Confession: Epic Fireplace Fail

Hello friends,

Remember our fireplace makeover that began, um, nine months ago?  You don’t?  Well, let me give you a recap.

Our fireplace is a large, tiled, corner fireplace, and it always seemed kind of on the “cold” side, for lack of a better description.  (Old photo here, pre-hardwood floors, but you get the idea).

We wanted to preserve the tile that was on the fireplace by using a product called Airstone – looks like stone and can be installed directly over the tile.  Perfect.  Diane, from In My Own Style, did a fabulous job transforming her fireplace, and I loved the look.  Plus, it would accomplish our goal of keeping the tile intact.

I was also a smitten kitten with Layla’s fireplace makeover at The Lettered Cottage – so ours was going to be a hybrid approach, incorporating elements from both of these fireplace transformations.

So, we got cracking (back in November, that is).  I had a cookie exchange party deadline, which means that I get highly motivated to get. stuff. done.

Hardwood floors were installed, and we drywalled over the top portion of the fireplace and started working on a mantel.


The Airstone was an easy installation, and we were going to frame the sides with wood.

We added additional molding detail to the top portion of the fireplace, and were on version 3.2 of the mantel.  But then, I wasn’t feeling the idea of wood on the sides of the fireplace anymore.  And let me just state for the record, that corner fireplaces (and their mantels) are a huge pain when it comes to making changes to them.  I curse you miter saw…

So, we lived with it for awhile.  And then the kids would make comments like, “Mom, when are you going to finish the fireplace?  Didn’t you start it in like, November?  Geez, that was like, eight months ago.”

But, living with it, didn’t make me like it any better.  So, we’re starting over.  We’re going to take the tile off completely and just go all in on a redo.  So, this is what it looks like now:

Stone samples, but I’m not digging on them right now either.  Back to the drawing board.  We’re also thinking about taking the stone all the way to the ceiling (which means all of my hard drywall work would be for nothing.  Le sigh.)

But, by taking it down to the bones, we’ll be able to get this done right (hopefully).  We are still arguing debating about the mantel.  I would like a wood mantel, hubby is suggesting things like “stone slab mantel”.  Since it’s a crazy corner fireplace, it’s in no way “standard”, which makes it a real treat.

So, there you have it.  My fireplace fail confession.  I guess the lesson in this is to really take your time and think through a project before jumping in with both feet.  But sometimes, I am a slow learner just can’t help myself.

Do you have any epic DIY fails to share?


  • Reply
    Maury @ Life on Mars
    August 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    oh no! I was definitely liking the direction you were heading but I'm sure whatever you do will turn out amazing! I love the work you did on the top!

  • Reply
    Emily [On the V Side]
    August 30, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Aw, hang in there! Everyone has a project Fail or two in their pockets – and I know whatever you end up with is going to be beautiful in the end!

    Hey, talk to me about air stone. Thinking about it for covering a fireplace surround (so I don't have to demo the existing tile). What adhesive do you use? Do you mind sharing the cost? (if you'd rather not here, you can email me at [email protected]). Would you recommend it?

    Interested in your take.


  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Oh boy! I'm sure we all have made mistakes……I paid $1100 to a drywaller and electrician to move our pendant lights and patch the ceiling, only to have moved them too close together. We still haven't fixed it!
    I love, love my all stone fireplace in my sunroom. It has a large wooden slab for a mantel which suits it perfectly. I'm sure you'll be much happier by making the splurge and completely redoing it!

  • Reply
    September 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Oh no, how did I miss this? I really love the top and all the molding you added. I think the stone with a chunky wood mantle will look great! Kudos to you for initially taking this project on!

  • Reply
    September 4, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Well it will be gorgeous when it's all done that's for sure! I can't wait to see it. Thanks for sharing your fail. So nice to know that others have them too 😉

  • Reply
    Emma Mercer
    September 9, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Oh! I'm definitely sure, when this is done, it is going to look awesome. Just take your time and be patient. It will turn out just the way you want it. You tried your best and you can still do that project successfully.

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Dimples and Tangles
    September 10, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Oh, that's SO me too! I always want the easiest fix, and then when it's done I want to do it over, the right way! I'm trying to learn, too, to do what I really want the FIRST time! Hang in there, it will be fabulous and worth it when you're finished!

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Shine Your Light
    September 10, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Jenny, I was wondering how this project was coming along. The top looks awesome! I love that! And I'm sorry to hear it hasn't been smooth sailing. I know you and your husband can make it amazing!! At least you tried something rather than just hating all over it for years like I have been doing with mine. Just can't decide that direction to go!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick
    September 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    OH NO. I too have been wondering about this! I curse corner fireplaces along with you my friend. I know it will be fantastic when you are done.

  • Reply
    pam {simple details}
    October 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Oh Jenny, that makes me feel so much better! I'll confess I chuckled when I saw 'this is what it looks like now,' only because I can so relate! 🙂 Good for you for even trying to begin with, I LOVE the new stone you've chosen, and the idea of going all the way up ~ it's going to be a gorgeous statement in your room!

  • Reply
    Lindsey Mckenzie
    February 26, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    It’s too bad that it didn’t go as planned. But at least you were able to learn the importance of making a plan before engaging on a project. So, did you end up redoing it later on? I would love to see the results. Cheers!

    Lindsey Mckenzie @ Buchanan Fire and Outdoor

  • Reply
    Megan Lands
    February 10, 2018 at 11:03 am

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one!! I just re-did the fireplace with airstone, and altho I love the product, I hate the color. I thought it would go well, but it just clashes with the wood. I wonder, can I paint it? the stone, I mean. I hate the thought of covering up all that beautiful wood with paint. Sigh. And btw.. cut that stuff with a hacksaw??? Are they kidding? I could barely cut it with a jigsaw!

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