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First DIY Decorating Project of 2016

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I am back after taking some time off over the holidays to get myself settled into our new home and enjoy the holidays with my daughters and Ed’s best buddy, Joe, who is like family to us.

I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday and are now ready to embrace the new year, too. I am excited and soooo ready especially after months of focusing on all it took to move to a new home and then getting Shingles. :-(  I am feeling better with only a little nerve wonkiness going on in my right arm and hand. It is getting better with each passing day. :-)

Before I share my first DIY project of 2016, I wanted to tell you that I have not forgotten about writing the specifics of what we did to get from living in Pennsylvania to living our dream of living on a lake and finding it in South Carolina. I had so much planned to share with you in December – so many of you have asked for the details of staging, moving etc, but when I got Shingles a few days before we moved into the new house, those post plans had to be postponed. Over the next few weeks I will share what we did in a series of 3 posts.

Starting today, I am now looking forward to making the new-to-me lake house a home one project at a time.

diy decorating project Living room updating before

This is the photo I shared with you of the living room in my new house.  I like the room, but not the brown wood shelves across the brick fireplace wall.  Not only is brown not my favorite color, but the shelves have no impact. Even if they were filled with books, they would only add a cluttered look. I want this house to have an open, easy, breezy feel.

I want to create a mantel around the fireplace that will add architectural interest to the wall.

Fireplace mantel for a brick wall

I thought about using the mantel handed down to us from Ed’s parents that we had in our previous dining room, but the opening for the firebox was way too small for the size of the new fireplace.  I ended up placing this mantel in our bedroom. Will show you that soon.

Fireplace makeover on a brick wall

Photo and mantel by: Jenny Axelsson Vogt

I found this fireplace makeover on Pinterest. It is a beauty and is my inspiration.  I would paint the brick white on either side once the new mantel was created or cover it with bead board or planking. I may even use AirStone to cover the brick like I did in my previous house.

Brick wall with wood book shelves

To get things moving in the right direction, the shelves had to be removed. Ed took on the task.

Before and After DIY home improvement

The shelves were bolted to the side walls. You can see where they were by the unpainted section on the wall. The shelves were made using very thick and the heaviest wood we have ever handled. They may not have had impact, but they were well-made and sturdy!!!

Fireplace updating idea

I knew I would like seeing the wall plain but I was not expecting the room to feel bigger with their removal. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it did. I think we will be covering the space for the wood or at least making some kind of door to close it off. Still thinking on that.

Interior updating ideas for a 1970's built house

The brick hearth runs along the entire wall. Eventually we may want to remove it on the left and right sides of the fire box opening, just leaving it intact in front of the fire box only. This will add more square footage to the room, but would be a major demolition project. We need to live in the house longer to better see what it is going to need and this may not be something that bothers us once a mantel is in place. Only time will tell.

I will be back tomorrow with a big project to which I think many of you will relate.  See you then.  XO

Happy 2016!

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  1. I love these tips! Goodness gracious, some of these ideas are absolutely genius! Gold leafing a pillow? Doormats to make a headboard? Absolutely genius!

  2. I like your ideas and the room does look better with the shelving gone. Happy New Year!

  3. Hi Diane,
    I’m glad to have found you again! I look forward to visiting as you decorate your new home! EXCITING!
    Happy New Year!
    Linda at Beautiful Ideas

    1. Thanks Suzy. Shingles were the worst pain I have every felt. I am so glad to be feeling better. I am very excited to make my new house into a home and sharing it on the blog. If I haven’t told you already… thanks for taking the time to give me the tip a few months ago about looking at houses on the weekend to see the boat traffic. Every house we looked at I kept this in mind. Now that I am living in the Carolinas, maybe our paths will cross. :-)

  4. Love, love, love your blog. Looking forward to the new ideas in your new home. Where did you buy your white sofa covers?

    1. Thanks Dianne – My white slipcovers are Pottery Barn seconds. I bought them at a site called Ugly Sofa. I don’t know if they are still in business, but they are called the Tie-On style. I made the cushion covers myself. You can read more about them in these posts: https://inmyownstyle.com/2011/11/how-i-slipcover-a-chair-or-sofa-ugly-sofa-giveaway.html and https://inmyownstyle.com/2011/01/how-to-make-a-pottery-barn-style-slipcover-from-a-quilt.html

      I painted the smaller chair fabric white. I wrote about that here: https://inmyownstyle.com/2015/03/how-to-paint-upholstered-furniture.html

  5. Thanks for sharing your diy project. I’m sure you will make the fireplace wall look gorgeous! Sorry to hear about your case of shingles–reminds me that I must get the shingles shot right away! I’m looking forward to reading all about your new house projects!

