21 September 2012

Up To Here With Aphorisms

aka Fireplace Makeover

Aw, man, you guys, I looked high and low for a quote from Stargate for this post - Teal'c at one point said something about a proverb about "the futility of enumerating unhatched chickens".  I think we're just going to have to go with "don't judge a book by its cover" on this one, though:

is that not the ugliest crap?  I was so afraid. 

By the same token, let us remember to never, ever judge a wet coat of paint.  We all know that most of the time, paint dries darker. Except when it doesn't. And when it dries to a completely different color.  And we all know that sometimes, the first coat of paint in a 3-step process is just going to look like complete ass, and that you have to accept it and keep going.

This is chalkboard paint.  I could have left it as-is after painting, but I wanted the soft, cloudy appearance of a chalkboard, so I "primed" the tiles the way you do with a new piece of chalkboard slate, or a newly-painted chalkboard using chalkboard paint (rub the side of a piece of chalk all over the surface in big wide strokes, then buff it all off with an eraser or a soft rag. This fills the teeny gaps and pits in this semi-porous surface, so the first marks on the board don't set in so deeply they can't be erased).  I also went back over the grout with a dark gray paint, so it wouldn't be so stark looking.

After chalking the tiles - and yes, I could write on them at this point if I wanted to - they're finally taking on exactly the look I'd envisioned for the fireplace.  After eight years of a fireplace tiled in bland, beige, ceramic tile, I now have a deep charcoal-gray "slate" tile - it's really dark!  It's kind of startling.  And it changes the visual balance of the entire room.

I did this Tuesday night, and I tell you, I was not at ALL sure I was going to like it - in fact, that night was pretty sure I'd made a huge mistake.  But every time I see the "new" tiles, I love them more and more.  I love the color, I love the softness, I love that it feels like slate on my bare feet, I love the way it forms a dark backdrop for everything that surrounds it.  I really love it! Thank goodness!

You know what else I love about it?  It doesn't look like the fireplace is made of leftover floor tiles, which is is. In the "before" picture above?  That's the same beige floor tile in the kitchen, entry, and both bathrooms.  It's gray on the hearth because I painted it a billion years ago, then scraped the paint off the wall tiles and not the floor tiles.



  1. Yes, that's the same mirror.  I scraped off the stamped pattern around the edge, and painted a gold "frame" on it.  And I hate it.  It's going away soon. 
  2. The fireplace screen is very soon to be spray-painted silver, which I think will be a nice foil to all the dark "stone."  
  3. No, there's no floor molding around the hearth.  It died a while back and I haven't replaced it yet, because I'm effing lazy
  4. The white cord around the hearth is the TV cable.  We only have one cable jack, so in 2007 when my ex and I put in the flooring, we ran a loooooong cable all the way around the perimeter of the room, under the baseboards and trim molding.  The fireplace floor trim is supposed to cover it. 
  5. Idk wtf is going on with the glass on the mantel.  It's just up there because I couldn't think of what to do with all the blue glass I kept a few weeks ago when I sorted it all and gave most of it away.   

The Renovation Monkey. His name is Jacques. 



  1. I really, really like that. I might just have to be a-sort of--copycat. I'd probably use a different color, more of a terracotta...?

  2. Thanks! You know, I've been thinking the same thing. Do you KNOW how badly I want a terra cotta tile floor in my kitchen?! Or green slate?? AAAA!!!

  3. ....Obviously, the tiles would have to be sealed thoroughly somehow in order to be able to stand up to foot traffic. I didn't bother sealing the fireplace hearth. I did the last time I painted, and it ended up not really being necessary - even with the dog nails. But a whole kitchen floor would have to be protected, which isn't hard to do; but it might ruin the soft, cool, stone feel of the tiles underfoot.

  4. Years ago, Home Despot had some green tile that I just loved...and would still love to put in my house. Remind me to show you the one piece of it I have. Sadly, they no longer carry it.

  5. Looks beautiful! It really makes that awesome mantle stand out more. And I love the renovation monkey!

  6. Thank you! I love it. And I've already change the mirror since the post was put up, lol.


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