Fireplace Design: Then & Now

We had lived in this house for exactly 21 hours before I hit “order” on the first project purchase for the new place. I was sitting on the floor of our living room (who needs a couch?) staring at the slate fireplace and just willing it to be anything but. All of the walls were still mustard yellow verging on orange and they complemented that slate tile surround in the most abhorrent way beautifully. I wanted to see the glorious hand-cut woodwork but it was suffocated by the most putrid colors and it was gagging to be free of them. So back to the “buy now” button. I forgot to ask Jon. Not ask. Let’s be honest, this girl doesn’t need permission. Perhaps, “run by” would be a better way to phrase it. And by “run by” I mean, “please triple check my measurements”. Ah, well. These hand-painted concrete tiles (to highlight that hand-cut wood) had me at first glance and I couldn’t risk them selling out. They were perfection. A few weeks later a palette arrived that took up half of our garage and stayed there for three months (but who’s counting) before Jon plowed through enough of the honey-do list to install them. Wondering how I did measuring? We could do three more fireplaces. Oops. Some future #NixonPack flips will be grateful for my mistake.


And, the “After”:


We basked in its goodness for all of five minutes before we both looked at each other and said, but what goes on top? That’s the problem with this husband and wife team. We can’t stop. It’s always on to something else. We toyed with stacked stone for a hot minute before locking eyes and jinxing “barn wood”. Since moving back to NY, I’ve developed an obsession affinity for old barns. I need one. But until I can find the time money client¬†right project, I’ll have to settle for a piece of a barn (or 72 pieces) in our living room.¬†One afternoon, Jon called me and said he wouldn’t be home for dinner and would be a little late. Eyebrow raise. Thankfully, the nagging wife stayed hidden and “sure babe” came out instead. He pulled in with the most spectacular barn wood I had ever seen and had driven 90 minutes each way to get it. Talk about the sweetest surprise. Even the best lighting with the most high-quality camera can’t do this wood justice. In person it is incredible. The knots, the rust marks from the nails, the rough cuts. I couldn’t stop marveling at it. It was exactly the balance we needed for not only the fireplace, but the room. Stacked stone would have fought with the concrete tiles, a painted accent wouldn’t have been enough of a wow factor, and painting wood just wouldn’t have been the right look. You can’t bottle up the warmth of the sun beating down on it for decades, the snow piling up on the sides, the texture, the smells. I feel so grateful it found its way to our home.

Are you a fan of the barn wood look? Share with the Pack below!

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