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Embrace the Useless Fireplace!

Take a peak at my guest post today, the talented DIY girl Brandy!
Hi DIYers! I was honored when Heather asked if I would guest post on her little corner of the internet! When I'm not getting my hands dirty, I'm busy dreaming of my next project. DIY is my idea of a good time and I love a good before & after! I've spent the last seven years upgrading my 1930 bungalow when time and money allows. Some projects required me to save all my pennies for a long time. But this project? She came in at $300. Grab a cup of coffee. This is a long post!
Happy DIY'ing, friends!
The cost of turning this into an actual fireplace or demolishing the thing was too high since we would have to replace a section of the foundation, an exterior wall, and the roof. So we decided to embrace this useless fireplace.
How do you turn that ugly faux-brick eyesore into the thing I can’t stop staring at?
First, convince your husband, that this is a good idea even though you can’t find anything online that resembles the rough Photoshop picture you’ve presented.
Cost: $300 Difficulty: Medium
Build a wood frame using 2x4’s, mdf, and anchor the frame to your concrete hearth.
Build a mold for the concrete bench using 2x4’s, mdf, corner round, and duct tape, if needed. (There are lots of great mold-building tutorials online for concrete benches. We tried to use what we had on hand.)
Ask your friend, Eric, to help because he knows concrete better than anyone you know. Mix the concrete, pour it into the mold, while causing a vibration to get out all the bubbles. I used a small sander on the 2x4’s while Charlie tapped a hammer around the frame to cause the vibration.
Smooth the concrete very well. Make sure it is safe from the rain, and then let it cure for a week.
Once your concrete bench has cured, you can remove the mold and smooth any rough edges. We chiseled a few irregular corners and sanded all the edges.
Bribe Eric to come over again. Take pictures while strong men carry a heavy concrete bench and place it on the wood frame. Use Carnuba wax to protect the concrete.
*Did you notice the photoshop image is hanging on the old mantel? That picture saved my sanity as we worked on this project in our spare time over several weeks. Instead of explaining to every single person who entered our home, (“I know it looks weird now but it will look great! It’s already better than it used to be!”) our “inspiration” was posted for all to see.
Now you get to have some fun with Airstone! If you are unfamiliar with this product, check out the display at your favorite Lowe's. There are lots of great Airstone ideas online, too! This product is very easy to use and the instructions are simple. A few tips, though:
•If you need to use more than one box, open all the boxes and mix the colors well.
•Allow the Airstone to acclimate at least 24 hours.
•Be sure to lay the stone in a horizontal line. You may be tempted to do all the corners first. Don’t.
The instructions say to only use a hacksaw to cut pieces to size. We found a $3 Miter Masonry blade that worked perfectly. Just be sure to account for the width of the blade when you cut. This is a fun and fairly easy job. But it is very dusty.
I’m thrilled with the end result! In the future, I might dress up the concrete bench with plants or candles. But for now, we like to use it as extra seating for our family game nights. Next project: sew some cute pillows for the bench.
Please note that there are over 25 pictures and all have details so not all information is included on this post. Please see the blog for full directions!

To see more: http://thewilsonfarm.blogspot.com/2014/09/guest-post-embrace-useless-fireplace.html

Ask the creator about this project

  • Marcy
    on Sep 7, 2014

    That's a great project- and it looks so nice now!

  • CK
    CK Mandan, ND
    on Sep 16, 2014

    Wow this is a wonderful transformation! I'm always impressed when people figure out how to make an eyesore become the star of the room. The rest of your room looks great too.

  • Melissa Parish
    Melissa Parish Kerrville, TX
    on Nov 16, 2014

    Looks VERY nice!

  • Darla
    Darla Montgomery Village, MD
    on Nov 16, 2014

    Was this the back of a fireplace on the other side of the wall, or an old one that got bricked up? I am wondering why anyone would just build a square of brick like that without even space for electric logs. Your solution looks good.

    • Heather (The Wilson Farm)
      Heather (The Wilson Farm) Monroe, NC
      on Nov 20, 2014

      @Darla It was actually used as one of those freestanding fireplaces that go into the middle of the room at one point. :) Thanks!

  • Teri Candeloro
    Teri Candeloro Tavares, FL
    on Mar 7, 2015

    Totally great transformation! It must feel like a whole new house! I love how you lightened everything up to update your look....it worked out wonderfully. 😉 Personally though, I just might be tempted to try and use the wall area above the mantle to display my TV, and open up that corner area? Just a thought. Either way, it's a great look! Thanks for the intro to Airstone. 😊

Inspired? Will you try this project? Let the author know!