Adding A Faux Fireplace: Bedroom Edition!

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Do you recall, when last we spoke, I had just finished overhauling my bedroom closet? WELL. There have been further developments.

Making the closet all fancy and functional made me really want to turn my attention back to some loose ends in the bedroom, including a long-standing plan to install a mantel on this wall you see before you. Is it a priority? Not at all. But I’m working on various other things right now, so chipping away at a small project like this at home helps me feel like things are still progressing while my attention is elsewhere, ya know?

Originally, there was a chimney behind that wall (now removed to make space for the laundry machines!), and a big vent-hole-shaped patch job on the upper part of the wall leads me to believe there was some kind of stove in here (coal, I think?) to heat the room in the winter. This was before the house was fitted for radiators, and to be honest I’m a little unclear about how this stuff was set up.

Anyway. See how the baseboard is patched in down there, to the right of the closet door? And it doesn’t really match?

Yeah. I also see that. I have seen it everyday for years. I wake up in the morning looking at that terrible patch job and drift off to sleep looking at it, too. I didn’t fix it back when I renovated the bedroom a few years ago, thinking I’ll do something about that. Someday. 

Also problematic: those two very awkward outlets I had the electrician add years ago. At the time, I thought this was the most natural spot to put a bed, and having outlets just behind the headboard for lamps and phone chargers makes a lot of sense…but now they just look stupid. This was also before I found out that outlets in the baseboards—where they were usually placed old houses when they were first retrofitted for electric—were still allowable. I love baseboard outlets!

If you have a little electrical know-how, moving an outlet from a wall and into a baseboard isn’t too challenging, especially if the wiring is coming up from below rather than down from above. In the process, I cut off the supply to the outlet on the left so it could be eliminated, traced the new box on the baseboard, and got to work cutting out the hole!

OK, so I have a new tool friend to introduce you to. She goes by Dremel Multi-Max MM50, and she’s great. I’ve mentioned before the importance of having an oscillating saw for all sorts of common renovation tasks (cutting clean lines in plaster/drywall, under a door casing to install new flooring, cutting out hardwood flooring to patch holes, cutting through lath, shaving foam insulation before installing walls…). I finally bought one 4-ish years ago, and it’s an indispensable part of my toolkit—right there with the drill and the hammer and the pry bar. Up until now I’ve been working with an older Porter Cable model that I’ve always liked, so when Lowe’s asked if I’d give this Dremel version a try for this project, I agreed to try it but told them that I liked my current one and, basically, this better be good.

It is good! Dremel nailed it. The Multi-Max MM50 comes with a bunch of blades and accessories to get you started and even a nifty little carrying bag, so at $129 it’s a great value for everything that comes in the box. Those accessories add up fast when you have to buy them all individually, and having them included is a nice way to try out a bunch of them beforehand—some will prove more useful than others depending on what you’re doing, and you may find that you just like certain ones better than others as a matter of personal preference. So it’s nice to have a sampling.

If you’ve used another oscillating saw, you’ll notice a couple things right away with the Multi-Max MM50: the compact angled head (helpful for tight spaces!) and the motor. As you can see in the first photo in this post, the tool curves up at the end, which really helps with getting the cut you need when you’re up against a flat surface like the floor. It’s also just more comfortable and ergonomic to hold, which ultimately makes it safer to use since you aren’t putting your hands in awkward positions to do what you need to do.

The major, major difference between this multi-tool and all the ones I’ve used in the past is that it’s so smoooooth. It can be hard to control oscillating saws because they tend to vibrate a lot and jump all over the place, which is incredibly annoying when you’re trying to make clean, precise cuts (and when aren’t you, really?). I often end up with little knicks around where I was trying to cut that have to be filled later. Not so with the Dremel Multi-Max MM50! It was so easy to control that I could take photos with one hand while using the tool with the other, ha! I used this thing during every phase of this project and it made the work easier and faster, but also kept me from having to lug ALL the tools out since this little guy does so many things on its own. That’s a big deal when you’re trying to renovate in the room you sleep in!

After cutting out my rectangle, I drilled a drywall screw partway into the part of the wood I was removing and used my hammer to pry it out. From there, it was just a matter of pulling the cables through, inserting them through the back of a remodel box, and installing the remodel box into the baseboard. Then I just had to hook up the outlet, flip the power back on, and recheck my work to make sure I didn’t screw anything up. Success!

With the outlet out of the way, I assembled my supplies.

Almost two years ago now, I was driving down the road and passed by this little number. My first thought, of course, was WHY OH WHY OH WHY WOULD YOU TEAR THAT OUT? You can see a glimpse of the house it came out of in the background, which I’ve actually been inside, but that’s a whole different story. It’s spectacular and needs a ton of work. It dates from around 1800, but the interior details are very similar to my house and…anyway. I scurried home, measured, and was delighted to discover that the space I had was 4′ across, and this mantel was…4′ across. SOLD.

Welcome to my home, salvaged mantel. Now join the madness in this Hoard Room of Doom and I will call you when your time has come.

Almost a year later, I came across this random slab of marble at a yard sale. $10! I think I posted about this acquisition to Instagram stories to see if anyone had thoughts on what I could do with it. It’s 4′ wide and 16″ deep and…eventually someone suggested using it as a hearth. I think I said it was too small or something before realizing it’s actually…perfect for this someday-bedroom-fireplace-project. SORRY, SOMEONE. YOU ARE A GENIUS. THANK YOU FOR HAVING MY BACK.

