Make and Create a Beautiful Gas Fireplace

When we purchased our semi-custom home we had a little money to use towards upgrades. We were on a super tight self imposed budget but the builder gave us some incentive money.

If you’ve ever been through the building process and visited their design center you understand how quickly you can spend a lot of money.

Our home we built 25+ years ago had a gas fireplace in the basement that we loved. For some reason we didn’t install one in our next home after moving off the ranch. I really missed it and wished we had. When we made the move to Arizona and purchased a spec home there was a gas fireplace option but it wasn’t one of the upgrades they had included in our spec home. I didn’t think I would miss having one in Arizona but for 6-8 weeks of the year it does get cold here.

Adding the fireplace

Since we were ‘designing’ this house a gas fireplace was something I wanted. They had two style options contemporary or traditional. They had a contemporary on display that was really nice but not usually the style I lean towards.

There were no traditional ones for us to look at. Our building agent sketched out what she thought it would look like. When I say sketched I mean pencil drawing on scrap paper.

I was nervous about picking the traditional style but decided that was the best route.

What we got

traditional gas fireplace

It was built out early so I was able to get a feel for what we were getting. In the gas fireplace purchase they included the electrical for the TV like HDMI ports.

One upgrade we made was adding rock. Now what I thought we were getting and what we got are two very different things. I should have know better then to think for and additional $600 we’d get rock on the bottom portion covering the front and sides. Instead we got rock just around the actual fireplace.

That was a little disappointing. If I had know then what I know now I would have skipped the rock and just left it plain.

The first changes we made

One of the first things we did upon moving in was install the faux barn wood behind the TV. There is so much beautiful old barn wood available but it can be really expensive. I wasn’t willing to invest what was necessary so I created my own using cedar fencing. You can click here to see the steps I used to create the beautiful faux barn wood.

creating barn wood

Because it is a small space that didn’t include any funky corners we were able to install it quickly. I decided to have Monte start at the top and work our way to the bottom. Originally I was hoping it wouldn’t have any seams but the cedar fencing wasn’t long enough so we staggered the seams. Because I didn’t want any small boards and the space wasn’t very big we just alternated two length of wood giving two seams. I think they add a rustic prettiness to the space.

traditional gas fireplace

We’re not a huge TV family and only have one. This TV looked really small when we got it hung. We have since installed a larger TV so it doesn’t look so funny.

Creating the Mantle

The mantle was one of the next things I wanted to do. Originally it was drywalled and painted. If I was building from scratch I would have added a gorgeous beam mantle. Since I wasn’t willing to tear the whole thing out we created one. It was not an easy job but Monte created a beautiful statement piece. Click here to for a more in-depth details.

fireplace mantel

What to do Next

After the barn wood and mantle installation it sat for a while looking a little uninspiring. We finally added some crown moulding on the top and framed the top corners. I did paint the whole thing a darker gray then the walls but I wasn’t happy with it. The color didn’t look different then the walls in most lighting.

traditional fireplace

After looking at it for way to long I came up with a design idea. I decided to add shiplap to the bottom portion, paint it black and take out the shelving in the cubbies then paint the top portion white. The same color as the trim.

The first step was painting the top portion. I was so happy with the way it looked. It looked fresh and clean and made the faux barn wood look so much better.

We then took out the shelves which was a bigger task then expected. I assumed they were screwed in but they were nailed in really well.

Removing the fireplace shelf

Adding a trim

After the shelves were removed we needed to add a narrow trim around the cubbies so we weren’t left with raw edges on the shiplap. It created a really nice edge to work with.

fireplace update
fireplace update

Adding the shiplap

Since I was painting the shiplap black I gave it two coats of paint before we installed. From the pictures you can tell why. After the first coat of paint it looked horrible. Thankfully after the second it was looking so much better.

painting the shiplap
painting the shiplap
fireplace shiplap

We started from the bottom and worked our way to the top. Monte decided to work on both sides together making sure the shiplap lines were running perfectly straight across the whole fireplace.

This was not a big job but would have been a lot easier if we didn’t have cubbies to work around.

shiplap the fireplace

There were a couple tricky places. On the bottom and top they required some fancier cutting around the opening.

fireplace shiplap

After a late night the shiplap was installed and we got the cubbies mudded. Taking out the shelving ripped off some of the drywall paper and things needed smoothed out.

After a couple coats of mud and adequate drying time I was ready to get this thing painted. I did fill all the nail holes in the shiplap before painting.

Because I gave the shiplap two coats of paint before installing making sure to get the edges really well the painting process was pretty quick.

painting the fireplace shiplap

I painted the cubbies and bottom baseboard a couple times before giving the shiplap and everything a final coat of paint.

There was a point where I considered putting the shelves back in but I decided beautiful large baskets would look really nice. One for toys and the other for blankets and pillows.

The finished look

shiplap fireplace makeover

I am happier with the way this traditional fireplace looks then I have been over the past few years. It now looks like a beautiful statement piece and not just a big bulky addition to the room.

fireplace update with shiplap
fireplace makeover

This has been a work in progress over the last few years. For this portion of the makeover adding the shiplap to the bottom was less then $50 because we used left over from other projects. I had the paint for the top and bottom. I’m really loving the way it looks and I love the baskets. They’re perfect for the space.