    1. Hi Ruth Anne – Run don’t walk to get your Shingles shot. You never want to get Shingles…it is the worst pain I have ever felt. I started two projects this week and will be posting about them soon. Thanks for reading.

    1. Hi Vanessa – The hardest thing about doing the fireplace is going to be getting the lumber to the house. I used to have a Jeep, now I have a little car. I will need to rent a truck from time to time when I need big stuff. I have been meaning to reply to your comment that you wrote what all the flowers and plants were on my deck. So helpful…thanks! I may be asking for your gardening advise once Spring arrives. :-)

  6. Congratulations on your new home and welcome to SC. We are NJ transplants of 8 yrs. So excited for you and thankful that we will be able to follow along as you enhance your home and inspire us along the way.
    Blessings and good health!

  7. Happy New Year! I’m so glad to hear you are feeling better. Looking forward to your new projects.

  8. Hi Diane – this is your old fiend Bettyfrom Ontario Canada – the land of snow, I think y our new home is amazing and I know that whatever you may do will be just more amazing. I look forward to all of the diy that you will be doing. Take yor time and enjoy it. Love Betty.

  9. So good to see you are feeling better and that you are busy planning your inspiring make-overs. I look forward to your 2016 blogs. Happy New Year!

  10. Excited to see your new projects and being inspired by your courage to tackle an older property. I too have been through a big renovation then a new house and am not sure what I am willing to take on when we downsize. Looking forward to your staging tips as well. Healthy new year!

  11. I love the Air Stone! Looks better already without that shelving. Can’t wait to see what you are going to do with it!

  12. Diane, this is so exciting to see what you do will each project. I am so expired by all your projects and love doing some in my home. So glad your feeling better.

  13. I always thought it was not good to store wood in or near the house due to varmints and bugs being attracted to it.
    Good choice on removing the shelves- looks better already!
    So sorry about your shingles adventure- I had a really mild case on my back and I was miserable! I don’t know how people manage with a bad case- not fun at all!
    Looking forward to all your new posts, you are one of my favorite bloggers. You use regular materials and your projects are very user friendly to almost everyone.

    1. Thanks LaFawne – I think the biggest change for me doing DIY in this house is that the home improvement stores are a bit further away. I will have to plan better now. In my old house I had a Lowes in walking distance. I was there literally everyday.

  14. oh also the in your face ceiling fan might be a much needed addition but if you painted it the same as the ceiling it would disappear but still be there for a much needed breeze in the south xx

    1. Hi Chris – Every ceiling fan will be updated with a white one. I am still in search of a style I like. We will switch them out gradually since there is one in every room and 2 in the kitchen and Rec room.

      1. wow i hope i didn’t sound like a pompous ass about the ceiling fan just was trying to suggest a cheap alternative until you could replace xx

      2. We had builder’s grade fans installed in four rooms in our house. When the bedroom fan died, we replaced it with a higher-grade fan that moves more air and is much quieter. While you might not need the expensive fans everywhere, you might want to consider them for certain rooms.

        1. Hi Connie – This is a great tip…thanks! With so many fans in my house, I need to become an expert before I start replacing them. Another reader told me about one she saw where the motor was mounted inside the ceiling so only the fan blades were exposed. Lots to look for and consider.

      3. Don’t ask me for the link, but on This Old House’s best of 2015 list (I think!) they show a ceiling fan that has the motor installed inside the ceiling, between the joists, so all you see is the stick and blade part. News to me anyway! Much more visually appealing/minimal…

          1. I couldn’t leave you hanging… and I do love a good shopping hunt. Found the link! It’s called the Ozone celing fan.

            As I was searching, I came across others too (on Amazon), but it does take some looking. Good luck!

  15. wow you were right in removing the wood it does look better already, as far as a door for the wood maybe make it with hardware cloth so air can still circulate around the wood and i think you will be mildly surprised at what a difference just white washing all of the brick will make, so glad you are feeling better having gone through shingles myself i know the pain xx

  16. I agree: planking on the sides of the fireplace would be terrific. Maybe you can even find some reclaimed wood in your area to use for that…then maybe whitewash it :-)

    I’m giddy knowing we’ll all get to see you completely restyle your new home :-)

    1. Hi CeeCee – I will have to scour the lumber yards to see what I can find. There is a really old one nearby, they may have something unique to use. Will keep you posted.