The last piece of the puzzle was what to do with the large central opening in the mantel—you know, like where the fire would be. Since this is just a 2×4 partition wall, I definitely don’t have the depth for an actual firebox (it didn’t exist here originally, anyway), but still wanted to create the illusion of one. Otherwise it would just be a mantel tacked to the wall with drywall in the center—which you see a lot, by the way, in instances where fireplaces have been bricked up and plastered over in favor of more modern heat systems, but it always just looks to me like something that wants to be un-done and restored.

As it happens, this was the hardest thing to source because the fireplace opening is only 28″ across, and most of these cast iron surrounds are in the 30″-32″ range. On top of that, I needed to find one with a summer cover! The summer cover is that removable intricate metal grate that would have concealed the firebox in the summer when it wasn’t in constant use. Sometimes you can mix and match and create a pair that fits together, but I got lucky and found this matched set at a salvage place in town. I paid $125 for it. If you don’t have a salvage place at your disposal, places like eBay, Etsy, and online architectural salvage places are good for these kinds of parts, too.

This is totally the kind of project that is going to be a little different for everyone with lots of head-scratching and problem-solving along the way. That’s OK! There are no stakes! It’s called play, people! Have fun with it. My idea of fun is assembling a rag-tag collection of salvaged stuff and trying to make it all work nicely together. If your idea of fun is designing and building your own mantel from scratch, go for it! I’m not the boss of you!!

I removed the patched in baseboard. Even though we’re dealing with separate pieces, the amount of caulk and paint (and masking tape, it turned out!) between the two means that just going at it with a pry bar could carry the risk of damaging the original baseboard, which I was trying to preserve! Switching to the wood/metal blade, I just zipped the Multi-Max up the seams to break any bonds, which ended up including some unexpected nails driven in at an angle that attached the patch to the original board. Had I tried to just pry it off, I probably would have split the original baseboard and been so sad.

With the baseboard patch removed, I put the mantel in place and traced the shape of the firebox, where I’d be cutting out the plaster. I needed the extra depth to recess the metal fireplace surround enough for it to look right.

Switching to the drywall and wood blade, I went about cutting out the section of plaster I wanted to remove. So clean! I’ve had electricians make a REAL mess of plaster walls trying to run new lines or install electrical boxes with a hammer and a prayer, and now I insist that they use an oscillating saw for clean, easily-patchable cuts—even if it means borrowing mine. I’m really fun to have on a job site, according to me.

I put the mantel back into place, securing it temporarily to the wall with one screw. I pretty much dry-fitted things over and over again until it all worked.

Naturally, the floor in this room is rather sloped! I needed the left side to be about 1/2″ higher to make the mantel level, which means the right side could be 1/2″ lower and produce the same result.

I actually needed a slightly angled cut that would follow the slope of the floor rather than a perfect 90 degree cut. It worked nicely to place a piece of 1/2″ stock on the floor, and trace a line where it hit all the way around the part I needed to remove, and then just cut it out with the Multi-Max. Does that make sense? I switched back to the wood blade and zipped through it. This was approximately 900 times easier and faster than finagling this thing onto a pair of sawhorses and trying to do it with a circular saw.

Speaking of easy and fast: one of the major differences with these tools I haven’t mentioned is the ease of switching from one attachment to another. My first one actually needed a little allen wrench to change out the attachments—I MEAN, CAN YOU IMAGINE? Total pain. So easy to lose. Never again. The Multi-Max MM50, though, doesn’t need any tools—you just turn that knob on the top and press the blue button in the middle, put on a new blade, and turn the knob back to tighten. Nice! In fairness, my Porter Cable’s tension design for changing attachments is even more fast and seamless than the Dremel’s, but all-around this is still the better tool because of the aforementioned compact angled head and lack of vibration.

With the mantel leveled off, I put the marble hearth in place! It actually looked pretty nice just sitting on top of the floor, but I knew making it flush with the hardwood would be a lot nicer to live with and just look more authentic. Luckily the marble is the exact thickness (about 3/4″) of the hardwood floor, so this was not difficult. I used painter’s tape to mark the edges, pushing the marble toward the wall enough so that the front would align with the existing seam between two boards.

Back to the wood and metal blade! I wasn’t sure if I’d run into any nails (I did!) so using this blade was a safe bet. Steady hand, patience, and a good tool!

A note on these blades: they do wear out, sometimes rather quickly depending on what you’re cutting. This old yellow pine is pretty dense, so I used one blade just on cutting out this flooring. In theory the tool can handle a lot, but for cuts much bigger than this I’d likely want to break out the circular saw and just use the multi-tool for the first and last few boards to extend the life of the multi-tool blades. Those wood/metal blades are about $17 a pop, so it’s something to think about! Of course, in some situations—cutting the bottom of a door casing to slip new flooring underneath, for instance—a multi-tool is pretty much your only option unless you want to use a manual flush-cut saw like it’s the 18th century.

With the cross-cuts made and the boards removed, I again used the Multi-Max to shave off the remaining tongue on the last board so the marble will sit right up to the wood without a big gap.

LOOKS LIKE PROGRESS RIGHT?! I can’t wait to refinish these floors.

