I mentioned this on Friday, but we had to do a little more demo on the fireplace surround in the living room than we had originally planned to do.

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And by a little more, I mean the whole thing came down. Literally every brick and piece of faux stone:

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You might remember that I was hoping to have the firebox in here replaced with something a little bigger and that would reach all the way to the ground. I got a couple of bids for a new firebox and ultimately it just felt like a waste of money. So my new plan is to repurpose the existing box with a little paint and find some pretty, dark stone to surround it on all sides. In order to do that, we had to demo just a small row of stone to the right and the left of the firebox (only about six inches on either side). It was clear as soon as we took the jackhammer to the stone that the whole thing was not structurally sound enough to take the strategic demoing, so the whole facade had to come down. It was a big (heavy) mess.

Luckily my family came over and I bribed them with ice cream to help clean up the bricks. They're like me and will do just about anything for a little bit of Blue Bell (have you tried their Peaches and Cream?!).  A few short hours later, we had a clean living room again, less one fire place facade.

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Saturday morning, Jason came over to start framing out the new surround.

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He used 2x6's to build up the general frame and tomorrow we're going to work on the details - the trim, the paneling, the mantel, the electrical work.

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Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, thinking about the fireplace and couldn't go back to sleep (happens more than I'd like to admit, but I don't mind - I'm so glad I still get a kick out of home design after all these years of day in and day out). So I plopped down in front of the fireplace in my pajamas, graph paper pad in hand and drew up some new sketches. The old glass doors were giving me the stink eye the whole time, so I pulled out my mini drill and took them both off.

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Ah!!! So much better!! Why had I waited so long?

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I was even happier with my middle-of-the-night-handiwork the next morning. Getting rid of those dated doors made a huge difference in the look of the old firebox. I'm planning for the whole fireplace area to be different shades of black and charcoal, so I think I'll paint the brick black and that will help clean up the look even further.

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Also, I know some of you were really against the idea of hanging the TV above the fireplace, but we're going for it. It's what works for the room and for us, and I'm actually in a good place with the idea. I think my plan of making the whole fireplace surround shades of black will help to hide the presence of the TV when it's not on.

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We're going to have paneling above and to the sides of the TV box, so there will be a lot of dimensional depth to the surround. The firebox will have the stone surround like I mentioned before (basically all that space around the firebox inside that first square of wood). And then we're going to do a chunky cast stone looking mantel which will take up most of the rest of the width of the surround.

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I've had this style of mantel in my brain when I imagined the room. Something very simple and modern.

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(Both of these images are from Veronica Swanson's home feature in Harper's Bazaar)

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But then I stumbled on this photo of a magazine in one of my many google searches and I forgot to save the source info. But I'm really loving the lines here and it might be better to do something a little more on the trad side of modern.

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Update: Thank you Jenn for the link to the original source (Canadian House and Home Princess Margaret Showhome). Check out those floors! That's almost exactly what our library floors will look like - it's a sign! :)

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Busy weekend! How was yours?