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!


Finding a layout that worked

This house is only about 800sq ft so we really needed the layout to be as functional as possible so we weren’t wasting the little space we had to work with.  Below shows the original layout on the left next to what we ended up doing on the right.  I pointed out 4 major changes made.

Opening up where we could and moving a couple of doors around made all the difference…and honestly it’s weird seeing the way it used to be because it feels like it’s always been the way we have it now.

Here was the view upon entering….there was a small opening to the kitchen just to the right of this photo:

During demo we put in a new header and opened up that wall as much as we could within budget (the column stayed).  This is now a bar for eating and lets SO much more light in!

Here is a more recent picture so you can see how this worked out! I personally think it made a huge difference!

When we bought the place there was a window in the kitchen that had been boarded up.  We knew it was there by looking at the outside but on the inside it was hidden behind a china cabinet.  Day 1 we let the light shine in my friends!

This next one is a little more challenging to see in pictures but we moved a door frame over to accommodate a hallway within the house and also make for better furniture arrangement. The door you see open in the right side of the photo there was in the middle of this wall and opened into the second bedroom (where the bathroom was).  we moved this door from over to the space on the left!

You can see in the above photo how we slid everything over a bit.  The wall for the second bedroom now followed the right side of this door frame so that bedroom actually lost about 4 feet of space but….we couldn’t have the only bathroom in there!

We’ve been incredibly pleased with the new layout!….a positive side of tearing everything single thing out is getting to put it back in the way you would want it!

We’re down to punch list type items at the house now and I’m going to try and knock a couple off of it this weekend with the girls while Blake works! I think grouting a bathroom floor and cleaning a tub are perfect weekend activities (#opposite). Have a great weekend everyone! See you Monday (unless you want to follow us on Instagram to catch sneak peaks of the finished product @numbers_and_nails) 

Demo Day…Days..Weeks….Monthsss

For weeks before this day I had closed my eyes each night anticipating ripping this house apart.  As per usual, things were more simple in my mind.  We closed on the house, picked up fast food (I don’t know WHY we thought we could eat there).  Anyways, I walked straight into the house and took a hammer straight to the “drywall”.  SURPRISE…it wasn’t drywall…it was basically cardboard.  A thin fiber board that was barely nailed to the wall.

The good news was it wasn’t crumbling plaster behind it (worst case scenario) but it was “shiplap” …it wasn’t HGTV pretty (and it’s actually tongue and groove…more on that some other time) but it would do and the price tag on creating that character from scratch would have been out of our budget.  We were thrilled to have found it on every.single.wall and ceiling.  The bad news was that it a) had some intense gaps in places and b) was covered in soot from the old stoves/fireplaces.

Probably the most rewarding part of demo was to look above the drop ceiling in the bedroom!

We took out nearly every wall covering, carpet, layers of linoleum flooring…it just kept going and going and going and going!

This is essentially what was left in the 4 rooms when we finished demo.

We severely underestimated the size of dumpster we would need.  If you ever reno a house, just get the biggest dumpster they will bring you…trust me, you’ll fill it.  We also found some issues that the inspector failed to identify in the inspection which was very frustrating…was it things that would have kept us from buying the house?  Probably not.  Was it stuff that would have been great to know on the front end? Obviously.  A foundation issue (isn’t there always one??) put us about 3 weeks behind schedule as we just stared at a giant hole in the floor wondering who we would pay to fix it.  Below is a picture after we took out all flooring…a rotten floor joist was here where the washing machine used to sit.

This hole really did sit here like this for at least two weeks….

We can’t say enough positive things about Cantey Foundation Specialists!!! Reasonably priced and they treated us like we were their #1 customer even though it’s likely we were their smallest.

The demo honestly seemed to go on forever as we took out walls, parts of walls, and kept deciding to expose more and more tongue and groove siding.  On the exterior we were paying a neighborhood guy $15/hour to clear the brush…that alone about put me in the grave as we started straight out the gate REALLY over budget on weed clearing (if you’ll remember, I personally didn’t think it was an eyesore….which is laughable).

During that first week we had to get a roof put on (we of course knew and planned for this) and they suggested taking out the chimney all together because the fire places had been cemented in and would never be used. We also have great things to say about Consumer First Roofing Company…we got several quotes and they were by far the NICEST and also most reasonable.

This demo hit everything….truly nothing was safe.  Next post I’ll show you a couple of ways we rearranged the layout to be more functional!

Like I mentioned in the last post our sweet Finley died 3 days into this project and things just felt so dark for a while…   He wasn’t new to the demo and renovation world, often keeping us company through various projects.   I resented this project for having me so distracted during the month leading up to his death that I felt like I didn’t play with him or talk to him enough.   I know in my heart that dogs don’t keep score like that but Blake and I both felt an enormous guilt for the way Fin had taken a back seat often to our kids and our projects…

This before and after of these same walls feels like a pretty accurate depiction of the transformation the house and our hearts went through together! 🙂

Demo is messy for sure and it’s easy to get carried away! When it comes time to actually pull out tiny little carpet staples and nails you realize just how big 850 sq feet is! Besides the obvious of gloves, glasses, and hammers, our favorite tools for demo are:

3M respirators






This saw






This nail puller