I ended up removing the lath from the area behind the summer cover, too, and building this simple little plywood box to the depth of the wall and painting it black. Totally winging it at this point. Making it work. I promise it was all making sense in my head. Mostly. I changed course a few times on how I wanted to do things.

Finally, time for the part I’d been dreading all along: getting the mantel paint-ready! There was quite a bit of flaking paint, and even some weird textured paint or old adhesive or something on the top, so I switched to a flexible scraper blade to try to address it!

To be honest with you, I’m not sure under what circumstances this blade would be more effective or preferable to manual scraping. It didn’t work well for me. I switched to the rigid scraper blade, but that might have been worse…too little pressure and it didn’t really do anything, too much pressure and it would gauge the wood. Maybe I’m missing something? I’m not sure. Scraping paint is a generally sucky task so I had hoped this would make it easier/faster, but I ended up just spending the hour and a half manually scraping and called it a day. Mask, on!

When I strip paint, generally, I don’t worry too much about going down to bare wood—for me it’s more about promoting good adhesion than making the piece look brand new when it’s repainted. Maybe it’s the years of living in NYC, but I think a little paint build-up on woodwork is nice.

With the mantel in place and secured with long screws into the studs in a few places, the last thing to do was remove the little section of baseboard to the left of the mantel. Ha! I was off by an inch. You’ll notice also that the hearth stone is about 1/2″ too long, but it’s not noticeable once the baseboard is patched.

This is why you NEVER throw away original trim! When you’re dealing with such limited quantity, even very small scraps can be worth saving for exactly this kind of thing. This piece came out of the bedroom when I put in the new window! Back from whence it came.

On the back of the metal surround, there are little holes that would have originally held these long metal hooks to keep the thing in place, but those are long gone. I just used a little picture frame wire, leaving that little hoop at the end for a drywall screw to secure it to that black plywood frame.

Like I said. You’ll figure it out. Trust yourself.

This wall is REALLY uneven. Back when I renovated this room, I definitely recall thinking that when I got around to the mantel project, I’d just demo the plaster altogether. Most of the original plaster in my house is in great shape, but the years have not been kind to this wall. But it seems to be generally stable from Round 1 of renovations on this space, and I think I embrace imperfection more than I used to. Anyway, rather than just caulk the gaps (which I did downstairs and regret), I skimmed out the wall around the fireplace with Quick-Set Lite 45 to make it look like it’s always been there. It’s such a small thing but I really think it makes a difference in this case! To keep dust to a minimum (still the only bedroom!), I came back as the joint compound was setting up, misted it with water, and smoothed it with my trowel.

I didn’t go crazy on patching compound on the mantel, but I did fill in the screw holes and some of the large dents at the bottom on each side. I love this 3M Patch Plus stuff for filling little stuff, by the way—seriously the best patching compound I’ve used, PLUS it dries really fast. Technology!

I used the little sander attachment for the Multi-Max to quickly smooth down the patches. I wasn’t sure I’d like this any better than my mouse sander, but it’s great. It has no trouble being up against a corner, and it’s powerful and precise and awesome. The Multi-Max comes with a ton of different grit sanding pads, too.

AND SO. A little caulk, primer, and paint. Bungee, what say you?

This dog never looks impressed. He kind of has RBF. Tell me I’m wrong.

This wall is awkward for furniture (that bedside table is 2′ wide, for reference) and big art felt kind of imposing, but I think the mantel really feels nice. It also makes the room feel more appropriately formal, which as the master bedroom it ought to be! Much like when I pulled this same nonsense one floor down in the living room, I feel like it’s given the room some missing sense of order.

In a house where so much stuff is original, I really love these little fantasy kinds of projects. Is it historically accurate? No, not really, I don’t think, but I think it could probably fool me if I didn’t know better, and that’s what’s fun about it! When you’re missing original charm, playing pretend is A-OK in my book.

I thought it would be cool to throw a huge mirror up there, but I think this one is too huge. I think it feels better in real life than it looks in photos, maybe. Once in a while I get a burst of weird energy and move all the stuff on my walls around, so…eh. I’ll live with it for a bit. That thing is super heavy.

Thank goodness this struggling plant has a place to live now. Bungee thought it would be fun to destroy as a puppy and it’s been fighting for its life ever since. I got the pot at an estate sale a couple of weeks ago. The little blob (pear?) came by chance in a box lot I bid on at an auction and I kinda dig it. The little bust is of my dog Linus, and was made by a client shortly after he passed away. I love it.

I’m so happy this project is done and the parts to do it are no longer floating around the house! Of course now the bedroom feels different (bigger! fancier!) and I like the direction it’s going. I’d love to replace the bed with something a bit heavier and higher off the floor, and someday I’ll find the perfect side tables, and rug, and lighting situation, and learn how to arrange my bed linens Blogger Style, and then all my problems will be solved.


164 Comments

  1. Love this project so much! It gives your space so much character. And, yes! to a bit of paint lumps & bumps on mounding…a beautiful thing is never perfect. Enjoy you faux fire:)

  2. Your blog posts/insta stories give me life! Your writing style is a joy to read and always makes me laugh! Bonus, you are super talented and that mantel is the bomb, love it!!!!

  3. The fireplace is gorgeous. I love it. The marble is beautiful, the summer cover is beautiful, I love the simple lines on the mantle, I love the simple styling you gave it, everything.

