Go with the faux.

What is your verdict on faux fireplaces?  Are you like “faux no!” Or are you more like “faux sho!” I have a faux fireplace in my home, and I admit that it gets mixed reviews, and I’ll admit further that those mixed reviews come from myself. Some days I think it’s great. Like around Christmastime when it’s all decorated and cute.  At other points in the year I look at it and feel puzzled and slightly … unnerved. What is this thing and what is it doing here and why?

Here’s the thing. I don’t love LOVE it because it just looks kinda fake. Because it is fake. If you’re unfavorable of faux fixtures for this very reason, let me show you something that might change your mind.

Distressed Charcoal Mirror Placement Before

Distressed Charcoal Mirror Placement

Wait. What were we even talking about? Because whatever it was, I’m not seeing any evidence of it in this photo. All I see is a Really McReal fireplace of Realness with a side of Reality.

The overmantle and the stacked stone surround are really what give it weight and keep it grounded. It’s not just floating in the space; it looks like it’s always been there. Lauren at Bless’er House is the mastermind behind this makeover, but that’s not all.

Once the giant TV was out of the picture, she needed something else to fill the space above the mantle.  This mirror was the perfect size with a pretty shape, but it also came with an aging gold finish that was flaking off and not right for the room anyhow.

Distressed Charcoal Mirror Before


Distressed Charcoal Mirror

She painted it gray first, then black, using Vaseline to age it just so, and now it’s the perfect finishing touch. Gorgeousness all around. Great job Lauren!

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I’m all about that basement.

If you’ve been here a while, you already know why this wood-paneled before basement is giving me the sweats.

If you’re new here, let me explain that I have a mild phobia of knotty wood. No joke. It’s not like I’m terrified of the stuff, but I just feel so jumpy and anxious and weirded out when I’m around it. I should probably look into that someday and figure out why, but my plan so far is to just avoid knotty wood for the rest of my life instead. So far, so good.

Luckily for me, this look is far out of style and most people prefer to paint their paneling, presently. Also, alliteration for the win.


Crisp Basement Before 1

crisp basement makeover after

Yes ma’am, this is the SAME room. Where did that paneling go? Who cares! Everything has been updated and brightened up from floor to ceiling. And from the windowww to the WALL! (I hope you read that in your best Lil’ John voice). But speaking of the wall, do you see the full-length chalkboard painted on the back wall? Not only does it provide the kids with a little fun, but it also provides a great contrast to the rest of the bright white space.

Why aren’t more basements painted white? It’s a great choice for an area that’s … I don’t know … underground.

Crisp Basement Before

Crisp Basement

Night and day difference, truly. And how much do I love those painted stairs? Enough to be giving my own carpeted stairs the stink-eye right now.

This fabulous makeover comes from Heather and Dave at The Heathered Nest, much more to see over there!

Happy weekend friends.

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Streamline Inclined

Some people might look at this before living room and find it absolutely dreamy. Cozy and warm! Lived-in and lovely!

Some people might find it way too busy and cluttered.

Some weirdos might only notice what appears to be Patrick the starfish wearing a firefighter uniform and holding a vase of flowers on the sofa table. Tell me you see it too.

But the people who bought this home from the previous owners were definitely in the ‘too cluttered’ camp. They streamlined it to suit their modern tastes, and you would hardly even recognize today.

modern living room makeover before


modern living room makeover after

I really, really like this version. So much more open, it’s like the room took a deep cleansing breath. The white walls keep the vibe calm and fresh, while the wood ceiling adds contrast and texture, in addition to disguising the beams. AND it frames the skylight so nicely now, instead of looking like an afterthought in the before. I also love the simplicity of the new windows. Looks like they have a great view, why cover that up?

What do you think? Which version would suit you best? Tell me, tell me!

From Denise and the pros at Decor Aid.


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Light it Up

I’m back from my vacation, all tanned and relaxed and ready to partaay!

That is false. I actually don’t get tan. Ever, at all. I did attempt to fake a summer glow by getting a spray tan before I left, but it vanished within two days. However, mysteriously, my armpits remain very tan. It’s been over a week now, and they are still super much tan and show no signs of letting go. It’s … not attractive.

Let that be a lesson to you. A lesson about the dangers of spray tanning. You thought fake tans were safe, HA! They’re not. You run the risk of spending your entire vacation with your arms clamped tightly to your sides, lest you expose your oddly over-tanned armpits to the world. Please remind me about these dangers because I will probably forget and do it again next time.

However, unlike me in a swimsuit, somethings are better lighter and brighter. Stephanie’s living room was a bit on the dark side, with a dreary paint color that did nothing to accentuate all the great things happening in this room.

Fireplace Living Room Before

Fireplace Living Room

After a few fresh coats of paint, it looks completely new! The overmantle was built out ever so slightly, making it more craftsman-like, and now it stands on its own since the paint color separates it from the wall. Before, that space blended into one long expanse. If you weren’t sure before who the star of this room was, now you KNOW.

I love how Stephanie incorporated just the right amount of color with her accessories to keep it from becoming too neutral as well.  High fives Stephanie!

See more on her blog The Divine Living Space.

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