Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Finished stacked stone fireplace in the basement!

Well hello! I have a BIG reveal for you today! I worked so hard on this basement fireplace and I'm so so SO thrilled it's done. I'm excited to share it with you today! I took a ridiculous amount of photos so bear with me. :) 

I'll show you where we started first! We have this little bump out in our basement and from day one we knew what we wanted to do with it. When we finished the basement years ago we went ahead and bought an electric fireplace for that spot. It sat on a bench for four years. 😁
bay window basement

A few months ago we decided to have the fireplace built in since the whole space was torn up for the new floors anyway: 
built in electric fireplace

Then I was craving a little more traditional look so we had the hearth added along with a mantel: 
built in electric fireplace with hearth

Then it was time for me to do the rest! I knew I needed to stain the mantel and hearth before I tiled -- it would have gotten all over the tile otherwise. I sanded both down and then cleaned them really well. A wet paper towel does fine: 
prepping for stain

I ALWAYS use a preconditioner for staining projects because it gives you an even finish when you stain: 
Minwax pre stain conditioner

It takes just a quick swipe (I use foam brushes) and then you can stain immediately! 

I did two coats of Minwax dark walnut stain -- one of my favorites! I wanted to match the top of the wall of cubbies we have in the room: 
Minwax dark walnut on pine

I know I say it a lot but staining is one of my favorite DIY projects. It's instant gratification! I always love seeing the details of the wood coming through. I like to remind you to make sure you have plenty of time to tackle your staining project -- you'll want to finish it all up at once and keep a "wet edge" while working. Otherwise you may see where you stopped and started. 

I usually let my stain dry for about five minutes but you can wait longer for a deeper stain. After that I wipe it down with a clean, lint-free cloth. Wearing latex gloves helps to keep the stain off of your hands! 

Here's the stain I used: 
Minwax dark walnut stain

Dark walnut is a deep brown that doesn't have any red tones -- I love it! It will vary a bit depending on the wood you use, but I always love how it looks. 

After the stain has dried, it's time to add the polyurethane on top to protect it and give it a beautiful sheen. Because I was working with vertical surfaces I used the Minwax wipe on poly
Minwax wipe on polyurethane

I applied it with a clean cloth and it goes on really easily: 
wipe on poly

This stuff is perfect for spaces like this one where the poly would drip if you used a brush. I sanded down with a scrap paper bag piece in between coats: 
sanding between coats of poly

I shared more about that process here -- it's my new favorite way to knock down small bumps in between poly and after! Who would've thought brown paper bags worked so well? :) 

After it all dried I started the tiling process and I shared how to tile using stacked stone here. The large pieces were pretty easy, it was the smaller sections that I had to cut just right that took the most time. By the time I was done I may have cried tears of joy, ha! Seriously, I was ready to be done. 

But it's beautiful and exactly what we envisioned for this room for years!! We are obsessed with it! I added some Christmas touches to it of course: 
stone fireplace with wood mantel

I took a ton of pictures in different light so you'll see a mix here today. I also ended up taking down the stockings and kind of like it with them down so you can really see the stone!: 
wood mantel on stone fireplace

stacked stone fireplace

I'm head over heels for the dark wood combo with the stone -- it's exactly what I wanted! It's rustic but still feels modern: 
stone fireplace in bay window

I had so much fun decorating this spot! It has completely transformed the basement -- literally it looks like a brand new space. When we finished the basement years ago and did our lighting, we made sure to add lights over this spot, knowing we were planning to do the fireplace wall. 

But this time of year I think I like it better with the lights off: 
stone fireplace in basement

stacked stone fireplace at Christmas
The last thing I need to do here is put a dimmer on those lights -- we have them throughout the rest of the basement and I want that softer light here too: 
stacked stone electric fireplace

I'm just going to keep putting up pictures and saying things cause I worked my butt off on this project. 😂
stone fireplace with wood hearth and mantel
The frames used to sit on the cubby built ins and I think they'll stay up here. Love how homey this spot feels!

We always put our flocked tree down here and it's usually decorating with green and blue ornaments. I went much more natural and neutral this year with white, silver and bronze ornaments instead. I'm obsessed with those colors on this flocked tree:
stacked stone from Lowe's

The hearth isn't super deep but it's the perfect size for accessories. You can sit on it too, but it's not deep enough to sit back really far: 
neutral stacked stone tile

Stuffed reindeer butts fit perfectly.