    Also I teared up a bit at the little bust of Linus. He seemed like a really great pup.

    • The best pup. I miss him everyday! But it’s nice to have a little reminder of him close to me when I sleep…which he always was in life. :)

  4. Oh bravo Daniel! Excellent as always.

  5. Wow, it looks fantastic! Don’t you just LOVE it when you can finally put all those things that you’ve been saving together? xxx

  6. This is pretty amazing. It looks great. Like it’s always been there. Why not add some fantasy gravitas?

    That Multi-Max is following me. I saw it for the first time today on another random YouTube. Very cool.

  7. I got this tool when we bought our farm house and IT IS THE BEST! I use it ALLLL the time, but the best was using it for the tiny corners when sanding our floors.

    • Nice!! And yes the sander works SO well in corners, and doesn’t bump and mark up the other side of the corner like the mouse sander! A true miracle.

  8. Simply lovely. A fireplace can make all the difference in making a room feel cozy.

  9. The fireplace is absolutely stunning! You certainly rock.

  10. That marble is so beautiful and I think the mirror is perfect there. You have great taste and sense of style; everything looks effortless, not overdone/overstyled. I’ve enjoyed reading and following you since NYC and look forward to everything you do and reading about your animals, too.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  11. Is it wrong to feel satisfied on your behalf? Using up those random, homeless items to make a fancy faux fireplace just makes me happy. I hate waste and love it when things come together like this! Well done, you!

    • How can it be wrong if it feels so right?! hahaha. By far my least favorite part of renovating is the inevitable waste—it always feels good to do a project that uses more “waste” than it creates! (not that any of these things are waste, but being put back to good use instead of just laying around, ya know what I mean!)

  12. So beautiful! I do think the mirror is a bit too big but you’ll find the right and perfect one thrifting some day! I have an entire wall of mirrors of various sizes, shapes, eras and materials….the less perfect the better! The perfect one will find you! Don’t you think it is more fun when it comes together slowly….anyone can decorate from a big box store but It takes time and imagination to do it right…imho.

    • Oh man, one of these days I gotta do a mirror round-up—I have SO MANY (totally with you on the imperfections—we can never shop together because we’ll be fighting over the same crusty old mirror, haha!), I think to the point that I might have too many options?! And then I get overwhelmed by options? Because they’re all beautiful?? I suppose there are worse problems. ;)

      • Yikes! Obviously a true believer deeply invested in your work. Had to come back to comment after reading your impressive post yesterday. I think the mirror is fine. Maybe it could be be hung just a little bit higher, giving just a little more separation, breathing room from the mantel, at the bottom. Same as when you frame a photo and it usually looks better when the bottom of the matte is thicker than the top, better presentation. Or maybe you are thrown off due to so many squares, rectangles and 90 degree corners in the room: bed, door, fireplace, hearth and so forth. Perhaps a round mirror would soften all the angles?

  13. GASP this is A. Mazing. And with so much serendipity involved, I love it. I agree with the mirror though, I could really see a couple of your beautiful distressed mirrors from your collection leaning on that mantle – something frameless with a lovely edge shape, with maybe a smaller one alongside?

    I also got a little teary at that little Linus bust. How completely precious.

    • I think that would look nice, totally! I think what I’m a little stumped on is a vertical element of some kind to the right…plant? weaving? a couple nice prints one on top of the other? So this was totally a “when in doubt, hang a huge mirror and just let that simmer” moment, haha.

  14. Wow. Just Wow. Love it.

  15. Silly blogger! All your problems will never be solved, because you keep making up new ones! Thank goodness, because the solutions are so fun to read about. Absolutely adore this. Everything! I love the way you saved all the marble and the mantle for so long until you could put them together perfectly. Room looks fabulous.

  16. As a parent I know how proud your parents are of you. And I always enjoy your posts.

  17. Wow, that looks so great! I love how you foraged for all the pieces; like, you could shop to the ends of the internet and still never do this as beautifully with retail products.

    And I love the mirror too. It’s simple and unexpected and mimics the form of your bed-frame really beautifully.

  18. Elevates the room so much! And I personally love the huge mirror. It all looks so clean and like it’s been there forever.

    • Agreed! It’s like adding another window with the light it bounces and how large it is.

      • I did that too, haha! That window on the adjacent wall was added just a few years ago…shhhhhhhh.

  19. Daniel that looks fan tastic, and I’ve been envious of your mirror collection for years. Nice.

  20. Looks amazing! And it totally looks like it has always been there. I love how, when I see you redesign one of your rooms, I am always a little disappointed at first, but then I love the new set up so much I get jealous. Me: “Oh no, don’t change this! It’s perfect the way it is!” Also Me, after seeing redesign: “IT IS MAGNIFICENT. NEVER CHANGE THIS AGAIN.” Thanks for always supplying me with design envy whiplash, Daniel! You are fantastic.

  21. I really like the faux fireplace. And I really enjoy your blogs (vs. Insta stories). I like to go back, re-read and compare before and after pics. Thank you for not stopping the blog.

    • Thanks, Bonnie! Blog posts take me a long time, but they’re still my favorite way to share—”microblogging” will just never be the same! So you’ll be dealing with me for a gooooood long while on this here website :)

  22. I think a big circle mirror would look great over the mantle! And man, I need a new Dremel. The one I have spit a blade out while I was using it. Thankfully it didn’t hit me or anything but like… that was scary, and I haven’t used it since! This one looks like it wouldn’t betray me like that.

