Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Faux Fireplace- All Done!

Welcome back to This Old House- McFarland Version! This post is heavy on pictures, so I'll try to keep it light on words. The great news is this project turned out amazing, but it did end up requiring more time than I had originally planned. All in all, it probably took about 7 days. Since my labor costs were nil, we came in way under budget for this project. We found the fireplace surround and mirror for $60 at the Restore, all the stones for $45 total and the supplies/wood from Home Depot was about $30. This gives me a grand total cost of $125.  A steal of a deal if you ask me. But let's pick up where we left off and finish this baby.

Here is the surround all cleaned up. Every ding and dent has been filled and sanded down until smooth.

This is where things slowed down considerably. I decided to use a semi-gloss paint on the fireplace because I wanted it to match the paneling in the dining room. I ended up having to use three coats of paint to get good coverage. Each coat of paint needed a full day to dry before I could move on. This added 3 days to the whole process. Once I knew it was completely dry, we were able to make some headway.

When we put in our first fireplace in Denver, my sister's friend suggested we put a mirror in the opening to reflect the light and make it appear more authentic. It worked like a charm, so I wanted to do the same with this project. Here is the mirror Graham found for $10 at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore- a super bargain!

We carefully unscrewed it from the frame and gave it a quick cleaning.

Here we are again using Liquid Nails. This stuff is the bomb! We applied a bead around the fireplace opening, being careful not to get any on the front surface of the surround.

We gently placed the mirror over the opening and pressed firmly to make good contact with the adhesive. Afterwards, I used professional grade weights (*cough, cough *) to hold everything in place until I was confident the glue was completely dry.

Because we wanted to use a mirror in the fireplace, this complicated our options when it came to securing everything to the wall. In the end, we decided to use a 1" x 3" strip across the back of the mantle to do the job. We countersunk 4 screws into the strip, affixing it to the mantle.  After that, we drilled pilot holes through the strip into the studs in the wall. Then used three #8 screws to secure the strip to the studs. This baby ain't going anywhere!  And finally, I topped off the countersunk screw holes with filler, let it dry, and touched up the paint. 

And here it is all done! I definitely need to get a candelabra for the pillars.  This will give it weight and make it look more finished, but I wanted to show you how snazzy everything looks with lit candles in the opening. Not quite a roaring fire, but in the ball park. 

Now that this job is all done, I'm ready to move on to the next. I've got some open dates on my calendar. I think I'll give Norm Abrams a call.


  1.'s awesome, beautiful, etc.,etc., etc.!!!!! You'll have to go to the awesome flee markets up there. I'll ask John the ones we use to go to. Amazing finds and cheep. Can't find antiques like the northeast has in Texas.

    1. I need to know where the good flea markets are! I am all about cute and cheap :-)