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Living Room Remodel, Adding a Fireplace and Built in Bookshelves

01 June 2011

Living Room Remodel, 
Adding a Fireplace and Built-in Bookshelves by the Anderson's

Today’s remodel feature comes to us from The Anderson’s blog, which documents this young and energetic couple’s adventure of renovating their first home.  Moving from a small one bedroom apartment in Chicago to a four bedroom home in the suburbs has been a fun journey to watch as they make each space truly their own.  I think you’ll be inspired with Eric and Courtney’s most recent project in their home renovation adventure: their living room.




Within the first week of moving into the house, we decided the living room was the first place we wanted to update.  The previous owners were in their mid-90's and had a very interesting taste to say the least.  Mirrors, colored carpet, flocked wallpaper everywhere, etc.

The living room is massive and we wanted to add a big statement when people walked into the room.  We thought a fireplace and bookshelves on the back wall would eat up some of the empty space in the room and create a more intimate feeling.  Plus, it wouldn't take up too much space in the room.

Here's how we did it:

We first began by taking off the pink wallpaper and faded blue carpet, which revealed beautiful hardwood floors (lucky us)!  I really like the color blue, so I wanted to paint the background of the soon-to-be bookshelves blue to have a pop of color in the room.

Why would anyone cover these up?

Starting with the fireplace, we decided on white cararra marble to go with the white mantle we picked out.  I wanted the room to feel light and open, and I thought adding a dark marble to white built-in bookshelves would separate the wall unit.

First, we took out a small portion of the hardwood in order to set the marble hearth level with the floor and make the fireplace feel more custom-built.  Using some of the remaining wood planks, we then created a frame around the hearth to enhance the customized look.

Next, we had the fireplace box installed:

Then, we built the frame and drywalled around the fireplace box:

Ta da....
Marble facing and mantle up, along with the Restoration Hardware sconces I found on Craigslist.com:

We followed that up by adding bookshelves:

Painted them...

And added the shelves...

Lastly, we finally filled the bookshelves to complete the room!

The End Product:

Thanks for sharing along in our project!  It has been a lot of fun to see this room transform and we're excited to renovate the family room next.

The Andersons


Christi S. June 1, 2011 at 8:16 AM  

We are dreaming of adding a fireplace to our home. Do you mind telling us the process of installing the fireplace?

Thanks! Love your living room!

Loui♥ June 1, 2011 at 9:19 AM  

This is just gorgeous!!
the same idea I have for our living room..
yours turned out just beautifully..
Hope mine does!!
thanks for sharing!!

Stephanie June 1, 2011 at 10:51 AM  

I have that white metallic damask wallpaper in my studio! Did you put that up or was it part of the house when you bought it? It is a fun print. I love your transformation, you made the room so much more functional and classy, great job!

Kat from California June 1, 2011 at 7:23 PM  

This living room went from cold and formal to warm and cozy. I wrote on their blog that I love the lighting too.

Ches June 2, 2011 at 1:25 PM  

This is beautiful, I love the builtins. I want to add a mantle to my fireplace which has a huge hole over it for our tv.

Heidi@TheCraftMonkey June 2, 2011 at 9:42 PM  

Wow! That looks fantastic! What a lot of work! It sure paid off though, your new Living room is gorgeous! I love that you added the fireplace and built ins!

Courtney June 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM  

Thanks everyone for your sweet comments! We had a lot of fun with this project!

Courtney June 3, 2011 at 9:45 AM  

Stephanie - We DID have that damask wallpaper in the house before we moved in. The previous owners had it in practically every room and hallway so we have removed most of it. I'm contemplating to keep a little up though because I think it's glam.

Courtney June 3, 2011 at 10:58 AM  

Christi S - The company where we purchased the fireplace ended up coming to our house for the installation. They hook up a gas line from the basement, stationed the fireplace in the specific place we wanted it, mount the vent for outside, and then set up the on/off switch.

The actual work -- outside of planning for what we wanted the final product to look like -- came after the fireplace was installed. We could have had the fireplace company build the entire frame and wall for us, but the cost for labor can add up and we figured we could do it ourselves. Here's a list of the step-by-step process we took to complete the newly installed fireplace:

1.) Frame the fireplace
2.) Determined where to run electrical [we planned for sconces, as well as outlets placed on the inside wall of each bookshelf]
3.) Drywall the frame around the fireplace
4.) Mount the marble around the fireplace
5.) Secure the mantle to the wall
6.) Paint the wall of the fireplace and mantle [we planned to paint the wall the same color as the mantle, which is why we didn't paint prior steps 4 & 5]

Hopefully this helps if your looking add a fireplace. If you're interested in some of the blog posts I've done relating to the process of planning, building, and completing this project, feel free to check out the link below.


Courtney June 3, 2011 at 11:00 AM  

Cassity - Thanks SO much again for allowing me to be a guest on your blog. I always love following your ideas each day, so it was really fun to be a part of it!

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