    • I agree! I almost went with a big horizontal oval but wanted to see how this one played…and then after it was up didn’t want to face taking it back down, haha!

      Re: old dremel—oh god, that’s not supposed to happen!!! This one is super secure, as long as you remember to tighten the knob fully after you change the blade! Glad everyone lived to tell the tale!

      • I think the mirror looks fine, though round or oval is also nice. I had a round mirror above my (original, never been wood-burning, likely had a coal or gas burning insert originally, fireplace mantle) – I didn’t know that I was looking for a round mirror to hang there, but when I walked past it at a stoop sale, I immediately knew it was the right thing for that spot (I ran home and measured to make sure the size was good, and back and bought it.) It was old, and cheap (I love Brooklyn stoop sales), and was frameless, with a little bevel at the edge to make it look fancy I really didn’t want to add something with a frame, and it worked great.

        I thought I liked the big art wall, but this is so much nicer – and all the better with no toe-stubbing!

  23. So nice!

  24. Perfection, Daniel! I think the mirror is the proper size b/c of the mass of the armoire.
    Don’t change a thing…

  25. Oh. My. Glob. I praise you, Earthman! Love the mantel! Great job! It’s faux-tasting! “Decorative” mantels are very often unintentional eyesores.

  26. Gorgeous!

  27. Looks beautiful. I would have never thought you need a different mirror or different nightstands – looks so complete and ready for a magazine shoot (including obligatory cute dog.) Now I want to come up with a project to use that cute tool.

    • Aw, thanks! I don’t know what it is about this room…it just hasn’t felt right yet! But it’s totally comfy and functional so there’s no rush…the right things will come with time. :)

  28. WOW! This looks fabulous!

  29. Thanks for sharing such a great project! Looks wonderful!

  30. you continue to amaze… gorgeous and looks like it has been there for decades!
    curious as to how the little cottage/house is going….

  31. And you thought you were fancy before. This is amazing and fancy af.

  32. That looks great. In fact, I love it. Bonus points for including pups in as many photos as possible.

  33. Wow, nice work Daniel.

    I like what that mantel does to your room. it does add a bit of formality to the space, but I also like the Nelson saucer pendent for the ceiling fixture and the more modern furniture in the space, I like that contrast that is seen here, but that’s me though.

    Keep it up!

  34. Gorgeous! The mirror is a great size. You just need an antique valet (suit stand) in that corner and it’s done… maybe with two floral sketches framed vertically above it on that wall.

    • I was thinking a couple of framed sketches on that wall! I didn’t love the scale of anything I already own, so I GUESS I’ll just have to keep an eye out. ;)

  35. Fabulous! It looks like it was always there./ I confess, I was worried that you were going to lay that slab on top of the floor, and I was picturing stubbed toes for the ages. But you did it right. Great job.

    • Haha! I think if I did that I’d never live it down. The internet is very sensitive to potential toe-stubbers, I’ve learned. I can’t have that kind of controversy!

  36. So beautiful!! I would love waking up to that view everyday. I absolutely adore your tutorials!

  37. Looks so good! Great job and THANK YOU for the inspiration.

  38. Wow…what a fantastic job you did…and I think the mirror looks great there, btw. Thank you for including all of the steps you had taken to create this and for photographing it so beautifully. I have a Dremel tool that I inherited from my dad, but I don’t think I can do all the neat stuff with it like with your Dremel Multi Tool. It’s a rotary Dremel that came with lots of attachments and I think a tiny circular saw blade, but it probably can’t do what your one can…

    • Nice! It sounds more heavy-duty, like for angle grinding metal and stuff like that. Super useful too! It might just be a matter of buying the right accessories to get the extra functionality out of it.

      • Yeah, Dremel’s first tool was the tiny rotary tool, with tiny saw blades, grinders, polisher pads, etc . They are small- mostly used by crafters like model-makers, jewellers, engravers… For a long time “dremel” was pretty much the name for that kind of tool (like Band-aids and Kleenex)! Then Dremel invented (pretty sure they invented it?) the oscillating multi-tools like shown above, which are awesome. But it totally confuses those who remember Dremel meaning their original tool! (The tiny versions are on Lowes site too).

        I have a super cheap Harbor Freight version of the oscillating multi-tool that I use all the time It really is such a useful tool. Yours sounds much more lux, but- Lowe’s don’t hate me- $20 on sale at HB was a steal. :}

  39. Absolutely gorgeous! There is something about having a mantle in a bedroom. Ours are the closed up old coal ones, so no firebox and especially no fire, but they still allow me to imagine myself snuggled up next to a crackling, romantic fire every night.

    • Yes! I’ve never had a functioning wood-burning fireplace in my life, but I think just having the mantel as a focal point can add so much to a space. It gives you something to organize the room around and just feels good, I don’t know how to describe it!

  40. Here’s why the big mirror works for me. The scale of the wardrobe and the height of the door mimic the window height so the mirror continues the line so your eye is happy. Think about that before you change it.

    It looks FABULOUS.

    And yes, total RGB face.

  41. Just spectacular. I’m always excited when you post… not just for the projects but for the writing as well! Thanks for bringing us all along on the journey!!

