Adding S”tile” to an old fireplace

Get it? …Stile….Style…Tile…. #DADJOKES

When we had a new roof put on the house they took off the chimney all together for us.  The fireplaces had both been cemented completely in so there just wasn’t a coming back from that that would make sense budget wise for this house.  We also felt like honestly it was just better for there not to be a temptation for a renter to start a fire in such an old chimney.

The cement in the living room fireplace had cracked pretty badly and was just unsightly.  The first time I saw it I loved the simplicity and wanted to make it a really cool design element to an otherwise plain living room.

I had seen some tile at Lowes I was obsessed with and wanted to use somewhere but not anywhere too permanent because we all know trends come and go! A removable panel for the fireplace seemed to be a perfect fit! Blake and I both decided that with the walls being white it would be fun to go with a bold color on the mantle so I painted it blue to match the tiles.

We opted to not tile directly onto the fireplace for two reasons:

  1. it was so uneven it would be nearly impossible
  2. If someone wants to change this down the road because this tile doesn’t speak to them it’s no big deal!

We cut a piece of scrap plywood and glued the tiles on using liquid nails.  To insert into the fireplace we’ll just trim around the plywood to hold it in.

All in all this project cost $45 for the tile, maybe $10 for liquid nails, we had the plywood and $6 worth of paint (two sample pots).  This is easily one of my favorite updates in the house and is such a simple project for anyone to do out there who has an out of service fireplace!

Let’s take one more look at before 🙂

Unfortunately at the time I took these pictures the insert hadn’t been trimmed in so you may still see a little plywood edge and it doesn’t look perfectly level but you get the idea!

Where you can see the black gap at the top there will go away once we trim it in!

I scored this fire place surround for $8 at Goodwill!  I LOVE the feet!

I can see a basket of cozy blankets or a stack of fun games here, can’t you?  For around $50 this was such a fun update…and beginner level EASY y’all! Anyone else have any “faux fireplace” creations? We’ve turned our attention to this one next that’s in the master bedroom.

If you follow us on instagram you know I’ve storied this one more than a few times 🙂 Sometimes a little $50 update can really give you wind under your sails you know?! I also really think if you don’t have a fireplace at all you could pick up an old mantle at the Restore and recreate this very thing in your place.  Know someone you think could use a little faux fireplace inspiration? I’d love it if you’d share with them!


I mentioned in previous posts that behind the weird fiberboard was “shiplap“.  I’ve read a lot about shiplap and I wanted to clarify.  What’s on our walls is tongue and groove siding.  It’s very similar to shiplap but it’s not official shiplap…installed, it’s very hard to tell the difference.  Tongue and groove interlocks a bit more which helps keeps the elements at bay.  Shiplap is cheaper however so if you’re just going for the look then that’s what you’ll want to go with of course.

I had a few people ask me “If Joanna hadn’t made that popular would you have felt like you had to drywall over it?”


I’ve thought pretty hard about that question and I think the answer is that I hope not?  I hope I would know my own likes and dislikes enough to know I would have liked it enough to leave it.  Honestly I probably would have wanted to keep it from a budget perspective alone!  I sure am glad she made it popular though so we wouldn’t have to make a choice on whether or not to drywall!


Due to the age of ours the gaps can really vary in places which I think makes the house look older and more primitive and it really doesn’t bother me.  I think once all the art and modern furniture is added in it’s going to be a nice juxtaposition.

Our siding wasn’t in perfect condition and we knew there was no insulation in the walls so we feared it would be a VERY cold winter or hot hot summer for a renter.  We had insulation blown in the walls by popping off the top board on all exterior walls.  If you were building a house this wouldn’t the best bet because vapor is going to cause the insulation to get damp and sink eventually but we had to do what we had to do to be cost effective at this point.

The ceiling in the master was actually in such poor condition that we decided to just redo the whole thing in new tongue and groove and we’re leaving it natural!

One of the most difficult parts of this house was that everything was covered in soot from what we guess was an old stove and fireplaces.  For a couple months every time we left the house we were covered in soot too.  I never realized what it takes to cover that stuff up! Let me save you the trouble of ever making the wrong choice….the only option is a shellac based primer.  It smells like Burnetts vodka and you absolutely have to wear a mask to be around it (seriously it makes your eyes burn)…but it covers in one coat which is just what you want!

The final paint color I picked out was China White by Benjamin Moore.  I had seen the below suggested white colors list and researched about each one, bought 3 test pots of my favorite three and ended up at the creamy, gray undertoned China White!

Can you BELIEVE some paint took things from this:

to this?!?

I’ll see you Wednesday friends with a fun little fireplace makeover anyone can do! 🙂

Got Chip and Jo on your brain now? Here’s a buzzfeed quiz to see which one you’re most like!