Here's another look at the before of this spot: 
bay window bump out basement

And here's how it looks today!: 
stacked stone fireplace in bay window bump out

stacked stone fireplace in bump out

Here's another shot from a couple months ago: 
built in toy cubbies

And that same angle, just closer: 
stacked stone at Christmas

I have to clean up all of the tools and Nerf bullets and then I'll get a full shot of the room! :) 

Whoohoo, I'm so thrilled to be done with this massive project! We've spent every evening down here with the fireplace on -- we're definitely enjoying this space! 

If you have any questions about this project, please let me know! I'm off to finish up our Christmas decor to share with you later this week. I'm seriously just going to sleep all day long on Friday when I'm done! :)


I work with Minwax to share how I use their products in our home and they sponsored this post. I only work with brands I know and love!






Monday, December 5, 2016

Coming up for air!

OH my goodness people! It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks! I'm finally coming up for air. :) I don't think I've had a busier two weeks in my life, and it's all been amazing stuff, so I'm not complaining.  I am thrilled to be home though!

I'm a homebody who loves to travel -- it's an odd combination. I love visiting new places and those we already love, but man, I ache to get back home at the same time. I mentioned that we took our annual trip to Disney World a couple weeks ago:
Disney castle at Christmas

We like to go around Thanksgiving but this time we stayed a day later than usual -- and it kind of threw me off! I'm joining in on a blog Christmas tour later this week so I was trying to get the whole house decorated in just a few days but got sick while at it. 
Epcot ball at night

So I didn't get much done last week because of sickness and then I was off for another amazing (but quick!) trip to Georgia. Last month Delta Faucets asked if I'd like to join in on their trip to tour the 2017 HGTV Dream Home, and of course I said yes! Even though it just happened to be the day before another trip I've had planned. 

I went down to St. Simons Island for less than 24 hours and had an amazing time. I cannot wait to show you more of this beautiful home!:
2017 HGTV dream home

I'll share a ton of pics soon and I have a fun giveaway for you too. It was such an honor to get to be one of the first to walk through this gorgeous house (that will be on TV in January!). 

The backyard has a small dock on an inlet -- it was so incredibly peaceful back there: 
2017 HGTV Dream Home
I didn't get to stay long but I loved that little island and the homes there were stunning. 

I flew home that night, got home at 11:30, got three hours of sleep and then woke up early to take a weekend trip to my favorite city that we've had planned for awhile:
NYC view
Christmastime is my favorite time to visit NYC! 

Three friends and I took one kid each and I dragged them all around the city for a whirlwind tour: 
Little Italy Christmas

We checked out Rockefeller Center, saw a Rockettes show (always amazing!), did some shopping for both the kids and the moms, Empire State Building, Ground Zero, Little Italy, Grand Central, saw Aladdin (it has turned into one of our favorite Broadway shows) and walked around Central Park. 

The kids (and moms) were total troupers and we made some wonderful memories.
NYC Christmas

We've talked about this trip for at least a year now and a few months ago finally made it happen. I'm so glad we did. I LOVE to share this city with friends and love watching them fall in love with it even more. 

We had seven ladies and one man -- my little guy. He loved being the tour guide too. :) 
NYC at Christmas9/11 memorial

Christmas windows New York City

The store windows in NYC this time of year are reason enough to visit. :) 

I thank God for these women every day -- they make life so fun. It's funny how people come into your life just when you need them. 😊
Friends fountain NYC

If you're a Friends fan you may recognize this one! It's the Cherry Hill fountain in Central Park -- but little known fact (that's kind of sad for Friends fans), this isn't the fountain they actually dance around. They built a replica for the opening credits of the show. ;) It's still cool a cool spot to visit though!

I totally wore everyone out -- we are all struggling a little bit today. I'm resting up (trying not to get sick again so I'm taking a ton of Vitamin C!) and then finishing up our Christmas decor -- I'm so inspired now! I'm also finishing up some small details on the basement fireplace -- we LOVE it! I'll share both that and our Christmas tour this week!

Hope your start to your holiday season has been wonderful. I always say I'm not going to make many commitments this time of year and that NEVER happens. ;) I'm so happy to be home now nesting for the holidays and have so many things I can't wait to show you this month!

Have you been busy already? Any fun trips scheduled during the holidays? Or do you love to stay home the whole season?

P.S.  If you are considering a trip to New York City, you can see all of my posts about the city here, and my tips on how to do NYC in two days here.