  42. As always, I love your content! This fireplace is lovely and really suits the room. I’m sitting at my desk now seriously contemplating changes to my bedroom/dressing room setup. I have the second most useless closet in the world in my bedroom. I think you’ve inspired me to knock out a wall, Daniel!

  43. That’s a stunner! And great inspiration for me & the three (!) corner fireplaces I want to add to my 1904 Queen Anne. Wood or coal stoves in every room originally – Bellingham WA was a lumber & coal town – but I love the way a fireplace can really make the room.

    I must know the paint color for your bedroom! So perfect.

    • Ohhhhh, gorgeous! I love a Victorian corner fireplace. Swoon!

      It’s Ben Moore’s Oil Cloth! Trim is Simply White. Both were color-matched at Lowe’s for Valspar Reserve interior paint, which is great stuff and much less expensive than BM. Weirdly, and I have no idea why, I did the same thing a couple years ago but with a quart instead of a gallon, and the color was WAY off. I don’t know if it was the different size or just a bad mix, so, idk, do with that what you will!

  44. This is perfection, Daniel! Just stunning.

  45. You’re a genius! It looks wonderful. I love how “perfect” you finish everything. Just gorgeous.

  46. Perfection at it’s finest! I ADORE this new addition to the room, it really feels right! As well as the one you did downstairs!

  47. I need you to send some good salvaging juju my way. The prior owners stripped all the charm and character from my home and I’m on a mission to slowly bring it back. This looks absolutely charming.

    • SENDING! Let me know if you need help with anything—that kind of project can be SO fun and gratifying but overwhelming too. Cheering you on!

  48. Glad to hear you are embracing the imperfections a little more! I don’t know if it’s age (DGAF anymore) or wisdom (shouldn’t GAF anymore) (maybe those are just my excuses??) but either way, I love that you added something non-original to the space, but managed to make it look like it was always there. Any yay for salvaging parts the whole way through.

  49. Well done. Just Beautiful. Have to go to Lowe’s today anyway, probably adding the Multi Max tool to my cart.

  50. WOW!!! Absolutely gorgeous! And just PERFECT in the room!

  51. It looks lovely! I love how you keep working on making this house right for you, while somehow doing right by the house as well.
    And now I also want that tool. No idea what I would use it for, but my mother always says the projects will come if you have the tool :D

  52. Until today, I’ve hated every faux fireplace I’ve ever seen. You took the time to make it look like it had really always been there and it looks great.

  53. Until today, I’ve hated every faux fireplace I’ve ever seen. You took the time to make it look like it had really always been there and it looks great.

  54. That is gorgeous. You are amazing.

  55. WHOA, this looks like a million bucks. Charm for days, using up old things, and goodbye to wonky patch job — I love it all. Good work!

  56. Do you ever just sit and wonder: how the hell am I so amazing? Because this is so damn good!

  57. Amazing Daniel! Totally transforms the room. I love that these are all things you’ve gathered over so many years. Such awesome history!

  58. You are the best at sponsored posts! I mean, you’re such a great writer naturally, but I feel like you really pull these off, and that’s hard to do. Lowe’s is lucky to have you!

    • I’d like to second this comment – some other blogs I follow have quite a bit of sponsored content and I feel like I’m reading a commercial regularly. It’s made me like their blog less. Thank you for being so authentic.

    • Thank you guys, I really appreciate that! I try real hard! A lot of that credit definitely goes to Lowe’s, too—they provide so much freedom to let me do what I want to do and how I want to do it (and write about it), which is exactly how these partnerships should work IMHO. :)

  59. Damn, I love your fireplace! Well done!! Wow. The first pic you share of it where it’s soft in the background it took me a minute to be like “…OMG THAT’S IT”. Thanks for sharing this project. I truly appreciate what you do in your home.

  60. I think this is one of my favorite projects – I can’t believe how all of those pieces came together so beautifully! Well done!!

  61. Looks great and gives (even) more character to your bedroom. Nice attention to detail to set the marble into the floor too. And as ever, your writing is fantastic!

  62. Looks so nice! And I think that mirror is perfect.

  63. It. Looks. Amazing.

  64. Wow, thats really awesome, especially together with the cupboard!

  65. I love it. You are a genius.

  66. I LOVE this! I’m so glad you saved that mantle and made it your own. That summer cover is perfection! It may not be original but it feels like it was meant to be there. When I saw the photo on your IG I thought that you spruced up an original fireplace I never realized was there.

    Also, smart to make that marble flush with the floor. You’d have a lot of bruised toes if not.

  67. This is my favorite project in your house so far and all the better because it comes from rescued parts, each with an unknowable history. Then you popped that mirror on top with its nod to this era and made it perfect. Thanks for this post. It was worth waiting an eternity and obsessively checking every day for!
    Pat

  68. I just love it :) And I really like the mirror, I think it balances out the armoire! Such a nice job Daniel…………you’ve got skills!

  69. It turned out awesome! I love how you totally justify my hoarding tendencies. Also, this Dremel apparently solves both of the issues I hate about my current DeWalt multitool. Looks like it’s going next on my must-have tool list, right after the table saw!

    P.S. Ten bucks for that piece of marble?!! So damn jealous.

  70. it’s really beautiful and gives your room that real grace those houses have. the mirror is beautiful.
    so happy to see the plant survived the puppy attack, the lovely little bust of linus, and that huge slathering hairy black and white animal. what happened to baby bungee?

