would be nice.   Whatever I do, I need to order it fast, and it can’t be any sort of custom piece if I want it here for the reveal (which I do.)

This week I wanted to tell you about my plans for my fireplace surround.  When we bought this home 2 1/2 years ago, it was a spec house, meaning I didn’t get to pick any of the finishes.  The builder had already selected all the tile, granite, paint colors. etc.  My husband didn’t want to move into a temporary home while we built a house, so when we moved back to Texas, we had to pick from homes that were ready or almost ready to move into.  We picked the home that was the closest to what we would’ve built as we could find.  I love our home.  The finishes are fairly neutral and I like them.  I do not like my fireplace surround though.  Here’s how it looked when we were house hunting:

Fireplace before.

Fireplace before.

I don’t mind the wood mantel too much.  The left pilaster opens and you can turn the gas on and off from there, which is handy.  I do not like the brown 12″x12″ tile on the diagonal.  It looks like a 1980’s bathroom floor to me.  I’m also not crazy about the black gas insert.  I like having a gas fireplace because it’s easier and cleaner than a wood burning one, but they look so one dimensional.  So my plan to upgrade the fireplace includes covering the brown ’80’s floor tile and adding a fire screen to hide the black gas insert.  I may end up painting the wood surround too, but I’m holding off on that decision until some others are made.

When I first started thinking about changing the tile on the surround, my first dream was to do something like this:

Oyster shell fireplace via Pinterest/Affairforvintagedecor.blogspot.com

Oyster shell fireplace via Pinterest/Affairforvintagedecor.blogspot.com

I know, I live outside Dallas, TX, and oyster shells are not what you’d expect to find as a fireplace surround here, but I love decorating with natural objects (geodes, shells, rocks. driftwood, etc.)  This would be my dream fireplace, but  I had trouble locating the bazillion oyster shells that I would need.  I’m also a person who loves to use what I already have,  and one thing we already had was a giant bin of mirrored tile that I picked up at a thrift store in Virginia right before we moved to Texas.  By giant, I mean I have 240+ square feet of mirrored tile that weighs close to 300 pounds.  I picked it up for $20.  I didn’t actually pick it up.  It took two burly men to hoist it into my SUV.  If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know I like to find weird treasures at thrift stores, but this might be my weirdest.

Here’s a sample of some of the mirrored designs (these tiles date from 1977:)

Vintage 70's mirrored tile.

Vintage 70’s mirrored tile.


I want to use the smoked mirrored tile with the gold veining in the bottom right of the picture, but my hope is to antique it so it’s not so 1970’s.  I read through several DIY blogs on how to antique mirror and the one that looked the best to me was this one from Dans Le Lakehouse.  I found it through this post from So Much Better With Age, so thanks to you both.

These images of antique mirrored walls are sort of what what I’m hoping to accomplish here:


Antiqued mirror tile wall

Antiqued mirror tile wall

I followed the first few steps from Dans Le Lakehouse’s blog for antiquing my mirrored tile today.  I stripped off the black paint on the back of the mirror.  This also stripped off the gold veining that you can see in the picture of the mirrored tiles.  I thought that would probably happen and that’s okay, but I did leave a little here and there for interest.  Here’s what the tile looked like after stripping off the black paint:

Mirrored tile after stripping off the paint.

Mirrored tile after stripping off the paint.

You can see little bits of the gold that are still left.  I then sprayed the tile with muriatic acid and I’m waiting for that to dry.  The next step is to spray paint the back of the tile a silver color.  I’ll do that tomorrow and see how it goes.  I think I’m going to like it.  Now I have to figure out how to cut the mirror and install it.  I’m a little worried about that.  The 70’s tile I have came with installation directions and MounTape, but I’m not sure I trust them:

Installing your 1970's tile.

Installing your 1970’s tile.

I’m also toying with the idea of painting the wood mantle a deep gray like the following images (all from pinterest:)

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After I install the mirrored tile (if all goes well,) I’ll make that decision.

The last thing I wanted to talk about this week was the fire screen to screen the ugly black gas insert.  Before we really got started, I looked around for fire screen options, but I didn’t find a thing I liked. Then the other day my daughter asked me to go to Trader Joe’s.  It’s pumpkin season, and they have vast amount of merchandise for the pumpkin lover:

Trader Joe's pumpkin central.

Trader Joe’s pumpkin central.

Very close to Trader Joe’s on Preston Road is a Horchow Finale (their outlet store.)  I hadn’t been in a Horchow Finale in two decades probably.  As soon as I walked in the door, I saw this amazing fire screen.  I swear sometimes the design gods follow me around and lead me where I need to be.  It was expensive (for me), but less than half what they were charging for it on their website.  Score!  I’ll show it to you in the reveal!

I should mention it’s breast cancer awareness month.  Get a mammogram if you need to.  It’s very easy for the NFL players to wear pink socks or gloves, but it’s a lot more complicated and stressful for us to schedule our mammograms, but it’s important.  Please check out the Wednesday participants and the other linking participants and their excellent and interesting transformations!

Have a wonderful week,











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2 Comments  comments 

2 Responses

  1. OH i love this! last year i went to amy howard’s house and she had this around her fireplace and i was DROOOOOLING!

  2. Rachel Bauer

    Thank you Cassie!

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