  71. The fireplace looks absolutley amazing! So perfect and classy.
    I’m always so impressed with your hard work.
    Your dogs are totes adorbs.

  72. Just want to chime in that it looks amazing! Great work!

  73. Looks fantastic Daniel! So much to take in on this little project. First…. I love that you ‘winged it’ when it came to figuring out challenges as they come up. That is a true skill, and unfortunately many people don’t possess it. BTW, it would most certainly have been a coal fireplace originally, they were relatively efficient and took up a lot less space than wood burning.

    I am faced with similar issues of long missing fireplaces. Our house had six at one time, and now only has one (in the parlor) which is really a heat duct for the forced air furnace. I love it nonetheless. I plan to do the same thing in our master bedroom.

    • Nice! I guess my confusion about the coal is that this was just a tall narrow chimney—no fireboxes upstairs or downstairs, but vent holes near the top of the wall. So my assumption has been a little freestanding stove in front of a mantel, but I don’t know if that’s right! What do you think?

  74. Wow, beautiful work. The hearth and summer cover are such nice touches!

  75. You killed it! The mantel, the marble, that summer cover – gorgeous. They look so stunning! Well done!!!

  76. Wow that looks great! It all came together so beautifully! Love reading about it. Thanks for the post, and I’m heading out to buy that tool asap. What about just hanging the mirror vertically?
    PS love those pups

    • Exactly the same thought than you about hanging the mirror vertically, it would look more elegant – if only possible!
      Congratulations, good work, beautiful result!

  77. Looks amazing, and that little bust of Linus is everything. What a special gift. I rent and won’t be cutting out plaster or floor boards anytime soon, but you sold me on the Dremel!

  78. I wanted to do this in our living room but we got a piano instead. My husband has never forgiven me.
    You do amazing work. The mantel looks like it has always been there. Just right. I wouldn’t have stressed about the baseboard–part of the house’s history–but it really does look better now.
    Thank you for all the explanations about the tools. My dad taught my brothers all that stuff, and I was assigned to follow my mom around. Stereotypes. Anyway, you are so clear in your descriptions, it really helps.

  79. Always so satisfying to see these little projects you do. The marble hearth totally makes it! Btw that is a ZZ Plant. Every part of them is supposed to be toxic to dogs, cats and children. How is Bungee still alive??

    • Yikes! Luckily he was more into destroying the plant than actually eating it, so I guess that’s why! Glad to have it out of reach regardless!

  80. Damn Daniel, this looks amazing! I love that you sunk in the hearth, it looks excellent. By the way, I painted my bedroom the same color (copying you) and I love it. Thanks for the inspiration

  81. It looks BEAUTIFUL!

  82. Beautifully done. It looks like it was meant to be there. We added French doors to the office in our historic home (and painted the doors black thanks to your genius and me reading your blog). Everyone thinks they are original and it’s fun to tell them they are from Craigslist!

    • Haha! So funny—I’m the king of doing all this stuff to make things look original, but then being too eager to explain what I did to just let people think it really is. “Oh those ceiling medallions? THEY’RE MADE OF FOAM, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!” Doh!

  83. I’m so glad that you recognize that Bungee has RBF. I didn’t want to be the one to point that out about your child. :) Looks fantastic!

  84. That was a great project. And a great solution to the baseboard mismatch. My tip for uses of those scraper blades is that they work great for scraping really thick paint on exterior trim and especially window sills. I’ve been reglazing lots of fixed and casement windows on the first floor and doing them in place. I also have many thick coats of paint on the sills that is cracking but not loose enough for a pull scraper. I’ve heat gunned that off, but I found it is even faster to use the scraper blade in my oscillating saw and much of the paint pops off to bare wood. It does sometimes gouge, but I don’t care out there. I do care inside, cause I have patching OCD.

    • Thank you, that’s helpful!! I have that issue on my sills too, I’ll try it out. I also have to scrape some old adhesive/mastic off walls and thought it might work well for that. I may eat my words!

  85. imagine there are surprises galore in that cottage! as always it will be wonderful when you tell the tale!

  86. Wow, Daniel. And the marble hearth is genius!

  87. Looks amazing. Love the mirror there too, doesn’t look too big to me!

  88. How the hell did everything magically work out to be the exact width and thicknesses you need?! It’s pure magic. Dark magic if you ask me.
    Also, that whole fireplace is gorgeous and Bungee shares my RBF.

  89. Wow! I loved reading this every step of the way! I especially appreciate how you made the hearth flush with the flooring; what a lovely detail. This is also very timely, as I have replaced all the baseboards in my entire house, and have been dreading/stalling on filling and finishing all the little nail holes. The 3M Patch Plus Primer and Dremel sander head should save me hours – I’m almost looking forward to it! Thank you thank you!

    • YES—it is PERFECT for that job! It sands really easily and smoothly, dries hard and fast…it’s a revelation. I have like three cans of Ready Patch in the basement that honestly might just end up in the trash. It has a weird consistency and takes a little getting used to, but trust me and stick with it for a bit! It’s great.

  90. Oh my god, so fancy. And yummy.

  91. What about moving the bed so the fireplace is at the foot?

    • I’ve thought about it, but there’s a radiator on the wall opposite the fireplace, so that makes things tricky…it would either have to move or be eliminated and ugh, what a pain. haha. Also then the armoire would have to move and I don’t know where it would go! It’s an oddly challenging room to lay out. I always want it to be like 16″ wider in either direction, but I don’t have the stomach to move walls at this stage.

  92. This is a real wow project. So much imagination, thought, care, sourcing, execution. I love it.

  93. You did such a great job! Looks fabulous xx

  94. Oh my WOW! You never fail to amaze me. Oh yes and make it look very simple. Haha! It is gorgeous!

  95. love it!

  96. This is beautiful. The little dremel is so great and the results are amazing. Bungee has a sweet look, not RBF.

  97. This is the best! Love how much character it adds to your room – congratulations, so much vision.

  98. Daniel..that is fucking awesome!

  99. You’ve done some amazing work here – it looks stunning! I would never have guessed the fireplace hadn’t been there all along! Well done!

  100. Gorgeous work, Daniel!!
    Hey, what happened to your army-blanket upholstered bed? I loooooved it.

    • Ah, sadly long gone! It stayed in the Brooklyn apartment when my ex and I broke up (he still lives there!) but it’s since been replaced. It was a full-size though, and now that I have a queen I can’t imagine going back! I do miss having an upholstered headboard, though.

  101. I want to know where those bedside tables are from! I know you say you’re still on the hunt for your perfect one, but I have that same bedframe and am still hunting for something that would work, and this looks pretty darn good to me.

    • It’s with a tinge of shame that I admit—they’re IKEA kitchen cabinets!! I guess I should do a little post on them. They have a marble pastry board sitting on top and are sitting on the tops of the little teak side tables I had here before “until I build a real base.” LOL. But they’re very functional! I require bedside storage—I don’t understand how people survive without.

      • Kudos! (Seems lame in the face of such genius).
        Do you have enough space in front of the armoire to pull your bed out from the wall a bit? Maybe you could put a shelf behind the top of a great upholstered head board that you will make yourself, and then dispense with the side tables. They sadly obscure much of the excellent trim below your windows.

  102. Oh Daniel, you’ve done it again! This mantel is perfection. Houses are living beings and have to change to fit the needs and wants of the current inhabitants. Fantasy details that are in keeping with the style of the house are perfectly okay! I did that in several places in my house. The old ice box turned into a wine rack. The next door neighbors were throwing out original glass front cabinets that got turned into a buffet/desk in my dining room. The tiny trunk room got turned into the master bath, and a powder room below that on the main floor. None of it was original, but they were worked seamlessly into the house As long as you keep the details consistent, it works. And you’ve done a beautiful job here, and your writing voice is so compelling. Such a joy to read your blog!

  103. I read all of the comments and was surprised to see that only a few mentioned Bungee’s RBF. I was just staring back at him in the picture thinking he had a “What are you looking at, a$$hole?!” look on his face when I read your RBF comment. Made me snort! I agree with everyone that your fireplace looks absolutely fabulous and that you are a very talented soul all around. Also, your mom is hilarious. Thank you for sharing!

  104. Looks awesome! As always. Love that you found a home, even if temporary, for part of your mirror hoard as well.

  105. Looks incredible! So elegant and feels like it should have been there all along.

    I HELD MY BREATH when you were cutting that floor though. Nice job!

  106. That wall next to the mantle looks great with the relocated outlet! I’d say you were lucky to find all the the pieces that worked out just right for this project but that’s all part of the slow renovation where you have an idea and keep an eye out for the materials you need. At least that’s what I tell myself now that my kitchen/bath renovations are stretching into year 12.

    Speaking of 12 years, I just noticed similar patches in the baseboard and door casings in my stripped breakfast nook and now I’m trying to figure out what kind of benches they had that extended into the door casing. Or did they only protrude partway but when they were removed the casing was patched all the way down? But it also took me over a decade to notice the patches – and they aren’t that great, there is a very obvious horizontal seam and the nail holes weren’t puttied. Why couldn’t they just leave the built in benches in the nook? Now I have to build new ones! (at least they left me the table in the basement).

  107. Daniel,
    I just spent my entire evening reading through every blog post of your Kingston House since you purchased the property haha. As a fellow enthusiast of architectural history and the restoration of Victorian homes, this blog is absolutely everything! The faux fireplace looks amazing by the way!
    -Nick

  108. Sublime!
    And, as always, reading a new post from you feels like a gift.

  109. “…then all my problems will be solved.” Throw in world peace and evicting the orange bum from the White House, too, while you are at it! Great project, btw.

  110. i was so happy to see a new post! and your faux fireplace is beautiful!

  111. This is my favorite project of yours to-date! It’s so authentically YOU.

  112. This looks fantastic!

  113. I absolutely LOVE this project! It totally vamps up your bedroom and takes it to the next level! I love your closet makeover as well, and very savvy of you to think of using kitchen cabinets instead of the standard stuff!
    Back to your bedroom, that fireplace looks like it was always supposed to be there. It’s amazing how you have an eye for these things!

    Admiring you from Chattanooga, TN!

  114. I am very late to comment, but I have to say that this is brilliant and I think I am going to copy it in my own house. For twenty years, we’ve had an antique mantel leaning against the wall in our living room. It was left behind by the previous owners and while I know there is an actual brick chimney in the wall behind the mantle, I don’t think there was ever a real fireplace there. I think it just vented a coal furnace or something. Anyway, what you’ve done here would be the perfect solution in our living room, and also the bedroom above.

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